With Breguet Certificate No. 4228 dated 12 November 2002.
According to the Archives of Montres Breguet, watch No. 2044, “montre répétition à grande sonnerie” was sold to Monsieur Castaneda on 14 January 1807 for the sum of 3,240 Francs. The archives confirm the guilloché case, the repeating button at 6, enamel dial with Breguet numerals, secret signature, blued steel hands, ruby cylinder escapement and compensation balance with parachute. It is stated that the case was by Amy Gros and No. 2044/855. The present case by Pierre-Benjamin Tavernier, No. 3108/170, must have been supplied within a very short time of sale, perhaps even before collection by the agent at the time.
In common with the other exceptional Breguet watches from this collection, this watch is preserved in extremely good condition, furthermore the movement is clean and functioning correctly.
Breguet’s striking clockwatches were amongst the most expensive of his watches, usually selling between 3,000 and 4,000 Francs, on a parallel with a perpétuelle and more expensive than a tourbillon. This reflected the difficulty and complexity of their manufacture and consequently only a small number were made.
The present watch is a particularly elegant example of a grande sonnerie clockwatch with quarter-repeating. The pared-down understated design of the dial, case and movement for such a mechanically complex watch are the hallmarks of Breguet’s work at its best. The movement is one of the most pleasingly constructed of his clockwatches being highly evolved, the half-plate with spring barrels placed symmetrically, escapement on the lower plate and the visible wheels almost in alignment. The repeating mechanism activated by a trip-button in the case at 6 is unusual in taking its power from the striking train rather than having its own spring wound by a plunge-type button.
Monsieur Castaneda was, along with Astenos, one of the two couriers that Breguet entrusted for the delivery and sale of some pieces destined for clients in Spain. The Spanish market was one of Breguet’s most long established, between 1798 and 1807 it represented around seventeen percent of the company’s annual sales. Even after their deposition in 1808, the Bourbons continued to buy extensively from Breguet, forty-four pieces in all. Another clockwatch, No. 1790, was sold via Castaneda on 23 October 1806 for 3,600 Francs. A minute repeating watch, No. 2246, was sent to Spain via Casteneda in 1807.