Lot 32
  • 32

BREGUET ET FILS | YELLOW GOLD MONTRE À 1 AIGUILLE WATCH ORIGINALLY SOLD TO PRINCE DEMIDOF OF RUSSIA NO. 3027CIRCA 1815

Estimate
12,000 - 18,000 GBP
Sold
17,500 GBP
bidding is closed

Description

  • Breguet et Fils
  • YELLOW GOLD MONTRE À 1 AIGUILLE WATCH ORIGINALLY SOLD TO PRINCE DEMIDOF OF RUSSIA NO. 3027CIRCA 1815
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 curbMovement number: 3027Case: yellow gold case and bow by Jean Louis Joly and with Harris gold marks, applied engraved cyrillic monogram and Russian noble crown Case number: 3027Dimensions: 62mm diameterSigned: case, dial and movementAccessories: fitted associated red box and copy of the Extract from the Archives  

Literature

Also see, ‘Breguet, watchmakers since 1776’, Emmanuel Breguet and Edited by Emmanuel Ducamp, Pages 209-215, chapter entitled, 'Breguet’s international network’

Catalogue Note

According to the Extract from the Archives produced in 1993, this watch was originally sold in 1817 to Monsieur Demidof, although the entry in the ledger is likely to have just said Demidof.Breguet worked hard to expand his business in foreign markets. He was well aware of the commercial opportunities in the vast and powerful empire of Russia and from the turn of the 19th century had started selling more significantly to Russian clients, helped initially by the General Hedouville, the French ambassador to St Petersberg, his recruitment of Lazare Moreau, and eventually with the opening of his doomed Russian salon, 'Maison de Russie' in 1808.

Initially Breguet enjoyed great commercial success with the flamboyant salesman Moreau and a large bulk of the timepieces sold by Breguet that year were to Russian clients. However, despite the outwardly successful appearance of Moreau and the Russian firm, it quickly became clear that Moreau was less than upfront about his accounts, and embarrassingly was reprimanded by Breguet on numerous occasions.

By 1810, relations between Napoleon and the Russian Tsar had entirely fragmented and French goods were prohibited from even entering Russia. Moreau liquidated  whatever business he had and abandoned Russia for France, leaving all Breguet's equipment and ledgers behind. Despite this, thanks in part to his reputation and his diplomatic contacts, Breguet's business recovered.

Interestingly, it has been found in these Russian ledgers that the Demidov family were one of the first and most prominent clients of Breguet in Russia, even from its very scandalous beginnings, and they remained so for many years. Prince Demidof, a well-known Francophile and Passionate patron of the arts, bought no fewer than 16 watches from Breguet between 1817 and 1821, so it is very probable that this was one of his first purchases. in fact, we know that on 2nd November 1830, he bought the Breguet Sympathique No.430, together with its companion watch No. 2787, for a combined price of 31,160 francs. The clock and watch had taken twenty-three years to complete and was one of Breguet's most expensive pieces he made.

Interestingly, this watch might also once have been described as a 'Souscription watch' but instead is described as a 'Montre a 1 Aguille.' The term 'Souscription' refers to the fact that part payment was required in advance. This system was used by Breguet to refinance his business after his return from Switzerland. Possibly, by 1817 he was successful enough not to need to ask for a deposit so subsequent watches were referred to simply as having one hand. In any case, the wealthy Prince Demidof would certainly not have needed to pay an advance to secure his watch.

 

 

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