Breguet - the Royal Watchmaker

Abraham-Louis Breguet was born in January 10, 1747 in the Swiss city of Neuchatel. At the age 15 he was alredy studying the art of watchmaking in Paris. In 1775 he opened his own shop and hired many talented watchmakers for the realization of many projects. Breguet proved to be a good organizer of watchmaking. In the period from 1780 to 1796 Breguet introduced seven improvements in the watch mechanism and all his inventions became an unsurpassed hallmark of the Breguet watches. In 1780 the great master had improved the timing mechanism, and in 1783 there were developed the Breguet watch hands drawing and a separate spring of minute repeater, and in 1788 there was invented the famous Breguet dial.

abraham louis brequetAbraham-Louis Breguet invented the so-called "Tourbillon" - the platform, where the balance mechanism is fixed - which allowed to normalize the error of the watches. Breguet also invented an anti-shock device, the so-called "parachute" (some sort of a spring),  created a flat watch, the kinetic scheme, that was improved by Breguet, made it possible to handle the mass-production of watches.

Abraham-Louise Breguet was not only the best watchmaker of the late XVIII - early XIX century. He was the founder of a new style of watchmaking. Two hundred years after the existence of his studio, which he managed himself, we can say that in fact no one has added nothing fundamentally new to the production of the watch mechanisms.

By the 1807, Breguet was known in many countries such as England, Italy and Spain. The glance of a famous watchmaker was directed to the East: Poland, Russia and Turkey. In 1808, the messenger from Breguet, Moreau-Breguet, a family member and an employee of the firm, which specialized in selling watches, appeared in Russia. His task was to make enough foundation for the new office of the Breguet company.

Members of the Russian aristocratic families, that were already familiar with the Breguet masterpieces, strongly contributed to the project by arranging an audience with the Moreau-Breguet and Alexander I. The emperor was pleased with the choice of the representative office location in Russia, and promised his full support. For himself, the emperor purchased small carriage watches and a clock-cycle. At the second meeting the Emperor Alexander I gave Moreau-Breguet a right to be called "the Watchmaker of his Majesty and the Imperial Navy," and in Paris Breguet and his son were working very hard to complete the orders from Russia, because the number of those orders was rapidly growing.

Work on the Russian orders did not last long, the political situation in Europe was heating up: December 31, 1810 there was issued a decree banning the importation of the French goods and commercial transactions, Moreau-Breguet was forced to leave Russia. However, this did not mean that the Russian customers stopped buying watches, that were made by Abraham-Louise Breguet: in 1810-ies the Emperor Alexander I, and the Russian princes and counts, visiting Paris, always insisted to attend a workshop there and they were all gladly buying the Breguet watches.

Starting from 1797, Abraham-Louise Breguet introduced a new system of selling watches in his shop, showing himself as a far-sighted businessman. He created the sell by subscription: a client was making his payment in advance and then - paying the rest - he was receiving his watch ready. On the enameled dial, usually under the number 12, there was located a very small engraving - an inscription with the name of Breguet and the number of a watch mechanism (for example - Breget № 156).

Until his last day Abraham-Louise Breguet (the great master died at the age of 77) was creating new watches and was working on the design of pocket and wrist watches. For his achievements in the creation of the marine chronometers in 1815, Breguet received the title of "the Royal Master of the naval watches."

His son - Antoine - was working together with Breguet, then the watch production was continued by the heirs of the great watchmaker. Until now, the company, that was created by the Abraham-Louise Breguet is working perfectly and continues to create the unique watches, famous all over the World.

The unique creations of Breguet surely affected many other watchmakers in Switzerland and France. During the life of a great master many watchmakers were using his innovations and accomplishments. There is a large group of watches, marked by the Breguet name, but made by some other watchmakers of France and Switzerland.

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