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Breguet et Fils
'SOUSCRIPTION' WATCH NO. 3660 SILVER AND GOLD OPEN-FACED WATCH ORIGINALLY SOLD JANUARY 31, 1823 
Dial: white enamel, blued steel single hand, secret signature and number below 12, Arabic numerals and five minute divisions, signed beneath 6 Breguet et Fils 
Movement:
 gilt ruby cylinder, central going barrel, gilt three-arm balance with parachute suspension and compensation curb
Movement number: 3660
Case: engine-turned silver case 'á grains d'orge' with gold rims, case stamped JLJ for the case maker Jean-Louis Joly.
Case number: 3'660'322
Dimensions: 61.5 mm
Signed: dial and movement
Accessories: key
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Catalogue Note

According to the Archive of Breguet, this watch was originally sold on January 31st, 1823 to Mrs. Daniloff for the price of 611 francs.

Around 1794, during Abraham Louis Breguet’s exile in Switzerland, Breguet 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 to ensure that their movement could be serviced anywhere, even by inexperienced watchmakers. To reduce costs, the dial was divided to make it easier to read the time to the nearest minute, using a single hand powered by a spring barrel placed at the center of the movement. Such watches, in Breguet’s eyes, had the advantage of being produced in small series.

To finance the equipment used and due to the desire to focus on research, Breguet 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 upon production by Breguet and full payment by the client. A production in series of 10 to 13 watches at a time was set up. Those in a silver case were sold for 600 francs, with the gold cases going for 800 francs. In order to prevent these watches of relatively simple design from being forged, Breguet invented a secret signature which was only visible in a raking light. The signature was created through the use of a pantograph, especially designed for this purpose. 

With special thanks to Mr Emmanuel Breguet for the archival information.

Important Watches

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Geneva