Innovation & Invention: A History of Breguet Watches


  by Kate Ng
Innovation & Invention: A History of Breguet Watches
The Breguet Marine Équation Marchante Ref. 5887. Image Courtesy of Hodinkee.

 

Started from humble beginnings, the well-known luxury Swiss watch brand Breguet was founded by Abraham Louis Breguet in Paris in 1775. One of the oldest surviving watch-making establishments, Breguet has pioneered and patented numerous prominent movements and are often easily recognised for their blue pomme hands, guilloche dials and coin-edge cases!

Sit tight as we take you through some of Breguet’s best watch-making inventions.

 

Self-winding | 1780

The first fully functional automatic Breguet watch was sold to the Duc d'Orléans in 1780!
Image Courtesy of A Blog To Watch.

The perfection of this system was the first major achievement of Breguet’s career. While his competitors were struggling with this problem, Abraham-Louis Breguet succeeded in inventing a watch which would rewind its mainsprings all by itself, without the aid of a key or any other external tools. This was made possible through the use of an oscillating weight "à secousses", which responded to the wearer’s movements.

 

Breguet Hands | 1783

Image Courtesy of Breguet.


Breguet left his indelible mark on the classic Breguet “moon” tip watch hands we know so well. Made of gold or blued steel, the points of the hand were hollowed out with extreme delicacy and irresistible elegance.

 

Pare-chute | 1790

The inner clockworks of a Breguet timepiece.
Image Courtesy of A Blog To Watch.

One of the watch brand’s most celebrated inventions is the Pare-chute, a shock protection system. Breguet saw that the fine pivots of the balance wheel within the watch has low resistance to shock and impact. By developing an an axel whose two ends are held in place by a jewel above and below the balance wheel, the clever combination of small dishes of matching shape and a strip spring allowed the balance shaft to stay intact.

 

Tourbillon | 1801

To celebrate this incredible invention and to recognise a pivotal moment of European thought on astronomy and social sciences, Breguet continues to design timepieces in tribute to this legendary milestone.
Image Courtesy of A Blog To Watch.


Through many observations, Breguet found that gravity affected the regularity of horological movements, provoking variations in timing adjustment with each change of position of a watch when worn. To solve this problem, the watchmaker installed the balance and spring, lever and escape-wheel inside a mobile carriage that performs a complete rotation each minute.

 

Image Courtesy of A Blog To Watch.

Today, Breguet has continued to exceed expectations, pushing the limits of what is possible as they continue to reinvent themselves with special tourbillons, extra flat movements with peripheral winding rotors and so on, without compromising on the consistant quality of their timepieces!

 

 

Browse our collection of Breguet timepieces here.