This very rare 200-year old Breguet quarter repeater is offered for the first time at auction as it was kept within a noble family over many generations. Accompanying this watch is an exquisite handwritten invoice from the year 1818, confirming the manufacturing specifics and the date of sale to the original owner Comte Alfred de Montesquiou for 2'700 Francs. In very nice condition the watch still retains well-defined engine turning to the back and its repeating mechanism is chiming nicely in phase.
A hidden miniature portrait can be discovered on the back of the cuvette. It is of exceptional quality displaying beautiful and consistent colours. The piece of art is crafted on a thin plate of ivory, signed by the artist 'Jacques' and dated 1819. The young attractive lady adorned with jewellery and a pearl-set tiara is Countess Alfred de Montesquiou-Fézensac, born Madeleine Perron. She was the daughter of General Pierre Cuillier-Perron (1754-1834), soldier of fortune in India (Perron jumped ship from the French Royal Navy off the Malabar coast in 1780, whence he made his way to upper India, enlisting first in the Rana of Gohads troops, and then under de Boigne, who appointed him to the command of his second brigade). Upon de Boigne's retirement, Perron became commander-in-chief of Maratha General Mahadji Sindhias’ army, defeating the Rajput forces at the battle of Malpura in 1800. In 1803, Perron defected to the British and subsequently returned to France with a large fortune, dying in 1834 at his Château du Fresne in the Loire Valley.
Comte Alfred de Montesquiou, who originally ordered the watch from Bréguet in 1818, passed it down the family. When Comte François de Brantes married Aymone, Princesse de Faucigny-Lucinge et Coligny (and great-granddaughter of the last king of France, Charles X), the watch was her wedding gift.
Bidders need to be aware that this watch cannot be shipped to France or the United States due to the presence of ivory. For every other location outside of Switzerland, it is the responsibility of the buyer to organize and apply for a CITES license, if permitted by the respective local laws, in order for us to ship it.