Breguet No. 160 generated two of the greatest mysteries in watchmaking: who ordered it, and who stole it? Commissioned by an unknown admirer of Marie-Antoinette in 1783 as a gift for the queen, it was not completed until 1827, 34 years after her death. In 1983 it was stolen from a Jerusalem museum in a daring heist. In 2005, Nicolas G. Hayek, President and CEO of Montres Breguet, commissioned the manufacture to exactly recreate No. 160. The result was No. 1160 – a treasure in its own right, and it’s coming to the USA.
No. 1160 (pictured below) was created by the watchmakers and artisans of Montres Breguet using drawings and photographs of the original, and great pains were taken to make the recreation as authentic as possible, down to using tools and materials common in A. L. Breguet’s day. Breguet No. 1160 will be on display and available for public viewing on these dates at these locations:
|October 14 (10-2 pm)
October 15 & 16 (10-6 pm)
The Breguet Boutique
280 North Rodeo Drive
Beverly Hills, CA 90210
Telephone: (310) 860-9911
|October 19 (2-6 pm)
October 20 & 21 (10-6 pm)
The Breguet Boutique
779 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10065
Telephone: (212) 288-4014
The self-winding “perpétuel” movement of No. 1160 is comprised of 823 components. The baseplates and bridges, the smallest gear-wheels in the trains for the underdial work, the dates and the repeater are fashioned in pink gold polished with wood. The screws are in polished blued steel; the points of friction, holes and bearings, set with sapphires. The smallest details have been finished by hand. The movement is fitted with a particular type of natural-lift escapement, a helical balance-spring in gold and a bimetallic balance-wheel. The anti-shock device – a double pare chute – another Breguet invention – protects the balance staff and the shafts of the winding weights.
This master timepiece is presented in a lavish box made of more than 3,500 pieces sculpted from the wood of Marie-Antoinette’s favorite oak tree at the Versailles Estate. (The aged tree was slated for removal. Montres Breguet obtained pieces of the tree to create the presentation box.) The outer box encases a lavishly crafted inlay work of more than a thousand pieces of wood depicting the hand of Marie-Antoinette holding her rose – a detail inspired by the famous portrait of the queen (image below). The outside of the box faithfully reproduces the parquet flooring of the Petit Trianon, Marie-Antoinette’s retreat at Versailles.
You can read more about the Marie-Antoinette at the official Breguet web site.
You may click this link read about the recent exhibition “Breguet at the Louvre”.