With Breguet Certificate no. 4369 dated 23 March 2012.
Sold in August 1814 to Mr Garcias of London for the amount of 5,000 francs; taken back from him via Gabriel; resold on 30 April 1856 to Eugène Emmanuel de Savoie-Villafranca-Soissons (1816-1888), Prince of Carignan, Count of Villafranca, for the amount of 4'500 francs.
The movements were especially built to obtain direct centre-seconds devices, one in the centre, the other at noon of the left subsidiary dial. This watch was devised by Breguet to demonstrate his theory that two oscillating bodies in proximity will influence each other. The barrels, trains and escapements are duplicated. The balances are close to each other. On the two other watches made by him (no. 2788 and no. 2794) the distance between the balances can be varied in order to study the effects of air disturbances caused by their variations. Breguet found that the effects of air disturbance were minimal and this was confirmed when both balances were encircled with a thin steel guard to minimise these effects. His experiments led him to conclude that the whole of the matter composing the watch plate was set in continuous microscopic motion by the vibration of the balances and that any errors in one half of the watch would be favourably influenced by the other half. The system was undoubtedly successful in eliminating obscure small errors and Breguet noted that one of the watches had been in the hands of independent testers for three months without the seconds hands deviating by the smallest fraction of a second.
Breguet's resonance watches
Around 1810, Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823) made for Louis XVIII (1755-1824), King of France (1814-1824), a resonance regulator, presently displayed at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (National Conservatory for Arts and Crafts) in Paris. He also manufactured a second one for George IV (1762-1830), King of Great-Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover (1820-1830), now in London's Buckingham Palace. For these two personalities he also made pocketwatches applying the same principle, following the example set by his first resonance watch in 1814 (the watch offered for sale in this auction).
List of Breguet's watches with two movements:
No. 2667 "Montre à deux mouvements, 26'''"; case no. 1887, in gold, by Joly
Sold in August 1814 to Mr Garcias of London for the amount of 5 000 francs.
Taken back from him via Gabriel.
Resold on 30 April 1856 to Eugène Emmanuel de Savoie-Villafranca-Soissons (1816-1888), Prince of Carignan, Count of Villafranca, for the amount of 4 500 francs.
The present watch.
Eugène Emmanuel Joseph Marie Paul François Antoine de Savoie-Villafranca-Soissons (Paris, 14 April 1816 - Torino, 15 December 1888), Prince of Carignan, Count of Villafranca. He was named Chevalier de l'Annonciade in 1836 (certificate no. 443). He is buried in the Superga Basilique in Torino (second hall).
No. 2788 "Montre à deux mouvements, simple"; case no. 3309, in gold
Sold on 2 October 1818, to the Prince Regent, future George IV (1762-1830), King of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover (1820-1830), for the sum of 7'200 francs (certificate no. 2396).
At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century Collection of Sir David Lionel Salomons, London (Inv. No. 11, certificate no. 2595)
Jerusalem, L.A. Mayer Memorial Institute for Islamic Art, The Sir David Salomons Collection (Inv. WA76-71).
No. 2794, "Simples à deux mouvements"; case no. 3424, in gold
Sold on 3 September 1821 to H.M. Louis XVIII (1755-1824), King of France (1814-1824), for the sum of 7000 francs.
Resold on 4 September 1866 to Mr Caen for the sum of 2'700 francs (certificate no. 1887).
At the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century Collection of Sir David Lionel Salomons, London (Inv. No. 10, certificate no. 2370)
Jerusalem, L.A. Mayer Memorial Institute for Islamic Art, The Sir David Salomons Collection (Inv. WA86-71).
The phenomena of resonance
All living bodies send vibrations to their environments. When another body picks up these vibrations, it absorbs the energy and begins vibrating at the same frequency. The first one is called the exciter, the second the resonator.
This physical phenomenon, called "resonance", is an integral part of our daily lives and yet we do not pay attention to it. For example, when we search for a station on our radio, it crackles as long as the chosen waves have not found the waves of the transmitter. Once they have met, and only then, they synchronize to be in resonance!
At the end of the sixteenth century, Galileo (Galileo Galilei; 1564-1642), Italian physicist and astronomer, discovered the laws of the pendulum motion and encouraged its usage in the measurement of time (law of the isochronous pendulum). According to tradition, he made this discovery at the age of nineteen by observing the swing of a chandelier in the cathedral of Pisa.
In 1656, Christiaan Huygens (1629-1695), Dutch mathematician, physicist and astronomer, perfected the first clock with a pendulum, thus clearing the way to the birth of accuracy.
Soon watchmakers observed that the frequency of the pendulum often interferes with its environment and that it is not uncommon to see a clock stopping by itself when its pendulum starts to resonate with the weight suspended from its cord.
The understanding of the phenomenon of resonance grew in the eighteenth century. Scholars had the intuition that energy is dispersed, not lost; Antoine Laurent de Lavoisier (1743-1794), French chemist, stated that "Nothing is lost, nothing is created, everything is transformed".
Resonance clocks and watches
If Huygens has foreseen and drafted it, it was Antide Janvier (1751-1835), French watchmaker and mechanic, who was the first to believe that one can change this disadvantage into an asset. He developed two complete watch movements with two precision escapements and mounted them one next to the other, ensuring that the two pendulums were suspended from the same frame. Just as he had imagined, each of the pendulums absorbed the energy released by the other and started beating together, thus entering into resonance.
Detained by this wave and protected from external vibrations, this principle greatly increased the accuracy of timekeeping. Toward 1780, Antide Janvier built two regulators fitted with two pendulums, one of which, wall-mounted, is preserved at the Paul Dupuy Museum in Toulouse, while the other one, a long case, is at Montres Journe S.A. in Geneva. A third regulator, desk top, built shortly after and finished in 1810, is on permanent exhibition in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.
Around 1810, Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823), French watchmaker originating from Neuchâtel, Switzerland, built a resonance clock for Louis XVIII (1755-1824), King of France (1814-1824), presently displayed at the Conservatoire National des Arts et Métiers (National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts) in Paris and a second one for George IV (1762-1830), King of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover (1820-1830), preserved at the Buckingham Palace in London. For these two Royal personalities he also created pocketwatches based on the same principle, following the example of his first resonance watch created in 1814. The first two are in the L.A. Mayer Memorial Institute for Islamic Art (The Sir David Salomons Collection) in Jerusalem, while the third - and oldest of the three watches - is the present watch offered for sale in this auction.
During the 1930s, in the horological school of the Vallée de Joux, 10 chronometers of different sizes fitted with double regulators were made. The most prestigious example features a differential driving the flying tourbillon cage, containing two balances. Some of these chronometers are today in the collections of the Espace horloger de la Vallée de Joux, the Musée International de l'Horlogerie in La Chaux-de-Fonds and in the Patek Philippe Museum in Geneva.
In what concerns its application to the field of horology, this physical phenomenon was not studied anymore until the recent work of François-Paul Journe (born in 1957), French watchmaker living in Geneva. He uses its advantages in the wristwatch, whose adjustment is subject to numerous disruptions due to being carried on the wrist and the resulting movements.