15. Brequet verge fusee pocket watch, ca. 1775-1780.
BREQUET pocket watch ca. 1775-1780 with Silver Chatelaine
Abraham-Louis Brequet (1747-1823)
Brequet was born in Neuchâtel, Switserland, and was watchmaker from 1762 up to 1812. In 1775, at the age of 28, he married Cecile Marie-Louise L'Huillier (died 1780) and started his own watch production at 39 Quai de l’Horloge, Paris. In 1776 his son Louis Antoine Brequet was born. Brequet perfected inventions and complications with movements. In 1784 he became master watchmaker. From 1787 untill 1791 he had a partnership with Xavier Gide. These years the gradual development of the automatic, self-winding, watch and a repeater movement took place. (watchmaker and horloger du roi lupine). Louis XVI, Marie-Antoinette and their surroundings purchased several of these watches. In 1783, Brequet received a commission for an extraordinary watch, the watch should incorporate all innovations and complications known at the time. The end result is one of the most famous of all Breguet watches, No. 160, also called the “Marie-Antoinette”, which, with ups and downs, was eventually finished in 1827, four years after he died.
Brequet made regular trips to England while France was in revolution, where he worked with watchmaker John Arnold, while enlarging his clientele, which already included the Prince of Wales.
In 1792 he became oficially a French citizen. In 1793 Brequet went to Switserland, fearing the consequences of his former relationship with members of the Court. He worked there and tried meanwhile to keep his bussiness in Paris going. He returned to Paris in May 1795. The first patent he registered for one of his inventions was in 1798. At France’s First Exhibition of Industrial Products in 1798, Brequet won a gold medal. At the beginning of the 1800's his son Louis Antoine Brequet (1776-1858) became businesspartner. In 1806 he introduced the “tourbillon regulator”. (device that neutralizes the effects of gravity on the workings of watch movements). Although kept in the background by Napoleon I, Brequet received orders from the imperial court of Napoleon Bonaparte and his entourage. The company also exported timepieces through a network in and outside of Europe,
having understood at an early date that its survival depended on becoming international to England, Spain, Russia. and the Ottoman empire. When the Bourbon family returned to power, Brequet again delivered to the european royal houses. Louis XVIII appointed him in 1815 as Watchmaker to the royal navy. In 1816 he got a seat in the Academy of Sciences by Louis XVIII. In 1823 he died, already known as one of the most modern and innovative watchmakers ever known.