November 13, 2013. Geneva, Switzerland—The Breguet Museum and its President, Marc A. Hayek, have acquired three exceptional Breguet watches that made their mark on Fine Watchmaking history, for a price of nearly 1.5 million Swiss Francs. Among the purchased lots, an extremely rare, highly complicated pocket watch, the Breguet No. 4691. Bought at Christie’s and Sotheby’s auctions in Geneva on Monday November 11th and Tuesday 12th respectively, these masterpieces complete the already important collection of the House.
Sold on July 3, 1833 to the Marquis d’Abercorn, the first watch, No. 5015 went for the price of 38,000 Swiss Francs. This pocket watch is one of the very first watches ever made by any watchmaker featuring a keyless stem winding and hour setting system. Created in 1830, this invention is the ancestor of all modern winding mechanisms, consisting of a knurled winding button to be turned from left to right until a stop was reached. Spanning three Breguet generations, from founder Abraham-Louis and his contribution to the development of the keyless winding and hour setting mechanism, to his son Antoine-Louis who perfected and commercialized it, then the latter’s son Louis-Clément who sold it only 6 weeks after taking reigns of the firm, the No. 5015 is an important witness of the work and legacy of the House of Breguet.
The second antique piece, well-known as the No. 4420 is a historically important 18K gold and silver hunter case cylinder watch. With eccentric hour and minute dials, gold Breguet hands and surmounted by the advance/retard slide, it was purchased for more than 240,000 Swiss Francs. This pocket watch was bought on October 3, 1825 by King George IV of Great Britain. Like his father, King George IV was an aficionado of fine watches and clocks and one of A.L. Breguet’s earliest clients, admirers and most loyal customers. With this acquisition the House took the exceptionally scarce opportunity to acquire one of the Breguet’s “Royal” watches.
Last but not least, the third watch is an extremely rare extra-flat half-quarter repeating pocket watch. Sold on October 13, 1831 to Lord Henry Seymour Conway, the No. 4691 is one of the most complicated watches to have been made by Breguet in such a slim case. With a thickness of 7.7 mm, this Repeater watch displays equation of time, power reserve indication, calendar and moon phase based on chronometer principles. Reflecting the constant search for innovation that has characterized Breguet’s production since the 18th century, boasting an exceptionally large number of complications for a watch of this time, this prestigious timepiece was purchased for more than one million Swiss Francs.
Montres Breguet is proud to announce the arrival of these treasures at its museums. This unique event confirms Breguet President and CEO Marc A. Hayek’s commitment to preserving the Manufacture’s historic and cultural legacy.
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