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I recently wrote an article on Breguet - Supremacy-Returns-to-France. Really knowing so little on Breguet except a few 'highlights' and the very fact I have this one opportunity to actually touch and research Breguets timepieces, I am going to take my opportunity to try to learn as much about without any doubt the greatest horologists of all times.

It is said; "To carry a fine Breguet watch is to feel that you have the brains of a genius in your pocket" - Sir David Salomons.
And he should know he owned 'The Most' famous Breguet watch ever made, and the most complicated watch of its time. It was commissioned in 1783 as a gift for the doomed Queen of France 'Marie Antoinette' and completed in 1827, 34 yrs after she was executed.
The movement is made of gold and steel, and is fully jeweled. It has a lever escapement with bimetallic compensation and helical spring. Complication include: perpetual calendar programmed to yr 2100, self winding mechanism with power reserve, minute repeater, equation of time, independent seconds and thermometer.
Breguet was the first European maker to employ the use of jewels. Remember this is 1783. It is probably the most famous watch in the world after The Queens watch made by Thomas Mudge in 1770 and still owned by the The Queen of Britain.
The 'Marie Antoinette' watch is in The Jerusalem Museum - donated by sir David Salomons son.
Here is a picture of that watch made by Breguet in 1783:

Breguet made 'simple' watches, he made complicated watches with perpetual calendar, equation of time, phases of the moon, thermometer dials, he made 'watches by touch' (Montres a Tact), he made 'perpetuals' (automatics), he made both 'repeaters' (chiming hours, quarters and minutes on demand) and 'grand sonnerie' (sounds time automatically (en passant/in passing) hours and quarters, he made 'tourbillon' that he originally patented in 1795, he made stop watches and chronographs, he made marine chronometer class deck watches, finally he made 'carriage and portable clocks'

To-day even after much studying of horology I can not explain fully or correctly how these function work, like 'equation of time' The difference between clock time and sun time. We divide our day in 24 equal hours, true solar time time may differ. A solar year is 365 days, 5hrs, 49minutes and 49.7 seconds
The genius of Breguet could show both calendar time and solar time. Wow!

Anyway, I want to show a few more pictures of Breguet we have here in the Museum, we have some 30 Breguet watches sadly not all are as outstanding as the ones on display in above links (original article). These are a bit more distressed but still I believe important to see:

The first I want to share I 'believe' this is a real Breguet and not one of the many fakes. The watch has a lot of magnificent complications (repeater + sonnerie) beautifully built, typical Breguet case and dial - It is marked 'Breguet Et Fils' that should date the watch to AFTER 1807 - and uses as expected a 'ruby cylinder' escapement.

Breguet. Pocket watch. Lepine Caliber - cylinder (steel) escapement, 23mm. Both Grand Sonnerie (hours and quarters) and 1/4 Repeater, using a 'piston pendant'. Two levers, one to set Sonnerie to 'hours only' or 'hours and quarters', second lever to set 'silent
White Enamel dial with Arabic numerals
Working Nicely
Possible not original hands??
No secret Signature - movement looks crude??
Gilt, Key Wind, Key Set, Open Face,
With chain and key.

Here we can set 'Sonnerie' to Grand (hours + quarters) or 'Petite' (hours only). There is a second lever to turn of 'sonnerie' - which is 'in passing'

The next, again a lovely piece. Is it a Breguet? I know not. Fantastic complications with a Reaumur scale thermometer on one side and a offset watch dial on the other. Dial marked Breguet et Fils dating watch to after 1807, but the movement to me looks a fusee with verge escapement - something Breguet had dispensed with moving to 'ruby cylinder' escapements. so not sure (thinking)
That said look at this watch carefully magnificent case and aesthetics. Now look at that thermometer dial' - 'Glace' means ice/freezing; 'Bain' means bath, but what does Brequet mean to say for minus temperatures like minus 10 degrees i.e. 'Paris in 1740' or minus 20 degrees i.e. Petersbourg in 1788? Really is Breguet having fun. I know not:

Anyway here you go:
Breguet 2 sided pocket watch.
Face one has off centre small hours minutes dial, the second face a 'thermometer' dial with Reaumur scale and movement??
Fusee verge escapement

63 mm, full plate, key wind, key set

FANTASTIC aesthetics here:

This is the 'guts' of the Thermometer - Reaumur.

[Movement Sadly damaged!

The third is very distressed but worth showing, as I can show you movement under the dial. I believe this piece to be a correct Breguet, but NO markings on dial or case, NO secret signature - ONLY an expert like Philip Poniz could confirm. Anyway here you go.

Breguet Pocket watch. Piston Pendant - 1/4 Repeater (not working), using a chain. Steel Cylinder Escapement movement.
Enamel dial NO marking or Secret Signature.
Back of dial and case marked 2520
No crystal, key wind, gold filled case with AH 344 I KIB 2520 inside case back.
case in weak condition.

Next under the dial - here you can see the chain. for the pump action of repeater.

Backside of dial - mean anything - not to me sorry!

I am no expert on Breguet, I am not even a novice, but I hope to learn from photographing these pieces, talking to experts and more research - more to follow

The art of Breguet - George Daniels
Wikipedia - Sir David Salomons.
Internet - picture of Marie Antionette watch.
New York University - On loan various timepieces photographed above
Philip Poniz - Chief Expert and Horologist
NAWCC: “Images are the property of the National Watch & Clock Museum, Library & Archives and may not be reproduced without permission.”
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