BREGUET [ 寶璣] | AN EXCEPTIONAL AND VERY RARE GOLD SELF-WINDING QUARTER REPEATING WATCH WITH MOON PHASES, DAY OF THE WEEK AND POWER RESERVE NO. 60, 'PÉRPETUELLE' SOLD TO MONSIEUR JOHNSTON ON 5 JANUARY 1796 FOR 3,120 FRANCS [ 極罕有黃金自動上鏈二問懷錶備月相、星期及動力儲存顯示，編號60，1796年1月5日以3,120法郎售出]
This lot has been withdrawn
AN EXCEPTIONAL AND VERY RARE GOLD SELF-WINDING QUARTER REPEATING WATCH WITH MOON PHASES, DAY OF THE WEEK AND POWER RESERVE
NO. 60, 'PÉRPETUELLE' SOLD TO MONSIEUR JOHNSTON ON 5 JANUARY 1796 FOR 3,120 FRANCS
• Movement: lever escapement, helical spring with terminal curves and regulator, later compensation balance, double parachute suspension, two going barrels wound by a large platinum weight, double signed to the rim Breguet no. 60, faite par Breguet pr. Cn W Johnston
• Dial: silver engine-turned dial replaced by Breguet in 1905, punched B60 to the reverse, satin finished chapter ring with black Roman numerals, similarly finished outer ring for minutes, radially engine turned sector for power reserve, subsidiary seconds with aperture for day, aperture and sector for moon age and phases, the aperture's frame decorated with scrolling clouds, all hands blued steel, signed and numbered Breguet No. 60
• Case: gold with engine turned back and band, case back centred with a polished vacant circular cartouche
Accompanied by a Breguet certificate giving the date in the French Revolutionary calendar of 15 Nivose an 4 (15 January 1796), the certificate dated 18 February 2020. The Breguet certificate notes that the dial was replaced in the Breguet workshops in 1905.
To view shipping calculator, please click here
Movement not running at time of cataloguing. Repeating is operational.
Dial and case in bright and clean refreshed condition.
The lot is sold in the condition it is in at the time of sale. The online condition report is provided to assist you with assessing the condition of the lot and is for guidance purposes only. The images of the lot also form part of the online condition report for the lot provided by Sotheby's. Any reference to condition in the online condition report does not amount to a full description of condition. The online condition report may make reference to particular imperfections of the lot but you should note that the lot may have other faults not expressly referred to in the online condition report of the lot or shown in the online images of the lot (for example, the online condition report 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. The online condition report may not refer to all faults, restoration, alteration or adaptation because Sotheby's is not a professional conservator or restorer but rather the online condition report is a statement of subjective, qualified opinion genuinely held by Sotheby's (for example, information regarding colour, clarity and weight of gemstones are statements of opinion only and not statements of fact by Sotheby's). Please also note that we do not guarantee the authenticity of any individual component parts, such as wheels, hands, crowns, crystals, screws, bracelets and wrist bands, since subsequent repairs and restoration work may have resulted in the replacement of original parts. In addition, certain images of the lot provided online may not accurately reflect the actual condition of the lot (for example, the online images may represent colours and shades which are different to the lot's actual colour and shades). For these reasons, the online condition report is not an alternative to taking your own professional advice regarding the condition of the lot. Prospective buyers should also refer to the Buying at Auction guide which includes important notices concerning the type of property in this sale. 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. Please be advised that wristbands 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. NOTWITHSTANDING THIS ONLINE CONDITION REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF BUSINESS (ONLINE ONLY).
Cn. W. Johnston
Edward Hornby, London
Sotheby's London, The Edward Hornby Collection, 1 December 1978, lot 80
E. Mannheimer, purchased from the above auction
George Daniels, The Art of Breguet, Sotheby's, 1975, p. 156, figs. 100a-b
“Breguet did not invent the perpetuelle but he certainly did perfect it.” - George Daniels, The Art of Breguet, 1975, p. 63.
Debate has raged over the origins of the self-winding watch with Abraham-Louis Perrelet and Hubert Sarton variously credited with its invention during the 1770s. Breguet was quick to recognize the importance of the self-winding or as he called it, the ‘perpetuelle’ watch. George Daniels noted in his book The Art of Breguet that Breguet’s “acute perception for mechanics and commercial instinct for business combined to make it clear to him that the perpetuelle was the key to fame. He saw clearly the requirements of a successful perpetuelle…In his writings he declares that by 1780 Marie Antoinette and the Duc d’Orléans were already in possession of such watches.” [see op. cit. 1975, p.63-64]
Early self-winding watches were criticised for their inability to stay efficiently wound in normal use and were often seen as requiring considerable and prolonged motion by the wearer in order to charge enough power to the watch’s mainspring. Breguet’s solution was in part achieved by incorporating two mainsprings, these were wound together by a heavy platinum weight pivoted at the edge of the movement. His banking springs, which were placed at each end of the pendulum-form weight’s arc of motion, had particularly flexible ends which helped to maximise the weight’s motion. George Daniels’ examination of Breguet’s perpetuelle system revealed that:
"about a mile of gentle walking will fully wind the watch and this is borne out in practice…The buffer springs…for the weight…have thin flexible ends to help the oscillations and with their aid a brisk walk of less than half a mile will also fully wind the mainsprings” The Art of Breguet, p.344.
The present watch was the final lot in the famous collection belonging to Edward Hornby which was sold at auction by Sotheby's in London on 1 December 1978. With a pre-sale estimate of £20,000-25,000, the watch achieved a hammer price of £57,000, the highest figure achieved by any piece in the auction.