• Christies auction house James Christie logo

    Sale 1417

    Rare Watches Including Nautilus 40 Part II

    14 November 2016, Geneva

  • Lot 200

    Breguet, no. 155 - 2/86, “petite répétition à quantième ". A very fine, extremely rare and early 18K gold openface à toc quarter repeating cylinder watch with Republican calendar



    This lot is offered without a reserve

    Breguet, no. 155 - 2/86, “petite répétition à quantième ". A very fine, extremely rare and early 18K gold openface à toc quarter repeating cylinder watch with Republican calendar
    Signed Breguet à Paris, no. 155 - 2/86, finished in February 1786, returned to Breguet’s workshop for repair in 1794 by Citoyenne Nolan
    MOVEMENT: manual, chain fusée, cylinder escapement, foliate pierced cock, à toc quarter repeating with two polished steel hammers on the inside of the case
    DIAL: white enamel, Arabic quarter hour numerals, concentric outer Republican calendar for 30 days, blued steel Breguet hands
    CASE: 18K gold, polished, the back engraved with the initial “N”, 41 mm. diam.
    SIGNED: dial signed, movement signed and numbered, case with casemaker’s mark JS and French gold assay marks
    ACCOMPANIED BY: a 19th century gold-tooled red morocco fitted box and later key

    Contact Client Service
    • info@christies.com

    • New York +1 212 636 2000

    • London +44 (0)20 7839 9060

    • Hong Kong +852 2760 1766

    • Shanghai +86 21 6355 1766

    According to the Archives of Breguet, the present watch, a "petite répétition à quantième", small repeating watch with date, was finished February 1786. It was returned to Breguet's workshops for repair in 1794, noted as belonging to the "Citoyenne Nolan", citizien Nolan, the French word "Citoyenne" indicting that it was a lady.

    This charming and exceedingly rare timepiece is one of Breguet’s earliest datable watchesthe fractional number 2/86 indicating that it was finished in February 1786. As the records did not begin until 1787 it was therefore not recorded at the time, but is listed in the registers as being returned to Breguet’s workshop for repair in 1794 at which time it was the property of a “Citoyenne Nolan” who would almost certainly have been the original purchaser, further confirmed by the engraved letter “N” on the back of the case. It has the rare feature of a Republican calendar of 30 days, a system in use during the French revolution from 1792 until 1805. It is therefore reasonable to assume that when the watch was sent to Breguet’s workshop in 1794 the present dial was fitted to accord with the new regime.

    The movements of these early quarter repeating watches were based upon commercially available movements then fitted by Breguet with cylinder escapements. The ébauches came from Neuchâtel or Geneva and were finished in Breguet’s workshop where the escapements and repeating mechanisms were made before being encased. In the 1780s, it was by selling these watches that the firm survived day to day whilst Breguet worked on the construction and perfection of his perpetuelle watches.

    The present watch gives collectors the very rare opportunity to acquire an early and documented watch, a fascinating part of Breguet's history.

    An almost identical movement is illustrated in The Art of Bregue by George Daniels, 1974, p. 118.

    We are indebted to Mr. Emmanuel Breguet for his valuable assistance in researching the present watch.

    Special Notice

    This lot is offered without reserve.
    On lots marked with an + in the catalogue, VAT will be charged at 8% on both the premium as well as the hammer price.

    Pre-Lot Text


    Consigned by an important European private collector, the following four lots, 200 - 203, are fine examples of timepieces manufactured by Breguet or made in the style of the celebrated master watchmaker.