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    Sale 1413

    Rare Watches Including Important Private Collections

    16 May 2016, Geneva

  • Lot 124

    Breguet, Paris, No. 1362 “Souscription Moyenne à Tact”. An extremely rare, large and slim 18K Gold à Tact Watch with Ruby Cylinder Escapement, in a Breguet Gold-Tooled Red Morocco Fitted Box No. 1362


    Price Realised  


    Breguet, Paris, No. 1362 “Souscription Moyenne à Tact”. An extremely rare, large and slim 18K Gold à Tact Watch with Ruby Cylinder Escapement, in a Breguet Gold-Tooled Red Morocco Fitted Box No. 1362
    Signed Breguet, No. 1362, Sold On 25 Fructidor, An 12 (12 September, 1804) To Monsieur Hainguerlot For The Sum Of 1,600 Francs
    Gilded brass movement, souscription caliber, central barrel and five-wheel train, ruby cylinder escapement, plain three-arm brass balance, parachute fitted to the top pivot, blued steel flat balance spring, blued steel regulator arm with arc terminal, small eccentric white enamel dial secured by two screws, radial Roman numerals, outer minute dot divisions, blued steel Breguet hands, three-body, "forme quatre baguettes" case, front cover with sunburst engine-turning, twelve touch pieces on the edge, sunburst engine-turned back with platinum arrow, coin-edge band, loose ring pendant, detachable polished cuvette with apertures for winding, hand setting, regulating and the dial, case no. 2262 by Pierre Benjamin Tavernier, case numbered and punched with Tavernier's mark, cuvette and movement signed and numbered
    57 mm. diam.

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    With Breguet short gold chain and double-ended key and gold-tooled red morocco fitted box No. 1362.

    According to the Archives of Montres Breguet, watch No. 1362, a "souscription moyenne à tact", was sold on 25 Fructidor, An 12 (12 September 1804) to Monsieur Hainguerlot for the sum of 1,600 Francs. The family home of the Hainguerlot Family was the Château of Villandry near Tours, France. The family owned the Compagnie des Canaux which enjoyed the rights to the Canal de l’Ourcq and the Canal Saint Denis. By the time Monsieur Hainguerlot purchased it in 1804, his family were already established clients of Breguet. Hainguerlot and his wife seemed to have favoured the large à tact model having already purchased in the year 1800 Breguet No. 715, another souscription moyenne à tact with both Republican and Gregorian calendars.

    The large-size montre à tact is extremely rare and the present watch is an excellent, wonderfully well preserved example of the model, sold complete with fitted box. It would be a superb addition to any collection or a stand-out individual piece.

    The Breguet Montre à Tact Watch
    Breguet introduced the à tact watch, one of his most elegant and novel inventions, at the French Industrial Exhibition which opened in Paris on 17th September 1798. Made, like all his other watches, in several variations, the watch took its name from the system used to read the time. The position of the arrow on the exterior of the case corresponds to the position of the watch’s hour hand and is felt manually by the user in relation to hour touch pieces set at the edge of the case. The idea was that the time could be read simply by touching the watch whilst in the pocket, useful in situations where for reasons of discretion it would be inappropriate to look at one’s watch or make a repeating watch strike. Indeed, the 7th Duke of Wellington suggested to George Daniels that à tact watches were worn by fashionable young men who wished to know the time without the embarrassment of their host knowing their anxiety. The movements of the à tact watches are basically souscription movements which underwent the same progression of development over the same period of time. The montre à tact was always quite expensive with models ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 Francs up to around 5,000 Francs for a sumptuously jeweled example. They continued to be made until 1834.

    Special Notice

    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

    “The tact watch was one of the most amusing and elegant of all Breguet’s inventions” - Emmanuel Breguet, Breguet, The Life and Legacy of Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823)


    A very similar watch is illustrated in The Art of Breguet, George Daniels, 1974, p. 189, fig. 160a-c. Two further examples, including another bought by Mme. Hainguerlot are illustrated in Breguet, Emmanuel Breguet, 1997, pp. 138–139 and pp. 144-145. Another, No. 960, is illustrated in Breguet, un apogée de l’horlogerie européenne, Louvre, 2009, p.141.