Lot 329
  • 329


18,000 - 22,000 CHF
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  • diameter 61.5 mm
• gilt movement, ruby cylinder escapement, steel escape wheel, regulator with compensation curb • white enamel dial, Arabic numerals, five minute divisions, early cursive signature above 6, blued steel single hand • gold bezels and bow, engine-turned silver case back • case, dial and movement signed, case numbered B 353 and 408 and stamped Ami Gros, hallmarks from the period


Overall this rare piece retains its original patina, movement in working condition, dial in good condition and case with normal signs of wear due to its aging. Overall this is to be considered as a rare example of a souscriptionfrom the revolutionnary period in France.
"In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. All dimensions in catalogue descriptions are approximate. Condition reports may not specify mechanical replacements or imperfections to the movement, case, dial, pendulum, separate base(s) or dome. Watches in water-resistant cases have been opened to examine movements but no warranties are made that the watches are currently water-resistant. Please note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and leather bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective, qualified opinion. Prospective buyers should also refer to any Important Notices regarding this sale, which are printed in the Sale Catalogue. In particular, please note it is the purchaser's responsibility to comply with any applicable import and export matters, particularly in relation to lots incorporating materials from endangered species.NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS PRINTED IN THE SALE CATALOGUE."

**Please be advised that bands made of materials derived from endangered or otherwise protected species (i.e. alligator and crocodile) are not sold with the watches and are for display purposes only. We reserve the right to remove these bands prior to shipping.

Important Notice regarding importation into the United States of Rolex watches
Sotheby's cannot arrange for the delivery of Rolex watches to the United States because U.S. laws restricts the import of Rolex watches. The buyer or a designated agent may collect the property in the country of sale."

Catalogue Note

It is around 1794, during Abraham Louis Breguet’s exile in Switzerland, when he had the idea of creating watches for an affordable price using the same escapement as the more sophisticated watches for civil use, with a parachute in between the two pivots from the balance and a bimetallic compensation curve on the racket. As stated in the advertisement notice, published on the occasion of its launch, the size of these watches was to be designed in such a way that all components were accessible and individually removable so that their movement could be serviced everywhere, even by inexperienced watchmakers. To reduce costs, the dial was divided so that it was easy to read the time to the nearest minute, using a single hand powered by a spring barrel which was placed at the center of the movement. Such watches, in Breguet’s eyes, had especially the advantage of being produced in small series. To finance the equipment used, purchases of supplies and the desire to focus on research while ensuring the company's regular income, Breguet then had the idea to market these watches by subscription, or Souscription in French. Subscribers would pay half the price that had been agreed at the time of the order and the watches would then be delivered as and when they were produced, and on receipt of payment. A production in series of 10-13 watches at a time was set up. In general, they were sold at 600 francs in a silver case or 800 francs in a gold box. Furthermore, in order to prevent these watches which were of a relatively simple design from being forged, Breguet invented a secret signature which was only visible in a raking light. This secret signature was created through the use of a pantograph which was especially designed for such a purpose. Souscription watches were produced in various sizes, the smallest being qualified as a medallion.