Quarter-repeating travelling clock with almanac, Breguet No 178
Quarter-repeating travelling clock with almanac, Breguet No 178

Quarter-repeating travelling clock with almanac, Breguet No 178

The life of Abraham-Louis Breguet

Abraham-Louis Breguet was born on January 10th 1747 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He arrived in France in 1762, where he served his apprenticeship and studied in Versailles and in Paris.

His marriage in 1775 with Cécile L’huillier, from a Parisian bourgeois family, coincided with setting up his own workshops on the quai de l’Horloge (Ile de la Cité).

In 1780, he sold his first automatic perpétuelle watches and subsequently introduced a number of other innovations that were both technical (gongspring, escapements), and aesthetic (hands, numerals, engine-turned motifs).

In 1793, Breguet left Paris with his family to escape the turmoil of the revolution and, after a brief stay in Geneva, moved to Neuchâtel and then Le Locle. Upon returning to Paris in 1795, he distinguished himself by a new series of inventions, patents for the constant-force escapement and the Tourbillon, the introduction of “tact” watches, sympathique clocks, etc…

Breguet dealt with all aspects of horology and exported his models to a number of countries, even creating a subsidiary company in St. Petersburg, Russia, in 1808. Official Horologer to the French Royal Navy, and a member of the French Academy of Science, he exercised a considerable influence on the entire horological profession in France, Switzerland, and in all countries reached by examples of his art.

He died in Paris on September 17th 1823. His work was pursued by his only son Antoine-Louis (1776 –1858) and by his grandson Louis-Clément (1804–1883).

From 1870 onwards, the Breguet watch company experienced several changes of ownership and in 1976, the workshops were relocated from Paris to the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland.

In 1999, Nicolas G. Hayek took over Breguet, a Fine Watchmaking treasure lying somewhat dormant at the time. Fired by a genuine passion, he was to breathe vibrant new life into a brand with a legacy and an exceptional expertise acknowledged by its most prestigious peers.

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