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Breguet

Breguet’s archives, kept in Switzerland and in Paris, record the developments that have sustained Breguet watchmaking for more than two centuries. The firm is committed to remaining ahead of its time with a flow of inventions and improvements.

About

 As a brand that represents a great historical and cultural heritage as well as avant-garde technology, Breguet has always had a fascinating ability to innovate. It owes its place in European cultural history to its prodigiously inventive founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823), and its position as a benchmark of Fine Watchmaking to its astonishingly skillful master watchmakers of today. 

At a time when everybody ­- companies as much as individuals - seems keen to explore their roots, Breguet’s countless treasures illustrate the most beautiful history that any watchmaking brand could wish to have. 

Born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in 1747, Abraham-Louis Breguet spent much of his life in Paris where many of his important creations were produced. He worked simultaneously in all the areas of watchmaking, beginning his career with a series of masterly inventions: the automatic watch, referred to as “a perpetual”, the gong spring for repeater watches, and the first shock-absorber device, the “pare-chute”. 

Breguet was admired in all the royal courts of Europe and became the principal watchmaker of the elite in the worlds of diplomacy, science, finance and the military. Breguet watches contained original movements, with lever or cylinder escapements, that were constantly improved.

At his death in 1823, he was eulogised as a man whose genius had revolutionised every aspect of timekeeping. But that is not the end of the story...

In 1999, the late Nicolas G. Hayek took control of Breguet, a jewel of fine watchmaking. His genuine passion breathed new life into the brand whose exceptional heritage and expertise was recognised by all the great names in the industry. He had the vision to restore Breguet to greatness by reviving its cultural and emotional dimensions.  

Nicolas G. Hayek placed great emphasis on research and notably initiated work on new materials with the application of silicon in watchmaking. Under his leadership, Breguet developed and filed a remarkable number of new patents and it continues to do so under its new President, Marc A. Hayek. 

The Manufacture also achieved the feat of developing a new movement every year, several of which were truly revolutionary. Its ability to innovate has firmly established Breguet as a benchmark in contemporary Fine Watchmaking, in addition to the unique position it already held as part of Europe’s cultural heritage.

1775
Abraham-Louis Breguet sets up his own business on Quai de l'Horloge, Ile de la Cité, in Paris.
1801
Patent of the "tourbillon regulator" invention (26 June).
1999
Acquisition of the “Groupe Horloger Breguet” by the Swatch Group.
2006
First use of silicon.
2010
Patent for magnetic pivots and shock absorber.
Philosophy

Breguet’s archives, kept in Switzerland and in Paris, record the developments that have sustained Breguet watchmaking for more than two centuries. The firm is committed to remaining ahead of its time with a flow of inventions and improvements.

Today Breguet watches are made in the Vallée de Joux, the centre of advanced mechanical horology. The Breguet workshops bring together extraordinary resources to handle the essential aspects of watchmaking.

Equipped with watchmaking tools that A.- L. Breguet could scarcely imagine, his successors in the Breguet workshops combine avant-garde processes with closely guarded traditional techniques. The constant modernization of their equipment reveals the motivation of the craftsmen who build the Breguet watch : pride in their work.

Driven by the same enthusiasm that A.-L. Breguet brought to his art, craftsmen work daily to perfect the timepieces that earn Breguet its position as the architect of fine horology.

Collections

Classique

True to the technical principles, the artistry and the traditional values of the Breguet watch, the "Classique" wristwatches exemplify the  watchmaking ideals of precision, clarity and elegant lines.

Classique Grandes Complications

The pinnacle of Breguet's art, Grandes Complications bear witness to the bonds Breguet has always forged with science.

Héritage

The Héritage models show that even in a curved tonneau case, a Breguet remains unmistakably a Breguet. Adapting late 18th century styling concepts to the shapes of the 21st century demands a great deal from design engineers, casemakers and dialmakers.

High Jewellery

In these watches set with precious stones, Breguet demonstrates its ability to combine the arts of watchmaking and jewellery. Aesthetic excellence and superlative technical construction have thus earned watches by Breguet a fabled role in the life of history’s most illustrious women.

Marine

Marine watches are based on the traditional Breguet values, while interpreting them in a contemporary way in order to create sporty timepieces.

Reine de Naples

The models in the Reine de Naples line are anthems of praise to femininity. Inspired by the first wristwatch made for the Queen of Naples they are legendary creations: resolutely modern, refined and suffused with an exquisitely poetic touch.

Tradition

An invitation to journey through time and beyond time. The collection pays a vibrant tribute to the memory of Breguet.

Type XX

Designed in the 1950s for the French naval air arm, the Type XX returns to the Breguet collection in a civilian version fitted with a self-winding movement. Its uncompromising looks and strong construction have made the Type XX popular among those seeking an original and technical sports watch. Its Type XXI design features a flyback minute totalizer and the Type XXII is equipped with the first and only series-made mechanical chronograph with a frequency raised to 10 Hz. 

