Breguet

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Breguet at Watchdeal.de

Breguet is a luxury watch and jewelry manufacturer founded in Paris in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Since 1999, the company has been a subsidiary of the Swiss Swatch Group. Based in L'Abbaye, Switzerland, Breguet is one of the oldest watch brands still in existence and pioneered the development of many watch technologies, such as the tourbillon, invented by Abraham Breguet in 1801. Abraham Breguet also invented and produced the first self-winding watch (the Perpétuelle) in 1780 and the world's first wristwatch in 1810. (Breguet No. 2639, for Carolina Bonaparte, Queen of Naples).

History

The Breguet company was founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, a Swiss watchmaker born in Neuchâtel to Huguenot parents. He spent ten years learning the watchmaking trade from Ferdinand Berthoud and Jean-Antoine Lépine before setting up his own store at 51, quai de l'Horloge on the Ile de la Cité in Paris. The dowry he received from marrying the daughter of a wealthy French citizen gave him the backing he needed to open his own workshop.
The contacts Breguet made during his apprenticeship as a watchmaker and as a student of mathematics helped him establish his business. After his introduction at court, Queen Marie Antoinette was fascinated by Breguet's exclusive self-winding watch; Louis XVI bought several of his timepieces. In 1783, the Swedish Count Axel von Fersen, friend and presumed lover of the queen, commissioned Breguet to make a watch with all the horological complications known at the time as a gift for Marie Antoinette. The result was Breguet's masterpiece, the Marie-Antoinette pocket watch (Breguet No. 160).
The company was successful, and in 1807 Abraham-Louis Breguet appointed his son Louis-Antoine as a partner and renamed the company "Breguet et Fils". Louis-Antoine took over the company after his father's death in 1823, and when Louis-Antoine retired in 1833 (he died in 1858), the company was continued by Abraham-Louis' grandson Louis Clément François (1804-1883).
Abraham-Louis' great-grandson, Louis Antoine (1851-1882), was the last of the Breguet family to run the company. Although he had two sons and a daughter, they did not join the company. Therefore, the Breguet company hired the famous English watchmaker Edward Brown from Clerkenwell to run the factory in Paris. Brown eventually became a partner and, after the death of Breguet's grandson, owner and manager of the company. After Brown's death in 1895, the company passed to his sons Edward and Henry. When Edward retired in the early 20th century, Henry Brown took over as head of the company.
From 1870 to 1970, Breguet was owned by the English Brown family. The Brown family was of English origin. Edward Brown was a well-known factory director who bought Breguet from Abraham-Louis' grandson, the engineer Louis-François. Brown ran the brand during a period of turbulent French politics in the late 19th century. It was not until Edward's death that the company's sales reached pre-1870 levels, and Edward's son ran the company until 1912, when his brother Henry took over. After the Brown family, ownership changed several times during the quartz crisis of the 1970s and 1980s. In 1976, Chaumet, the owner of Breguet at the time, closed its French factory and moved production to Vallée de Joux in Switzerland.
 
In 1987, Breguet was acquired by Investcorp, which created Groupe Horloger Breguet (GHB) in 1991. The Breguet Group consists of four subsidiaries: Montres Breguet SA, Breguet SA, Valdar SA and Nouvelle Lemania SA (which was acquired by the Breguet Group in 1992)As a result, Breguet watches are now manufactured at the Nouvelle Lemania factory in Switzerland. Montres Breguet SA is the main company selling "Breguet" brand watches, and Breguet SA is the name of the Breguet Group's distribution company in France.
In 1999, the Breguet Watch Group was acquired by the Swatch Group from Investcorp. Breguet is an active member of the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry FH.

The eye-catcher on the wrist

Breguet watches are often easily recognized by their coin-filled cases, guilloché dials, and blue apple-shaped hands (now often referred to as "Breguet hands"). In addition to watches, Breguet also made writing instruments, women's jewelry, and cufflinks.

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