I covered the narrative, with much more background information regarding the first Breguet 160, its own narrative, loss, and ultimate recovery. If you are interested in this particular story, I highly recommend checking out this article because the story of the reference 160 Marie Antoinette timepiece is one which all watch lovers should know.More so, a range of elements of this history, both long past and contemporary, of the 160 continue to a degree mainly unknown to the public. It is really a pure coincidence that Breguet introduced the Breguet 1160 Marie Antoinette pocket watch only months after the original 160 was found. Now, the Breguet 160 Marie Antoinette “original” pocket watch is currently on display at the L. A. Mayer museum in Jerusalem, Israel. It’s more than likely the very valuable horological object in existence.I cite the above coincidence because many individuals mistakenly thought that the brand released the Breguet 1160 Marie Antoinette because of the re-discovery of the 160. This is wrong. Breguet had been secretly working on replicating the 160 for about five years up to that point. The contemporary Breguet brand is known because of its original founder Abraham-Louis Breguet. Often called the “grandfather” (or dad) of modern watchmaking, the Breguet brand continued for centuries through various family members following his death.In the 1980s Breguet was introduced to life in its contemporary iteration through a fresh group of investors largely separated from the first Breguet household (though, today, parts of the first Breguet family are a part of the new again). It was watch manufacturer and designer Daniel Roth who shaped the contemporary appearance of the brand’s wrist watches being inspired by historic Breguet pieces. Only something like 5,000 Breguet clocks and watches were created during Abraham-Louis Breguet’s lifetime.
Our David Bredan recently visited Breguet’s fabrication in Switzerland and reports about the impressive area full of “turning engines” which generates these dials. They are operated by hand and need delicate finesse and decades of training to have the effect right. You can see a blend of patterns and techniques to the dial of the Breguet Watches Logo Replica Heritage 5410, such as a beautiful wave-style pattern onto the periphery of the main round dial to help fill out the tonneau-shaped dial window.Like I mentioned, I’m sure not everyone will like this dial layout, but I personally think it is beautiful. Breguet uses marginally larger than anticipated blued-steel pomme-style hands which seem great. Additionally, this is one of those rare instances where luminant is used on the hands at a non-sports watch from the brand new. Combining some Art Deco topics with the identifying Breguet brand DNA, the Breguet Heritage 5410 case and dial is something uncommon and cool in the brand.A trade-off of the curved caseback appears to be the omission of a exhibition display caseback, which can be a small shame. Breguet completes their watches and moves so well it might be considered unsatisfactory not to view the movement. The balance spring is generated from silicon, typical of many contemporary Breguet calibers – which contributes to general performance and precision over time.Attached to the Heritage 5410 is a black or brown alligator strap fitted to a fitting gold deployant clasp. There’s a somewhat sporty yet old-world regality into a piece like this Breguet which I feel should allow it to appeal to the ideal sort of buyer capable to both manage its cost, and also to frequently pull it off as part of their lifestyle. Cost for its Breguet Heritage 5410 reference 5410BR/12/9VV at 18k rose gold is $27,700 while the reference 5410BB/12/9VV in 18k white gold is $28,700.
The rear of this watch indicates a view of the movement of the foundation plate which has some magnificent engravings of the nighttime sky complete with the earth. The picture makes it seem like our planet sits right next to some sort of nebula composed of watch equipment. The quality of the imagery is fantastic. Breguet 553 Watch Replica can make that rear plate larger to seem to take up the majority of the situation in the 5347 as the plate takes up nearly all of the case back with the gears themselves consuming less space in the center. The backplate is bigger so that the motion does not seem small on the giant 5349 case. It isn’t even possible that showing the gears there’s necessary, but this is done for aesthetic reasons to further suggest the mechanical nature of the ultra-status item.Breguet really presented three new “on-order” Breguet Dual Tourbillon watches for 2016, and each of them focuses on a hand-operated guilloche machine-engraved dial. This Breguet Double Tourbillon 5349 has blue tooth within the dial, making for a beautiful contrast, as gloomy always goes well with platinum and diamonds. In addition, this is, in my most humble of opinions, a visual improvement on the all-diamond-set dial of at least one previous 5349 model.For comparison sake, in this article you will see both the Breguet 5347 and the bigger Breguet Double Tourbillon 5349 on my wrist. Though the 5347 makes for a stately, albeit comfortable daily double tourbillon wearing experience, the Breguet Double Tourbillon 5349 is exactly what you want on your wrist when assembling the generals. Along with being 50mm wide, with large lugs, the case is 18.65mm thick – which is not that terrible, actually. On the fitted alligator strap using diamond-set Breguet folding buckle, then the Breguet Dual Tourbillon 5349 is able to sit snugly against your wrist. You simply need to be familiar with lugs that may stand out past the edges of your wrist. I’d be willing to bargain with that size problem to go through the continuing majesty of wearing a wristwatch that apparently does the impossible by speaking louder than me despite lacking a mouth of any kind.
