Constantly enriched with new acquisitions, the Breguet Museum located on the upper floor of its flagship boutique, on Place Vendôme in Paris, displays around 100 prestigious objects out of more than 200 heritage pieces in possession of the House of Breguet. Focusing principally on the work of the founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, the collection boasts items that illustrate the firm’s uninterrupted and lustrous history from 1775 to today. It is the largest permanent exhibition of Breguet pieces in the world, with additional artefacts from the Museum collection on display in dedicated spaces at Breguet boutiques in Zurich and Shanghai, and, from October 2018, in Moscow. The House of Breguet possesses most fascinating pieces, including three historical tourbillon pocket watches from the early nineteenth century. The invention of the tourbillon mechanism by Breguet in 1801 cemented the watchmaker’s standing as one of the most innovative figures of all time.
Breguet masterpieces in European Museums The brilliant nature of the works of Abraham-Louis Breguet attracted illustrious personalities from very early on. In the 1780s, when his career was only beginning, Marie-Antoinette and the Duc d’Orléans became among the earliest collectors of his works. Today, Breguet is the only single watchmaker to be honoured by several of the world’s premier museums, such as the Louvre, the Kremlin, The British Museum and the Swiss National Museum to name a few.
The institutions in possessions of significant collections of Breguet watches and clocks are numerous. However, the majority of early creations still remain in the hands of private collectors. For example, the Sympathique clock No. 666 and watch No. 721 acquired by the future King George IV of England is owned today by H.M. Queen Elizabeth and is used by H.R.H. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. The clock was designed to hold the watch which, when placed in a recess, was automatically adjusted and reset. The term “sympathique” was chosen by Breguet to express the notion of harmony and “sympathy” between the two objects. Although the Sympathique clock enhanced Breguet’s fame, it remained very complex to make. All five examples, each different, that Abraham-Louis Breguet sold before his death in 1823, were bought by Kings or Princes. When his grandson Louis-Clément Breguet took over the reins of the firm in 1833, succeeding his father, he lost no time in patenting the Sympathique clock endowing it with a new rewinding function.