According to the Archives of Breguet, the present quarter repeating watch with case no. 19 by Amy Gros was sold on 12 June 1809 to "Mademoiselle de Vienne", damsel from Vienna, for the amount of 1,080 francs.
This watch is a fine example of a Breguet “dumb” quarter repeating watch with his famous overhanging ruby cylinder escapement.
“Dumb” quarter repeating or repeating “à toc” is the term given to a repeating watch without gongs or bells whereby the hammers strike small metal blocks inside the band of the case during repeating. This system was probably used for reasons of discretion for the wearer.
Breguet used the cylinder escapement throughout his life, it is a frictional rest escapement but of a far superior kind. The first cylinder escapements made by the English makers were not much more accurate in operation than the verge. This was because the diameter of the cylinder was too great in relation to the diameter of the balance, causing a loss of energy through friction. To reduce the friction, the English makers, who were very skilled in the art of jeweling, made the cylinder half-section ruby. The ruby was fitted into a steel frame - it was this form of cylinder escapement first used by Breguet. By about 1795 Breguet had developed it to the very familiar "overhanging" ruby cylinder, these escapements performed so well and with such increased consistency of rate that temperature errors previously swamped by general bad performance now needed correction. For this reason, Breguet's ruby cylinder escapements often have a compensation curb fitted to the balance.
We are indebted to Mr. Emmanuel Breguet for his valuable assistance in researching the present watch.