With Breguet short gold chain and double-ended key and gold-tooled red morocco fitted box No. 1362.
According to the Archives of Montres Breguet, watch No. 1362, a "souscription moyenne à tact", was sold on 25 Fructidor, An 12 (12 September 1804) to Monsieur Hainguerlot for the sum of 1,600 Francs. The family home of the Hainguerlot Family was the Château of Villandry near Tours, France. The family owned the Compagnie des Canaux which enjoyed the rights to the Canal de l’Ourcq and the Canal Saint Denis. By the time Monsieur Hainguerlot purchased it in 1804, his family were already established clients of Breguet. Hainguerlot and his wife seemed to have favoured the large à tact model having already purchased in the year 1800 Breguet No. 715, another souscription moyenne à tact with both Republican and Gregorian calendars.
The large-size montre à tact is extremely rare and the present watch is an excellent, wonderfully well preserved example of the model, sold complete with fitted box. It would be a superb addition to any collection or a stand-out individual piece.
The Breguet Montre à Tact Watch
Breguet introduced the à tact watch, one of his most elegant and novel inventions, at the French Industrial Exhibition which opened in Paris on 17th September 1798. Made, like all his other watches, in several variations, the watch took its name from the system used to read the time. The position of the arrow on the exterior of the case corresponds to the position of the watch’s hour hand and is felt manually by the user in relation to hour touch pieces set at the edge of the case. The idea was that the time could be read simply by touching the watch whilst in the pocket, useful in situations where for reasons of discretion it would be inappropriate to look at one’s watch or make a repeating watch strike. Indeed, the 7th Duke of Wellington suggested to George Daniels that à tact watches were worn by fashionable young men who wished to know the time without the embarrassment of their host knowing their anxiety. The movements of the à tact watches are basically souscription movements which underwent the same progression of development over the same period of time. The montre à tact was always quite expensive with models ranging between 1,000 and 2,000 Francs up to around 5,000 Francs for a sumptuously jeweled example. They continued to be made until 1834.