Breguet is a french manufacturer of luxury watches, founded by Abraham-Louis Breguet in Paris in 1775. Currently part of The Swatch Group, its timepieces are now (since 1976) produced in the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland. Breguet is one of the oldest surviving watch-making establishments and is the pioneer of numerous watch-making technologies, the most notable being the tourbillon, invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Breguet has recently introduced a line of writing instruments as a tribute to writers who mention or feature Breguet watches in their works. Breguet watches are often easily recognized for their coin-edge cases, guilloché dials and blue pomme hands (often now referred to as 'Breguet hands').
Breguet was founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet. His first known address was at 51 Quai de l'Horloge on the Île de la Cité in Paris. Thanks to his marriage to the daughter of a prosperous French bourgeois, her dowry provided the backing which allowed him to open his own workshop. The connections Breguet had made with scholarly people during his apprenticeship as a watchmaker and as a student of mathematics soon paid off. Following his introduction to the court, Queen Marie Antoinette grew fascinated by Breguet's unique self-winding watch; Louis XVI bought several of his watches and legend has it that Marie Antoinette commissioned the watch that was to contain every watch function known at that time - Breguet's masterpiece, the Marie Antoinette (No. 160).
The business grew from strength to strength, and around 1807 he took on his son Louis Antoine as his partner, and the firm then became known as Breguet et Fils. After Abraham-Louis Breguet died in 1823 the firm carried on under his son Louis-Antoine. After Louis-Antoine retired in 1833 (he died in 1858) the business continued under Abraham-Louis' grandson Louis Clément Francois (1984-1883). Abraham-Louis' great-grandson Louis Antoine (1851-1882) was the last of the Breguet family to run the business. Although he had two sons and a daughter, they did not enter the business, so Breguet took on noted English watchmaker Edward Brown of Clerkenwell to look after the Paris factory. Brown eventually became a partner and, after Breguet's death, the owner and head of the company. When Brown died in 1895 the firm was taken over by his sons Edward and Henry. On Edward's retirement in the early 1900s, Henry Brown became the head of the firm.
A Breguet squelette watch with tourbillon