BREGUET ET FILS [ 寶璣] | AN IMPORTANT OVER-SIZED SILVER OPEN-FACED SIX-MINUTE TOURBILLON WATCH WITH PETO'S CROSS DETENT CHRONOMETER ESCAPEMENT, REGULATOR DIAL AND PRESENTATION ENGRAVING FROM SIR THOMAS MAKDOUGALL BRISBANE BART. NO. 2574, CASE NO. 287, 'GARDE-TEMPS À TOURBILLON' SOLD TO LE GÉNÉRAL THOMAS BRISBANE ON 23 FEBRUARY 1816 FOR 2,000 FRANCS [ 罕有特大型銀製六分鐘陀飛輪懷錶備PETO十字制動式擒縱系統精密計時機芯、三針一線錶盤及刻托馬斯・麥克杜格・布里斯班從男爵贈字，編號2574，錶殼編號287，1816年2月23日以2,000法郎售予托馬斯・布里斯班少將]
BREGUET ET FILS
AN IMPORTANT OVER-SIZED SILVER OPEN-FACED SIX-MINUTE TOURBILLON WATCH WITH PETO'S CROSS DETENT CHRONOMETER ESCAPEMENT, REGULATOR DIAL AND PRESENTATION ENGRAVING FROM SIR THOMAS MAKDOUGALL BRISBANE BART.
NO. 2574, CASE NO. 287, 'GARDE-TEMPS À TOURBILLON' SOLD TO LE GÉNÉRAL THOMAS BRISBANE ON 23 FEBRUARY 1816 FOR 2,000 FRANCS
• Movement: gilded ½ plate movement with reverse fusee, gilded tourbillon carriage, Peto cross detent chronometer escapement with cycloidal impulse faces and pointed locking tips to the escape wheel teeth, compensation balance with recessed rims and adjustable gold screws, blued steel spiral spring with terminal curve, 21,600 beats per hour, signed and numbered Breguet et Fils, no.2574
• Dial: silver engine-turned regulator-style, three subsidiary dials with satin finished chapter rings for seconds to the left, minutes to the right and hours below, blued steel hands, the hour and minute hands of moon form, semi-circular satin finished crescent signed Breguet et Fils above laurel branches
• Case: silver case, gold hinges, the back with later presentation inscription from the original owner reading "To Colin Lamont Jr. Esqr. from Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane, Bart, in testimony of his sincere esteem and regard, Greenock, 16th July, 1856", case back with maker's mark AG beneath a star for Ami Gros and Paris silver hallmarks for 1808-19 stamped B 2574, and numbered 287, polished silver cuvette with aperture for winding, engraved Regulateur à Tourbillon, Breguet et Fils, no.2574, Paris control mark for 1793 onwards
Accompanied by Breguet certificate dated 10 February 2020.
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Movement: running at time of cataloguing and visually appears in good aesthetic condition however would probably benefit from a service.
Dial: in good refreshed condition
Case and cuvette have been polished in the past but all engravings remain clear.
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).
Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane
Colin Lamont Jr. Esq
The Seth Atwood Collection, Rockford, Illinois
Sotheby's New York, Fine Watches from the Atwood Collection, 11 December 1986, lot 141
A. G. Randall, The Time Museum Catalogue of Chronometers, 1992, p.107
Time Museum, Rockford Illinois
The importance of Abraham Louis Breguet's contributions to the field of horology cannot be overstated. After building his reputation on refining and perfecting the perpétuelle watch (see lot 28), Breguet went on to invent several innovative escapements, including the tourbillon. Breguet's reputation as an inventor and watchmaker afforded him royal and aristocratic clientele across Europe, including Marie Antoinette, Napoleon and Josephine Bonaparte, Tsar Alexander I, and both King George III and his son, King George IV.
Perhaps one of Breguet’s most iconic inventions is that of the tourbillon. Invented in 1795 and patented in 1801, the tourbillon compensates for the effects of gravity by suspending the escapement in a revolving carriage. Thus its position constantly changes, averaging out the fluctuations in rate caused by gravity and leading to a more precise timepiece. Breguet went on to build tourbillons whose carriages rotated at different speeds, including the one-minute tourbillon, the four-minute tourbillon, and the six-minute tourbillon, as seen here.
While he utilised several types of escapements in his tourbillons, Breguet frequently used the Peto-cross escapement, as found in the present watch. The English maker, James Peto named his cross-detent escapement after himself in 1784 in order to avoid confusion with Thomas Earnshaw’s patented spring detent escapement. While Earnshaw designed his escapement with the impulse device and passing spring on the same side, the Peto-cross escapement puts these elements on opposite sides at an 180 degree angle. The Peto-cross escapement offers an advantage for tourbillons since the detent remains in tension, so it can withstand the strain of locking the escapement.
Lastly, the balance in the present piece rotates at an exceptional rate of 21,600 vibrations per hour. While many comparable pieces at the time normally rotated at 14,000-18,0000 per hour, the higher rate seen here results in a balance less affected by the inherent movement of the watch while being worn, and therefore leads to greater accuracy. While normally this would have meant the use of a stronger mainspring, Breguet avoided this by slowing down the rotation of his tourbillon carriages to four minutes, or six minutes, as seen here.
Breguet sold the present lot to Sir Thomas Makdougall Brisbane (1773-1860) in 1816. Born at Brisbane House in Ayrshire, Scotland, Brisbane joined the army where he served in Flanders, the West indies, the Iberian Peninsula, and North America before eventually becoming the Governor of New South Wales in Australia from 1821 to 1825. During his four year tenure as Governor, Sir Thomas worked to reform the currency and land grants system, and supported freedom of the press. Due to the rapidly expanding population, he sent out exploring parties, one of which discovered Brisbane river, which was named after him. The settlement that grew up around the river, also names Brisbane, is now one of the largest cities in Australia.
Sir Thomas was an avid astronomer throughout his life. Inspired by a near-shipwreck during his time in the army, he took it upon himself to learn navigation and nautical astronomy. He established two observatories in Scotland, as well as the first one ever built in Australia. Upon his return to Scotland in 1825, he established the Makerstoun observatory, where astronomers began making important magnetic observations in 1841. These results gained him the Keith prize from the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 1848. He was elected president to the Royal Society in 1833 and in the following year he acted as president of the British Association. In 1836, he became a baronet, and he went on to found two gold medals for the encouragement of scientific research.