Mechanical Watches and Hand-wound Watches Breguet - A Parade of Superb Craftsmanship, a Revolutionary of Watches -

"Breguet"...If you are a watch lover, you have heard the name and cannot help but pay respect to its deep history.

On the other hand, if someone says they are a watch enthusiast but has never heard of Breguet, then frankly speaking, they are a fake.

This is because the brand was started by a great genius who created various mechanisms that are still used in watches today.

Breguet's founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet (January 10, 1747 - September 17, 1823), was born and raised in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, and established a watchmaking workshop on the Île de la Cité in Paris, France, where he spent the majority of his working life.

It is said that the various mechanisms he invented accelerated the history of clocks by 200 years.

It can truly be called the Leonardo da Vinci of the watch world.

For this reason, Breguet is considered one of the world's top five watch makers, along with Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, Audemars Piguet, and A. Lange & Söhne.

After Breguet's death, his son Antoine-Louis Breguet and grandson Louis-Clément Breguet took over the workshop. However, when Louis-Clément achieved success in telecommunications, he decided to focus on the electrical equipment business and in 1870 sold the workshop to Edward Brown, a British watchmaker who had worked in his own workshop.

The Brown family ran the company for three generations, but in 1970, the French jewellery company Chaumet bought the brand, and then the French company PPR bought the company itself. It became independent from Chaumet while under the umbrella of PPR, and in 1987 it was sold to Investcorp, a Saudi Arabian investment company.

As Investcorp had no intention of holding it for the long term, it sold it to Swatch in 1999. As of 2015, it is still part of the Swatch Group.

Breguet became an indispensable watchmaker for the elite of the time, including scientists, military personnel, financiers, and diplomats.

Elected to the Committee of Longitude and appointed chronometer maker to the Navy, he became a member of the Academie Française and even received the Legion of Honor from Louis XVIII.

Breguet is already a legend in the watch industry, but what really cemented its name was the watch ordered by Marie Antoinette, the Queen of France, who was famously executed on the guillotine, known as the Breguet No. 160. This No. 160 is the ultimate watch, equipped with numerous complicated mechanisms. Let's take a closer look at its mechanism.
? Equipped with a perpetual calendar

A perpetual calendar is a permanent calendar. It automatically corrects for long months (months with 31 days), short months (months with 30 days), and two months (including leap years). It's written simply, but it's all done with mechanical gears, so I think you can understand how complex the technology is.

To distinguish between long and short months, a gear would be needed for each month, and each gear would only operate once a year.

Furthermore, there is a leap year. A leap year occurs once every four years, and to correct this, a tooth that moves only once every four years is required. It's a mechanism that is hard to imagine.

Equipped with a minute repeater

A minute repeater is a mechanism that tells the current time by sound. Some modern luxury watches are equipped with minute repeaters, but because they have a more complicated mechanism than a perpetual calendar, they are usually only installed in ultra-luxury watches in the 10 million yen class.

How does it work? It uses a combination of sounds to indicate one hour, one quarter hour, and one minute. It's amazing that it's mechanically engineered like this.

Development of the Tourbillon

Breguet applied for a patent for the tourbillon in 1801. Everything on Earth is subject to the effect of gravity.

The same is true for the heart of a mechanical watch; the escapement and regulator are also subject to gravity, so differences in position can cause subtle deviations.

The solution to this problem was the tourbillon.

If the escapement and regulator are affected by positional differences, then the idea was to place these two mechanisms in a cage and have them constantly rotating to offset the errors caused by positional differences, and this was realized.

Due to the extreme difficulty of making a tourbillon, it is said that even today there are fewer than 20 people in the world who can make a tourbillon. Naturally, a watch equipped with a tourbillon costs more than 10 million yen.

Development of the split-seconds

A chronograph is a watch with a stopwatch function.

The split-seconds hand uses two hands - the chronograph second hand and a separate hand with an independent stop function - to measure lap times from the start of measurement to any desired point.

The above four mechanisms are super-complex mechanisms of mechanical watches, and are called the "four major mechanisms of watches." A watch that is equipped with two or more of these mechanisms is called a "grand complication."
By the way, all four of these major mechanisms were incorporated into Breguet's masterpiece, the Breguet No. 160, which was made over 150 years ago, and we can only take our hats off to the high level of technology involved.

In addition to these four major mechanisms, the Breguet No. 160 also featured other mechanisms that are found in watches that are still priced beyond reach today.

Now, Breguet No. 160 was completed in 1827, 44 years after it was commissioned by Marie Antoinette in 1783.

However, Marie Antoinette, who commissioned the piece, was executed by guillotine during the French Revolution in 1793, and the piece was not completed until 30 years after her death. Breguet himself continued the work after her death, but he died four years before completion, so his successors completed the piece in accordance with his wishes.

He did not abandon his loyalty to the Queen. As a result, neither the person who placed the order nor the person who received it ever saw the completion of Breguet No. 160.

Breguet No. 160 was supposedly kept by the Breguet family, but was lost for a time and then, in the early 20th century, came into the possession of Sir David Salomons, who donated it after his death to the L.A. Mayer Museum of Islamic Art in Jerusalem.

However, in 1983, it was stolen by someone and went missing.

However, it was discovered again on November 11, 2007, and the Breguet No. 160 was certified as genuine by the Breguet Company.

It is now on display at the company's museum. The ownership is still being contested in court. With so much mechanism and history packed into it, it's no longer priceless.

And even before the theft was discovered, Breguet spent four years on a project to create the Breguet No. 1160, a reproduction of the Breguet No. 160. Because it was made before the theft was discovered, it is said to have been made by reproducing documents from that time.
In fact, the year 2015 marks 240 years since Abraham-Louis Breguet established his workshop in Paris in 1775.

At the same time, this year marked many memorable events for Breguet, including the 10th anniversary of the Tradition series and 200 years since it became the supplier to the French Navy. Finally, we will introduce Breguet's representative models.


This series was inspired by the early pocket watch "Subscription" developed by Abraham-Louis Breguet. The dial has a see-through back, so you can enjoy the movement of the mechanism with your eyes.

Other models are reminiscent of past masterpieces, such as one that incorporates the "parachute" shock-resistant device developed by Abraham-Louis Breguet.

Prices start from around 2.9 million yen.


This collection inherits the original Breguet design with blued steel Breguet hands, coin edges, guilloched dials, etc. Prices start from around 1.9 million yen.

Classic Grand Complications

This is the watch from the "Grand Complication" series that I introduced earlier. It is a work of art. It costs more than 15 million yen.


This series is inspired by the spirit of Breguet, which was famous for being the watch exclusively for the French Navy. Prices range from 1.5 million to over 5 million yen.

Type XX

Originally designed for the French Navy Aviation Corps in the 1950s, this chronograph is a special specification that still has the flyback function required for continuous time measurement during flight. Prices start from around 1.1 million yen, which is relatively affordable even among Breguet watches.

Queen of Naples

This collection was inspired by the world's first women's wristwatch, created by Abraham-Louis Breguet for Napoleon's sister, Caroline, who became Queen of Naples. Prices start from around 3.8 million yen.


This model applies a classic design to the shape of a modern watch. Prices start from around 3.5 million yen.
As you can see from the prices, these watches are priced beyond the reach of the average person, with even second-hand Breguet watches starting at around 800,000 yen.

When you hold a Breguet watch in your hand, you can feel the elegance of a completely artistic work, which is completely different from the practical watches such as Rolex. If you have never seen a Breguet watch, why not try one for yourself?