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Breguet. A fine and rare 18K gold hunter case ruby cylinder watch with unusual quarter repeating sur un seul ressort-timbre
THE PROPERTY OF A LADY
Breguet. A fine and rare 18K gold hunter case ruby cylinder watch with unusual quarter repeating sur un seul ressort-timbre

SIGNED BREGUET, HORLOGER DE LA MARINE ROYALE, NO. 3369, CASE NO. 3673, MANUFACTURED CIRCA 1819 AND SOLD TO HENRY PHILIP HOPE, LONDON, ON 11 OCTOBER 1819 VIA JAMES FATTON, BREGUET'S AGENT, FOR 2,400 FRANCS

Details
Breguet. A fine and rare 18K gold hunter case ruby cylinder watch with unusual quarter repeating sur un seul ressort-timbre
Signed Breguet, Horloger de la Marine Royale, no. 3369, case no. 3673, manufactured circa 1819 and sold to Henry Philip Hope, London, on 11 October 1819 via James Fatton, Breguet's agent, for 2,400 Francs
With gilt-finished highly jewelled ruby cylinder movement, plain three arm brass balance with parachute on the top pivot, blued steel flat balance spring with bimetallic compensation curb on the regulator, quarter repeating with one polished steel hammer onto one gong, gold cuvette, the engine-turned silvered dial signed Breguet et Fils below 6, black Roman numerals on blank ring, secret signature No. 3369 Breguet between 11 and 12 and 12 and 1, blued steel Breguet hands, eccentric subsidiary seconds between 3 and 4, hands set through a hole in the glass, in circular engine-turned case by Tavernier, engine-turned band, engraved inscription From H.P.H. to J.H.H. July 1822 to inside front cover, quarter repeating mechanism activated by the pull-twist push-piece in the pendant, case numbered, cuvette signed and numbered, dial signed and numbered, movement numbered underneath the dial
54 mm. diam.

Lot Essay

Accompanied by later Breguet Certificate confirming manufacture of the present watch and its subsequent sale to Mr. Hope, London, in 1819.

Abraham Louis Breguet is widely recognised as the inventor of the ressort-timbre or wire gong for repeating watches. This technique, developped around 1783, using a wire gong instead of a bell, improved not only the quality of the sound but especially helped to reduce the thickness of a watch considerably.

The present watch features a particularly rare version of the gong repeating as one hammer striking on one gong only assumes all functions of the quarter repeating. One can easily assume that Breguet adapted this mechanism for this watch in order to keep its slim and elegant proportions. It is furthermore very notable that the majority of the watches produced by Abraham-Louis Breguet were finished with openface cases. Consequently, the rarity of the present watch is further enhanced by its very early hunter case.

Henry Philip Hope, the famous London based banker, can be identified as the first owner of the present watch. According to literature, he was a very loyal client to Breguet and ordered at least four watches. The presentation inscription inside the front cover further indicates that Henry Philip Hope presented this watch as a gift to somebody close to him, most likely a member of the Hope family.

One of the worlds most famous diamonds, the Blue Hope or Hope Diamond, has been named after Henry Philip Hope. Originally a 112 3/16 carat diamond, it was most probably from the Kollur mine in Golconda, India, and originally purchased by Jean-Baptiste Tavernier, a French merchant traveller.

Before being listed in the 1839 entry of the gem collection of Henry Philip Hope, the diamonds' various owners were King Louis XIV of France, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, an unknown thief and possibly King George IV of England.

Unfortunately it is not known when and where Hope purchased the diamond nor how much he paid for it.

After his death in 1839, the "Hope Diamond" passed on to Henry Philip's nephew Henry Thomas Hope and ultimately to Lord Francis Hope, the nephew's grandson.

It then again changed hands various times until November 1958, when the last owner, Harry Winston Inc., donated it to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington. It is recognized as one of the world's largest and most important diamonds.
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