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Luxury timepieces with sophistication
The Pilot Watch Magazine
12 May 2024

Swiss luxury watches with French tradition

Breguet is a Swiss-French luxury watch manufacturer based in L’Abbaye, Switzerland. The company already has a very long history and is considered one of the oldest watch manufacturers in the world still existing today.

Breguet was founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet with the support of his wife Cécile Marie-Louise L’Huillier on the Quai d’Horologerie, right in the heart of Paris. Abraham-Louis, born in 1747 in Neuchâtel on the Rhine in France, had just successfully completed his training as a watchmaker as well as his studies in mathematics when, at the age of 28, he was recognized as a watchmaker in Paris and opened his first own workshop.

Masterpieces of an ingenious inventor

Even during the lifetime of the company’s founder, the Breguet brand achieved fame far beyond the borders of France. Breguet became particularly famous for the invention of the tourbillon in 1801, a device in which the oscillating weight and escapement system of a mechanical watch rotates on its axis, giving the timepiece significantly greater accuracy regardless of its position. Earlier, in 1790, Abraham-Louis Breguet invented a special shock protection device for pocket watches to protect the movement. Further groundbreaking developments followed, such as the construction of the first automatic watch in 1780 and the invention of the wristwatch in 1810.

Wearing a fine Breguet watch gives you the feeling of having the brain of a genius in your pocket.

Sir David Salomons

Breguet through the ages

After the death of Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1823, his nephew Louis-Antoine took over the manufacture under the new company name Breguet Neveu & Cie. Louis-Antoine was the last direct descendant of the Breguet family. In 1870, the history of the family business ends with the takeover of the manufactory by the Englishman Edward Brown, who is now the sole owner.

Pilot watches for the French Air Force

In the 1950s, Breguet made a name for itself in particular by building extremely precise and reliable timepieces for the French Air Force. Nevertheless, the company repeatedly steers through troubled times and loses its radiance and importance over time.

Back on the world stage in new splendor

Later, in 1970, the Breguet brand was acquired by two Parisian jewelers, Jacque and Pierre Chaumet. The two brothers sought to restore the Breguet name to its former glory and continue the success of days long past. But it was not until 1999, with the sale to the Swiss Swatch Group, that the company had the necessary financial and technical resources to bring the Breguet brand back onto the world stage of luxury watches and to position the tradition-steeped fine watch manufacture successfully on the market once again with impressive collections. Today, Breguet’s distinctive timepieces – again including unique pilot’s watches – are created in the Swiss Vallée de Joux, the cradle of haute horologerie.

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