According to the Archives of Breguet, the present watch, a "petite répétition à quantième", small repeating watch with date, was finished February 1786. It was returned to Breguet's workshops for repair in 1794, noted as belonging to the "Citoyenne Nolan", citizien Nolan, the French word "Citoyenne" indicting that it was a lady.
This charming and exceedingly rare timepiece is one of Breguet’s earliest datable watchesthe fractional number 2/86 indicating that it was finished in February 1786. As the records did not begin until 1787 it was therefore not recorded at the time, but is listed in the registers as being returned to Breguet’s workshop for repair in 1794 at which time it was the property of a “Citoyenne Nolan” who would almost certainly have been the original purchaser, further confirmed by the engraved letter “N” on the back of the case. It has the rare feature of a Republican calendar of 30 days, a system in use during the French revolution from 1792 until 1805. It is therefore reasonable to assume that when the watch was sent to Breguet’s workshop in 1794 the present dial was fitted to accord with the new regime.
The movements of these early quarter repeating watches were based upon commercially available movements then fitted by Breguet with cylinder escapements. The ébauches came from Neuchâtel or Geneva and were finished in Breguet’s workshop where the escapements and repeating mechanisms were made before being encased. In the 1780s, it was by selling these watches that the firm survived day to day whilst Breguet worked on the construction and perfection of his perpetuelle watches.
The present watch gives collectors the very rare opportunity to acquire an early and documented watch, a fascinating part of Breguet's history.
An almost identical movement is illustrated in The Art of Bregue by George Daniels, 1974, p. 118.
We are indebted to Mr. Emmanuel Breguet for his valuable assistance in researching the present watch.