One of the few horology museums outside of Switzerland, the Breguet Museum is a must when visiting Paris. Located at the top level of the Breguet Boutique at the Place Vendôme, the museum displays some of the most exquisite timepieces from Breguet. As soon as you get to the boutique, head to the second level where you will be able to see a chronological journey of Breguet timepieces along with the archives safeguarded by a vault. The museum, just like all things related with the history of the brand are carefully curated by Monsieur Emmanuel Breguet a direct descendant of the Breguet family and vicepresident of Montres Breguet S.A.
Inaugurated by Mr. Nicolas G. Hayek on September 13, 2000, the Breguet Museum presents invaluable documents and items related to the history of the House of Breguet, founded in 1775. Substantially enlarged and its collections augmented, the Museum is now located on the first floor of the Breguet Boutique at 6 Place Vendôme, Paris.
For this special visit, we were greeted by the staff at the boutique along with Monsieur Emmanuel Breguet who was waiting for us with archive books outside of the vault and all. As he walked us through every single piece exhibited at the museum, he also shared different registries on the archive books including the one for the Breguet watch sold to Sir Winston Churchill and which a replica was made by Breguet for the movie The Darkest Hour. This movie about British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill depicts the troubles and tribulations of the man that had to decide whether to negotiate with Adolf Hitler, or fight on knowing that it could mean a humiliating defeat for Britain and its empire. For the movie, Sir Winston Churchill had with him an exact replica of the Breguet watch that was owned by the prime minister.
The Breguet archives cover over two centuries of Breguet timepieces and include production registers, sales ledgers, repair books, certificates of authenticity, letters from clients as well as technical annotations written by Abraham-Louis Breguet and his son.
To round out its current collection, the company is making new acquisitions every year. Today over a 100 timepieces testify to the endlessly inventive mind of Abraham-Louis Breguet as well as to the variety of his contributions to fine horology, all combining technical prowess with elegance of form. One can admire perpétuelles —automatic ones—, souscription, tact, simple or repeating watches, as well as some of the oldest keyless watches, several travel clocks, marine chronometers and military watches.
Some of the most special Breguet timepieces on display include the Breguet No. 246, a super rare and important, silver and gold, early "intermediate stage" experimental "montre de souscription" pocket watch with ruby cylinder escapement. This watch was sold to Monsieur Durbach on January 8, 1799, for 648 Francs. Then, the Breguet No. 611, a small médaillon tact watch —pictured above— with a blue-enamelled gold case, diamond-set pointer, tact studs of large round diamonds, silver dial, ruby cylinder escapement. This particular watch was sold February 18, 1800 to Madame Bonaparte for the sum of 3'000 francs. Following these two very special watches comes the Breguet No. 1176 which is Abraham-Louis Breguet’s very first four-minute tourbillon and the third tourbillon watch ever made. Pocket chronometer with fan-shaped power reserve sector calibrated for 35 hours, small hour dial and additional small rings for two subsidiary seconds. “Echappement naturel” designed by the master in 1789 with a diameter of 64mm. Lastly, the Breguet No. 2090, a Turkish quarter-repeating watch with a dial in white enamel with old Arabic numerals, described in the ledgers as “Turkish” numerals. This very special watch was sold on September 16, 1808 to His Excellency Esseid Ali Effendi, former ambassador of the Ottoman Empire in Paris for the sum of 3’360 francs.
In all, an incredible experience and a temple of horology that needs to be visited if you are ever visiting Paris. Another great day in our watchlife. Thanks Breguet for taking us inside this amazing sanctuary.
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