The Breguet Watches Second Hand Replica Classique 7787 is an opinion not many other brands could get away with calling “classique.” It’s a silicon escapement and balance spring and, even more immediately evident, a dial up so throughout the area, most traditional manufactures would throw the plan and its designer outside the moment the first sketches were introduced. And yet, in a Breguet, it all just works, somehow.I am an absolute fan of Breguet and, I will go so far as to state, I feel every watch buff out there to be just one too — just maybe not to the same extent. While I can rarely bear watch brands re-releasing their previous stuff — honestly, I personally utterly loathe these Vacheron Historiques, for example — Breguet is one of the very few whose past is vivid, fascinating, and quirky enough, which pretty much all they have to do is continue paying an honest tribute for this. To get a Breguet that by definition comes with tasteful, yet strong innovation, just examine the double-balance chronograph 7077 for one of the best contemporary Breguet watches which stand for everything a 21st century Breguet should.But not all watches could (or should) have an open dial and multiple equilibrium wheels — a few need to be significantly more controlled and elegant, at the more traditional significance of the latter. That is where the Breguet Classique 7787 comes into the picture.The Classique 7787’s design was inspired by an initial Breguet pocket watch dubbed No. 5 from 1794 (inform me that isn’t a lavish sounding product name that preceded its age by centuries) and it comes in four variations. The purist-seducing 39mm wide case of the 7787 is crafted only from white or rose gold and either of those cases are made accessible using an abysmal grand feu enamel dial, or one with some properly extensive guilloché work. The one we are taking a look at now is that the white gold version with all the enamel dial, the specific reference being Breguet Classique 7787BB/29/9V6.
Amongst Abraham-Louis Breguet’s fabled contributions to horology, through which he demonstrated technical prowess with an elegance of form, lies a subset of timepieces that stand in marked contrast to the watchmaker’s quintessential, classically European style. These florid, richly enamelled pocket watches were created during the early 19th century for the Ottoman Empire – the result of a conflation of historical events and personalities that were singular to A.-L. Breguet.
The brand’s early history – Breguet founded his eponymous firm in 1775 – was discoloured by the events of the French Revolution, causing A.-L. Breguet to flee to Switzerland. And while Breguet found favour with Napoleon and the new elite, the Napoleonic Wars had catastrophic consequences on Breguet’s trade relations. Exports to its main markets, namely England, Spain and Russia, declined precipitously.
Consequently, A.-L. Breguet turned to the Near East. Turkey was the only great power allied to France during this tumultuous period, while in the early 19th century the country’s elite had developed a keen admiration for European watches, which often served as social and diplomatic gifts to Ottoman officials.
Further underpinning this decision was Breguet’s personal affinity with the Ottoman Empire, in particular, his friendship with the Ottoman ambassador to Paris, Esseid Ali Effendi. A.-L. Breguet had been introduced to Effendi by the famous French diplomat Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord.
Effendi then became a patron of Breguet in 1798, and amongst the ambassador’s notable purchases was a minute repeating Grande Sonnerie pocket watch in 1799 and a longcase clock in 1801. And after Effendi’s return to Turkey in 1802, the watchmaker and diplomat maintained a regular correspondence, during the course of which Effendi commissioned a great number of watches, including ten minute repeating watches between 1804 and 1808 as well as more modest watches equipped with thermometers and barometers.
The watches were shipped from Paris to Istanbul, and Effendi helped spread Breguet’s name by reselling or presenting them to the great and the good of the Ottoman Empire. Together with an Istanbul watch merchant named Stephanaki, Effendi demonstrated the potential of the Islamic market for Breguet, and more crucially, convinced the watchmaker to tailor his timepieces to the Ottomans, which opened up a new aesthetic direction for brand.
By the 18th century, Western timepieces had become a conspicuous part of elite Ottoman culture and were common in diplomatic gift-giving. This meant that the Ottomans had already developed specific tastes in timepieces, which meant that watchmakers vying for the patronage of the Empire’s elite relied on a tried and tested array of styles and materials that catered to the market’s unusual preferences.