Watches

A legendary name in the world of watchmaking

A brand that should need no introduction either to the watch seller or the watch aficionado, since Abraham-Louis Breguet, after whom the company is named, invented the tourbillon along with several other important technological breakthroughs in the world of watchmaking, Breguet is today part of the Swatch Group, alongside other high-end brands like Omega.

Though today firmly anchored in the Vallée de Joux, Switzerland, at the heart of the Swiss fine watchmaking industry, the company's founder Abraham-Louis Breguet studied watchmaking under such illustrious men as Ferdinand Berthoud and Jean-Antoine Lépine before setting up is workshop in Paris. His associations with France created a number of milestones in the company's history, notably thanks to links with the French royal court, which led to links with the heyday of shipping as the official watchmaker to the French navy and Queen Marie Antoinette as one of his most famous customers. These close ties came to be a disadvantage, however, with the arrival of the French revolution, when the simple desire to be free meant fleeing the country, leading Breguet to seek refuge in his native Switzerland.

Watchmaking and aviation

The name Breguet resonated throughout Europe, and not just thanks to watchmaking. Louis Breguet, part of the fifth generation of the family under Abraham-Louis Breguet, was a noted pioneer in aviation as well an aficionado of the family's type of luxury watches. Louis Breguet's impact in the world of aviation cannot be underestimated. In addition to an influential role in the development of the helicopter, he was also a pioneer in civil aviation, notably setting a record for the number of passengers carried on his biplane in 1911 and later signing the document that created Air France. He was also the first customer for the first Breguet chronograph, a precursor to the Type XX chronograph that is still in the collection today. Breguet's reputation as a watchmaker even spread as far as Australia. Lieutenant-General Thomas Brisbane (after whom the city is named) purchased a Breguet mean time regulator clock in 1818 and took the clock to Australia three years later, where it was installed in the country's first astronomical observatory.

Much of the company's legacy lives on in today's collections, which have names evoking particular milestones. The Reine de Naples ("Queen of Naples") was inspired by one of Breguet's first wristwatches, which was created for Napoleon Bonaparte's sister Caroline Murat. Today's collection combines high-level automatic complications with white and rose gold cases adorned with diamonds that trace their origins back to Breguet’s skills as a watch seller to some of the world’s most famous customers.

Collections with a history

The Breguet Tradition collection, which predominantly comprises watches for men, combines a look back to the past and the subscription watches (which customers could only buy after placing a deposit equivalent to one-quarter of the price) that Breguet pioneered on his return to Switzerland and a regard to the future with a highly technical design that would have been unheard of among men such as Abraham-Louis Breguet and his contemporaries. Another innovation by Breguet at the time was the idea of a secret signature to certify the authenticity of a timepiece. A small but significant invention that is still used by many other watchmakers is the “Breguet overcoil” terminal curve of the balance spring, which offers greater concentricity. This is still used in the Breguet collection, for example in the in-house calibre 777 with free sprung balance. Even in Breguet’s time, fake watches were a problem and such a minute attention to detail offered reassurance to the seller as well as the buyer. (To buy one of these watches today, of course, you can simply head for a Breguet brand boutique and save yourself any worries!)

As its name suggest, the Classique collection encapsulates all of the Breguet tradition with understated designs and luxury touches such as white and rose gold cases and engine-turned dials. The collection includes ultra-thin models and grande complications, always with an emphasis on precision, clarity and elegant lines, including dials that use white enamel and rose engine engraving. The Classique Hora Mundi 5717 is the stand-out model in this collection, available in platinum (or white or rose gold) with an automatic movement that shows the world time in the major time zones and has a wonderful hand-engraved map of the world on the dial.

The Marine collection naturally harks back to Breguet's ties with shipping as the official chronometer maker to the French navy. A collection with sporty undertones because of its close ties to the ocean, it naturally includes a Breguet Marine Chronograph but also houses some of the brand's most complicated movements, such as the running equation of time calibre in the Marine 5887. These models hark back to the days when shipping was much more important than the commoditised means of transport that it is today. Shipping was a show of power and a means of military domination and colonisation. Precision timekeeping required for accurate navigation at sea was a crucial factor in being better than one’s neighbour. In the modern Breguet reference 5827 automatic chronograph, for example, the tradition lives on in an 18-carat white or rose gold case.

Type XX, XXI and XXII are the names given to the modern-day interpretations of that first chronograph supplied to Louis Breguet. Equipped nowadays with an automatic movement they retain the unmistakable characteristics of a pilot's watch: large, easily readable numbers on a dial free of clutter.

The Heritage collection, for its part, proves that a classic timepiece does not necessarily need to be round. Its tonneau case comes in a variety of sizes in a choice of white or rose gold.