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BREGUET. A VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K WHITE GOLD JUMP-HOUR KEYLESS LEVER 'DIGITAL' PERPETUAL CALENDAR DRESS WATCH
BREGUET. A VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K WHITE GOLD JUMP-HOUR KEYLESS LEVER 'DIGITAL' PERPETUAL CALENDAR DRESS WATCH
BREGUET. A VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K WHITE GOLD JUMP-HOUR KEYLESS LEVER 'DIGITAL' PERPETUAL CALENDAR DRESS WATCH
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The Genius of BreguetIn the oft quoted words of the great Breguet collector Sir David Lionel Salomons - “To carry a fine Breguet watch is to feel that you have the brains of a genius in your pocket.” It is indeed quite remarkable that these words still resonate today, almost 200 years after Breguet’s death. It is no exaggeration to say that the watches of Abraham-Louis Breguet were completely revolutionary at the time, both in their technical and aesthetic superiority. His numerous inventions including the tourbillon, creative applications for equation of time and the first reliable self-winding watches represented a quantum leap in fine watchmaking that provided the benchmark against which the work of all subsequent watchmakers has been measured. In addition to his watchmaking genius, Breguet possessed another important quality, he was a supremely competent businessman and networker. The exceptional technical ingenuity and avant-garde appearance of his watches meant that the most celebrated figures of the day in Europe and beyond beat a path to his door. To own a Breguet timepiece became one of the ultimate ambitions for the Royal, scientific, military, financial and diplomatic elites of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. The following lots represent a group of highly important and historic Breguet timepieces that have not been seen in public for many decades, many are offered complete with their hand-written Breguet Certificates. Forming part of an exceptional private European collection, they now present today’s collectors with the increasingly rare opportunity to obtain a masterwork of a true genius. Two of Breguet’s own inventions, the ‘à tact’ watch and the ‘tourbillon’ are represented here by superb and impressive examples which are the very epitome of understated beauty for which his work is renowned, capturing at once the rich history and technical mastery of the House of Breguet.Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823) is counted among the finest horologists of all time. The late Dr. George Daniels had written of him: ‘During the four hundred years that horology has been accepted as a separate art only a dozen or so men have made a positive contribution to its direction of progress. Included in this little group of masters is the illustrious name of Abraham-Louis Breguet, the arch-mechanicien in an age of mechanics. His contribution was as brilliant as it was original'. Born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, he was sent in 1762 to work with a watchmaker in Les Verrières. By the end of the year he had moved close to the French court at Versailles. After some two years he moved to Paris, where he benefited from his relationship with the great clockmakers Ferdinand Berthoud (1727-1807) and Jean-Antoine Lépine (1720-1814), before setting up business in 1775 at Quai de l'Horloge in Île de la Cité. Among the many technical innovations of Breguet's early career were the perpetuelle (self-winding) watch, an improvement to Mudge's lever escapement by the addition of a ruby pallet and a three-wheel clock. As Emmanuel Breguet writes: 'Through these inventions and technical innovations of the early part of his career, Breguet emerged as one of the most creative clockmakers of his generation'. His first recorded client, the Comte de Lort, bought a watch in 1778 and in 1780 the Duc d'Orleans, one of the wealthiest men in France, became the first client to buy a perpetuelle. In October 1782 he completed a repeating calendar watch for Marie-Antoinette and that same year was presented to the King and Queen. Louis XVI bought a watch from Breguet in December 1784 for 1680 livres. Before long, Breguet numbered some of the greatest names of France among his clients. In time they would span Europe. During 1785-90 he extended his reach to England, receiving commissions from George III, the Prince of Wales and the Duke of York. Later notable clients would include Napoleon Bonaparte , the King and Queen of Spain, the Kings of Prussia and Bavaria and the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud II, to whom a sympathique clock which cost 35000 francs (the most expensive single item made by Breguet) was presented in 1812. Breguet's best client was Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples, younger sister of Napoleon Bonaparte and wife to Joachim Murat, who reigned as King of Naples from 1808-1815. For Caroline Murat, Breguet created the first watch specially designed to be worn on the wrist.BREGUET NO. 1620 DIGITAL PERPETUAL CALENDAR JUMP HOUR WATCH
BREGUET. A VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K WHITE GOLD JUMP-HOUR KEYLESS LEVER 'DIGITAL' PERPETUAL CALENDAR DRESS WATCH

SIGNED BREGUET, FRANCE, NO. 1620, CIRCA 1928

Details
BREGUET. A VERY FINE AND EXTREMELY RARE 18K WHITE GOLD JUMP-HOUR KEYLESS LEVER 'DIGITAL' PERPETUAL CALENDAR DRESS WATCH
SIGNED BREGUET, FRANCE, NO. 1620, CIRCA 1928
Movement: Cal. 16’’’, manual, 19 jewels, signed
Dial: Trapezoid and fan-shaped apertures for the Arabic jumping hours and minutes, linear triple window for day, date and month calendar, signed
Case: Snap on back, 35 mm. diam.
With: Breguet Certificate no. 3578, dated 27 April 1979

Brought to you by

Remi Guillemin
Remi Guillemin Head of Department, Geneva

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Lot Essay

This superbly fine Art Deco jump hour watch combines features that, to date, have only been seen in one other of Breguet's known dress watches – a related and almost identical watch, No. 1622. In 1928 that watch sold for the impressive amount of 14'100 French Francs.

It is exceptionally rare to find a watch with perpetual calendar with ‘digital’ or linear display visible through a triple window opening in the silver dial, an arrangement hardly ever seen in any watches from the period. During the "Roaring Twenties", pocket and wristwatches fitted with this unusual display were made by several of the very best makers, including Breguet, Audemars Piguet, Cartier and Patek Philippe, but then only in very small numbers.

Furthermore, the present watch is preserved in very good, original condition, an extremely desirable collector's item for the aficionado of rare Art Deco timepieces.

The first jump hour pocket watches appeared in the early 19th century but became particularly fashionable during the Art Deco period. Their clean, uncluttered layout, displaying the actual hour and minutes and, more rarely, the calendar indications through small apertures, harmonized perfectly with the Art Deco style, seen as elegant, functional, and ultra-modern.

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