In his letters to Breguet, Effendi advised that watches for the Ottoman market should feature white enamel dials, as well as a sumptuously decorated cases in vivid colours such as red. More unusually, Effendi also specified that double cased watches were all the rage. “Double-cased watches were a special request to protect the watches, as the Ottomans used to wear their watches outside of their clothes, and not in a special pocket,” explains Breguet Museum curator Emmanuel Breguet.
Beyond brightly coloured enamels, Ottoman watches were also often decorated with pastoral scenes and floral motifs – themes that were easily accepted in Ottoman culture. A prime example of a double-case, Turkish market timepiece is pocket watch no. 2592, pictured in the title image above.
And in November 1803, Effendi further specified that all watches should also feature dials with Eastern Arabic numerals instead of conventional Arabic or Roman numerals. These special watches became the only instance in which Breguet departed from his definitive style, in order to please a crucial market.
While the Ottoman watches are superficially similar to the extravagant timepieces Swiss and English watchmakers made for the Chinese market in the second half of the 19th century, they are easily differentiated. Amongst the key differences: watches for the Middle Kingdom were equipped with “Chinese” movements, which tended to be heavily engraved, while some Ottoman watches had bows shaped like a crescent, instead of being round.
In 1804, Breguet received an extraordinary commission from Effendi, who by then had risen to become Minister of the Navy. Effendi ordered the finest possible repeating watch for the Emperor Selim III, whom he referred to in correspondence with Breguet only as “the greatest figure of our nation… so great and so eminent that I cannot utter his name.”
The project was a success: a year later the Emperor demanded a second watch identical to the first, leading Effendi to pen a letter in praise of A.-L. Breguet, “Your reputation in Constantinople could not be higher. All the great princes admire your works.”
Beyond the watches themselves, equally crucial to Breguet’s success in the market was a local agent. Again, at the advice of Effendi in 1802, A.-L. Breguet sent a French watchmaker named Leroy to Constantinople, appointing him the company’s local representative.
Breguet would soon be sending him an average of six to eight extremely valuable pieces per year. As skilled enamellers were scant in Paris, Breguet then turned to Geneva, the historical centre of miniature enamelling in Switzerland. There he found workshops that specialised in enamelling and were also familiar with Ottoman motifs, enabling A.-L. Breguet to cater to his Ottoman clients.
During this period, the French government was seeking a suitable gift for the new sultan, Mahmud II, who had ascended the throne in 1807, succeeding his deposed cousin who had inherited the crown after Selim III was assassinated.
The French eventually chose the most remarkable timepiece by the country’s best watchmaker: the Breguet Sympathique clock no. 758, which cost 35,000 francs, or about 20 times what an enamelled repeating pocket watch would have cost. The extraordinary clock winds, sets and regulates a pocket watch that is slotted into the top of clock at the end of the day, leaving the watch ready to use the next morning.
Breguet is believed to have created only 12 Sympathique clocks, of which four were commissioned by the Russian Imperial court, three by the Spanish crown, and one by King George IV of England. All of them are worth millions today; the Duc d’Orleans Sympathique sold for US$6.8m at Sotheby’s in 2012.
When the Ottoman Sympathique was delivered in 1813, Mahmud II was so pleased that he summoned Breguet’s agent Leroy, presented him with a gift and entrusted him with the maintenance of all the timepieces in Topkapi Palace. The firm of Breguet enjoyed a charmed repute in Turkey until the end of the 19th century, well beyond A.-L. Breguet’s lifetime.
Today, Breguet’s treasures of the Orient are not lost to history. Several of them reside in the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, including the Sympathique clock gifted to Mahmud II. The Breguet Museum on Place Vendôme in Paris has also acquired several historically important Ottoman pieces over the years, most notably the No. 2090 Grande Complication watch commissioned by Effendi in 1808. Breguet paid RMB4.37m, equivalent to SFr650,000 at the time, in December 2011 at Poly Auction’s sale in Beijing, setting the record for a Turkish-style Breguet watch. Just after the acquisition, Emmanuel Breguet had told the New York Times that the record price was “because the antique Breguet pieces, especially the antique Breguet Turkish pieces, have become more and more exciting for collectors.”
Almost two centuries after A.-L. Breguet rose to prominence on the Bosphorus, luxury watchmakers continue to cater to faraway markets. In fact, Eastern Arabic numerals have become something of a fad in recent years, with brands as diverse as Rolex, IWC and MB&F having created special editions for the Middle East, proving that history doesn’t repeat itself, but it certainly does rhyme.
Many thanks to Emmanuel Breguet of the Breguet Museum for his assistance with the article.
Correction January 11, 2018: Breguet was founded in 1775, and not 1887 as previously stated.