With Breguet Certificate dated 25 March 1970 including detailed description and instructions for use and original fitted red Morocco presentation box No. 4601 stamped Desoutter, 4, Hannover Street, London, containing a spare crystal. The Certificate describes the watch as a very small and very flat repeating watch, on the principles of chronometers, with "quantième" (calendar), étui d'or outer gold case, lever movement set with rubies, elastic double suspension on the regulator pivot, compensation balance, small gold chain with key and additional crystal, all in a red Morocco box. Its price of 6,200 Francs, an extraordinary amount for the period, consisted of 6,000 Francs for the watch and key and 200 Francs for the gold chain.
Furthermore delivered with Breguet Paris original letter dated 4 April 1969 addressed to Monsieur Sheffield, Sutton Park, Sutton-on-the-Forest, Yorkshire, England, following a repair of the watch in their workshops for the amount of 2,200 Francs. The letter explains that the date changes twice a day, at midday and at midnight. Once the disc has reached zero, it will stop and needs to be advanced to 1 by depressing the small button in the band. This operation should absolutely not be done between 10h and 14h and 22h and 2h. It is moreover mentioned that it is important to respect these recommendations as this small and extraordinarily flat watch is delicate and needs to be handled with precaution.
Based on the year of the letter it can be assumed that the watch was then the property of Edmund Charles Reginald Sheffield, grand-father of Samantha Gwendoline Sheffield, Mrs. David Cameron.
With its diameter of only 34.5 mm., the present watch is one of Breguet's smallest repeating timepieces made "sur les principles des chronomètres" (on the principles of chronometers) ever produced. Distinguished by their unparalleled quality and elegance, Breguet introduced the final form of his repeating watches, the "montres à répétition sur les principes des chronomètres", in 1810. Representing the ultimate grade of his repeating watches, these remarkable timepieces featured fully jewelled lever escapements and quarter or half-quarter repeating mechanisms, compensation balances, pare-chute suspensions, silver engine-turned dials and engine-turned gold cases - some, like the present watch, the additional complication of the date indication. The extra slimness was provided by the omission of a cuvette, the rotating back exposing the winding aperture for male key-winding. The average price of the ordinary repeater was between 1,400 and 2,500 Francs, chronometer models fetched between 3,500 and 4,800 Francs - underlining the importance of the present watch sold for 6,000 Francs. This impressive amount reflects not only the superior quality of its movement and the two cases, fitting so perfectly into one another that there is no claerance visible or tangible, but also Breguet's last development for the activation of the repeating, the slide in the band instead of the pull-piece in the pendant as well as the date function, indicated on a rotating disk and set through the small corrector button in the band near the pendant: when pressed the date hand jumps by half a day steps.
Watch no. 4601 was sold on 22 October 1829 to Count Charles de l'Espine, amongst Breguet's faithful customers and owner of at least two other highly important watches: No. 4111, an exceptional 18K gold and silver equation of time watch with annual calendar, manual perpetual calendar, mean and true solar time, and half-quarter repeating, sold in this saleroom on 14 May 2012 for the world record price of CHF 2,547,000 (lot 232), and watch no. 4952 (an accomplishment of Antoine-Louis Breguet), Breguet's first keyless winding watch, precursor of the winding and setting time mechanism via the pendant, as we use it today.
Consigned by an important private collector, of extraordinary quality and noble provenance and still with its original box, the present watch is the epitome of Breguet's exceptional work and a highlight for the aficionado of outstanding timepieces.