Abraham-Louis Breguet in Paris established this luxury watchmaking company in 1775. One of the oldest in the timepiece business, Breguet pioneered several technologies that have proven to be crucial in the world of timepieces. One of them is the tourbillon escapement, which Breguet invented. The company also produced the first wristwatch in 1810. It is now owned by Swatch.
Breguet watches are easily recognizable by its coin-edge cases and the Breguet hands made of guilloche dials and blue pomme hands. The inventions and innovativeness have led observers to dub him as the “father of watchmaking.”
And he has created a number of great watches. Here is a list of the top 10 most expensive Breguet watches.
1. Breguet Grande Complication Marie-Antoinette Number 160 – at least $10 million
Yes, $10 million for a reproduction watch. The original watch was intended for Marie-Antoinette. However, the events of the French Revolution overtook the turnover of the watch. As a matter of fact, Breguet finished it 34 years after Antoinette’s death. It got handed down to her descendants however before finally finding a place at a museum in Jerusalem. It got stolen in 1983. After Swatch bought Breguet in 1999, the company set out to have the Marie-Antoinette. He started reproducing the watch in 2005 and completed it in 2008, or 31 years faster than the original. The self-winding watch has a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, equation of time, jumping hour, reserve indicator and bimetallic thermometer. It has 823 unique pieces and a double parachute anti-shock device. Called “The Queen,” the box alone came from Royal Oak Tree of Versailles and cost $100, 000. While the watch is not for sale, Breguet has received several offers of at least $10 million.
2. Breguet Duc d’ Orleans Sympathique – $6.8 million
This is an 1835 French clock that was sold in a Sotheby’s auction. It is made of gold and red tortoise shell and it strikes every quarter. It stands just below two feet and an integrated cradle on the clock’s pediment regulates the watch. There are actually about 12 Sympathiques known to exist and European royalty in Spain, Russia, France and England owned these. This, however, is the only Sympathique known to wind.
3. Breguet Antique Number 2667 – $4.24 million
This antique Breguet was created in 1814. It was actually sold in a Christie’s auction along with another Breguet antique (see number four). Antique number 2667 is a pocket watch made out of yellow gold that weighs 18 carats. The watch has a couple of movements based on the chronometer. This watch is extremely rare and was borne out of Breguet’s desire to test the effect of two oscillating bodies on each other. He wanted to make sure that if they are in close proximity to each other, each one could actually influence the other body.
4. Breguet Grande Complication Antique Number 4111 – $2.56 million
This is the second piece of a two-watch combination that was sold in a Christie’s auction (see number three). It is a thin flat equation of time and repeater watch that was created around the chronometer principle. This Grande Complication features an annual calendar and a manual perpetual calendar. It also shows both mean and apparent solar time. As the watch is extremely thin, Breguet had to do some rework in its balance wheel to ensure that it would still function properly and accurately. Even in 1827, Breguet was already showcasing his ingenuity when it comes to the technical aspects of making timepieces.
5. Breguet Grande Complication Classique Number 5349 – $755,000
The Grande Complication Classique Number 5349 possesses three patents in order to protect its superior precision and technological mastery. The watch has more than 570 unique parts in it. It has twin rotating tourbillons and a platinum case that is lined with baguette-cut diamonds. Even the dial is paved with diamonds as well.
6. Breguet Pocket Watch – $734,000
This pocket watch is inside a case made of yellow gold that weighs 18 carats. It has a two-way rotating crown and features a hand-engraved movement.
7. Breguet Grande Complication Tourbillon Manual Wind Watch – $734,000
This watch has a round platinum case and measures 50 millimeters in diameter. It has a transparent case back and a black crocodile leather strap. The face has a silver engine-turned dial paved with 310 diamonds that weighs around 1.62 carats. The numbers are in black Roman numerals. It has blue steel Breguet hands. The bezel, case band and lugs are paved with 107 baguette-cut diamonds that weighs 30.3 carats. The sapphire crystal is resistant to scratch. The watch is also water resistant up to a distance of 30 meters.
8. Breguet Hora Mundi – $633,000
It is probably the first watch in the world to display two time zones at the same time. This Hora Mundi was actually sold to an avid collector of watches. It has a case that is encrusted by diamonds that weigh more than 20 carats. The dial also displays the map of the European continent set in sapphires and diamonds.
9. Breguet Reine de Naples Ladies Watch – $374,100
This is a ladies watch with an oval case made of white gold that weighs 18 carats. It measures 38.5 millimeters in width, 30.45 millimeters in height and 10.05 millimeters in thickness. The case back is transparent and the bracelet is paved with 320 diamonds that weigh around 14.05 carats. The bezel and case band are also paved with 76 diamonds that weigh around 6.06 carats. The silver engine-turned dial with chapter ring is a bit off-centered and paved with an additional 42 diamonds that weigh 2.77 carats. The watch also has hour markers made of natural mother-of-pearl and a pear-cut diamond at 6 o’clock. It has a 40-hour power reserve and is water-resistant up to 15 meters.
10. Breguet Double Tourbillon – $329,000
The platinum case is made of 95 percent pure platinum. The watch winds manually and the hands do not have any springs. An image of the solar system has been hand-engraved into the watch.