Breguet. Souscription No. 41A set of watches comprising a very fine platinum minute repeating wristwatch with perpetual calendar and phases of the moon en suite with a very fine platinum "Perpetuelle" self winding pocket watch with date, phases of the moon and power reserve indication

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Lot 185
Breguet. Souscription No. 41
A set of watches comprising a very fine platinum minute repeating wristwatch with perpetual calendar and phases of the moon en suite with a very fine platinum "Perpetuelle" self winding pocket watch with date, phases of the moon and power reserve indication

US$ 150,000 - 200,000
£ 110,000 - 150,000
Breguet. Souscription No. 41
A set of watches comprising a very fine platinum minute repeating wristwatch with perpetual calendar and phases of the moon en suite with a very fine platinum "Perpetuelle" self winding pocket watch with date, phases of the moon and power reserve indication
Wristwatch:

30-jewel Cal. 567 position adjusted lever movement with shock resistant suspension to monometallic balance, overcoiled spring with micrometer swan's neck regulator, repeating on gongs by means of slide on case band, guilloché silver dial with polished roman chapter ring enclosing subsidiary dials for months incorporating leap year indication, day and date, secret signature at VI o'clock below aperture for age and aspect of the moon, blued steel Breguet hands, within a doubly glazed case with reeded band, maker's leather strap with platinum buckle, signed and numbered on case, dial and movement.

Pocket Watch:

Finely gilded keyless lever movement with shaped train and barrel bridges, 28 jewels, straight line escapement with monometallic balance in Breguet's "parachute" shock resistant suspension, Breguet-style balance spring with micrometer regulator, self winding by means of an oscillating platinum weight fitted with an anti-friction roller and pivoted on a serpentine arm serving as a spring suspension, further paired banking springs, wound and set by means of a flattened crown on the pendant, guilloché silver dial with polished minute track and roman chapter ring with secret signature at XII o'clock, subsidiary seconds ring enclosing shaped date aperture, 45-hour winding indicator opposite aperture for age and aspect of the moon, blued steel Breguet hands, the doubly glazed case with molded bezel and reeded band signed and numbered on case, dial and movement.

Accompanied by a partly ebonized burl wood display case and winder in the form of an Empire bureau à cylindre containing a fitted accessory drawer for magnifier, screw driver, setting pin and platinum watch chain. 37 mm diam. and 62 mm diam.

Footnotes

  • Introduced in 1989 in homage to the superbly talented watch maker Abraham-Louis Breguet (1847 – 1823), the current Souscription Set of watches is nothing less than a compendium of his innovations. It is fitting that even during his lifetime, the hallmark of a fine watch became the signature "élève de Breguet."

    Until the time of Breguet, watches were made in much the same way as they had been when they first appeared in the 16th century. Movements consisted of a thick sandwich of wheels between two brass plates joined by decorative pillars. Breguet transformed the fat pillar and plate watch into a slim and elegant precision timepiece that evolved into the modern mechanical watch.

    Both watches in the set employ a version of his "calibre à ponts" whereby the watch train was positioned and pivoted on individual bridges rather that between two solid plates, thinning the watch and giving more flexibility to its design. In these thinner movements the archaic verge and crown wheel was replaced by a horizontal escapement that evolved into the detached lever used in virtually all modern watches.

    Breguet increased the accuracy of watches with features still in use today.

    Breguet improved the isochronism of balance springs with the "terminal curve" or "overcoil". This is alluded to in countless pocket watches as "spiral Breguet."

    He devised a bi metallic "compensation curb" to reduce temperature error. This was supplanted first by a bi metallic balance that worked on the same principle and ultimately by the modern monometallic alloy balance.

    To minimize damage from shocks, he introduced a "parachute" suspension that allowed the balance wheel to slip from its pivot rather than break its staff. The Perpetuelle in this set has a parachute that Breguet would have recognized as his own.

    The wristwatch in the set owes much to Breguet's compact repeating mechanism which saves under dial space. In so doing, this design made feasible complicated calendar + chronograph + repeating watches.

    He invented the tourbillon to remove position error from escapements. It is still a desirable feature in today's luxury watches. (e. g. lot 87, the Roger Dubuis tourbillon)

    With the introduction of the of the original Souscription, (an example is lot 46 in this sale) a fine watch made to order in small batches, Breguet began the transformation of watch making from a cottage industry to the precision mechanized industry it became in the mid 19th century.

    Others pioneered the self winding watch, but Breguet employed it frequently. The oscillating weight as a means to wind a watch could still be found in watches made in the mid 20th century, for example, lot 107 in this sale.

    However, it is his designs for the dial, case and hands that are instantly recognizable and mark a break with the past. His dials, whose design is displayed in the current example, have a timeless elegance as current today as it was when introduced over two centuries ago. (e.g. lot 62 in this sale)
Contacts
Breguet. Souscription No. 41A set of watches comprising a very fine platinum minute repeating wristwatch with perpetual calendar and phases of the moon en suite with a very fine platinum "Perpetuelle" self winding pocket watch with date, phases of the moon and power reserve indication
Breguet. Souscription No. 41A set of watches comprising a very fine platinum minute repeating wristwatch with perpetual calendar and phases of the moon en suite with a very fine platinum "Perpetuelle" self winding pocket watch with date, phases of the moon and power reserve indication
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