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Owen & Robinson’s Guide to Breguet Watches

With inventions like the pare-chute shock protection system and the tourbillon, Breguet revolutionised watchmaking forever when the company was first founded in 1775  – their timepieces representing tradition and cutting edge technology. If you haven’t yet been introduced to the world of Breguet and you consider yourself a connoisseur of fine Swiss timepieces, Breguet watches are certainly a universe you are going to want to explore. Abraham-Louis Breguet became one of the most prolific watchmakers known in the entire history of Swiss watch manufacture. Having developed the first automatic pocket watch and the famous No. 160 – the most complicated watch known to man, his name soon became synonymous with quality and precision of the very highest calibre. Breguet watch company was family-owned until it was passed to watchmaker Edward Brown in 1870 before going through a number of hands, where it is now part of the Swatch Group Company.

Breguet’s intricate watches with double tourbillons feature within timepieces that harken back to the beginnings of the company, but despite now belonging to the Swatch Group, Breguet are still able to take a flexible approach to creating their own designs. Their in-house calibres are one of a kind and their striking designs like the famous Classique have gone down in history. The Reine de Naples collection is known for its lavish and elegant lady’s wristwatches, whilst the Breguet Marine watch collection is a family of robust diving watches, built with powerful engines and drugged case constructions.

Its is safe to say that whether you are looking for the perfect accompaniment for a business suit, a watch to help keep track of everyday life with, a diver’s watch or a gift for a special loved someone – Breguet have thought of every eventuality and every individual style or taste when creating their finely tunes instruments. Breguet’s tourbillons are still used today to improve the accuracy of a movement. It was created to counterbalance deviations caused by gravity. At a time when men wore their pocket watches upside down in their pocket, the addition of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s balance wheel and escapement mounted in a rotating cage compensated for the accelerating and decelerating of the movement within, thus improving its reliability.

Breguet also enhanced the performance of a movement by creating a balance spring with a coil raised and bent in towards the centre. The end of the protruding spring enabled it to breathe concentrically, improving precision. During the time of Breguet’s pivotal role within the Swiss watchmaking industry, balance pivots and delicate ruby cylinders broke easily. The development of a steel strip spring with a free end, suspended these pieces elastically, enabling them to cope with shocks caused by dropping the watch or such like. The theory was demonstrated perfectly by Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord in 1790, when the Parisian watchmaker dropped a pocket watch before an audience to tests its durability. To everyone’s astonishment, the watch survived and had kept perfect time. 

Breguet also became recognised for their “Breguet hands” – a signature design element that still demonstrates authenticity today. The points of the hands are hollowed out to resemble elegant crescent moons.  A. L. Breguet also created his own delicate numbers, predominantly found on dials with an enamelled finish. The company’s engine turns dials in checkerboards, sunbeams and waves decoration have also become a distinct look on a Breguet watch, along with their discreet engraved signature which can be secretly admired in certain lights only.

The Breguet Classique watch collection is a good place to start if you’re looking for a watch that demonstrates the most sophisticated technology housed inside premium quality materials like platinum and gold cases. Its classic wristwatch look makes timekeeping both effortless and stylish at the same time. The Breguet Classique Automatic watch from our collection with a silver dial and black leather strap, for example, will sit nicely underneath the sleeve of a smart shirt in the office. It goes without the addition of a date aperture but comes with a small seconds dial positioned slightly off-centre at 5:30. Blued steel central hands in the iconic Breguet style, along with traditional Roman numerals make this elegant automatic wristwatch the businessman’s best friend.

Without a conventional round case, models from the Heritage watch collection from Breguet can donate something unusual and quirky to the wrist. Even with a distinct curved tonneau-shaped case, Breguet Heritage watches can represent the time in a classic and elegant way. This model showcases a case crafted from Breguet’s finest 18ct rose gold and features stretched Roman numerals that shape to the profile of the case. A small second dial and inner minute ring make this Breguet watch an interesting model to add to any growing collection.

Breguet Marine watches are ready to take to the wrist with a diving-inspired aesthetic, but what makes the collection so special is Breguet’s choice in equipping these timepieces with sumptuous case materials, like this 18ct rose gold Breguet Marine watch. Its 100 meter water resistance enables you to take a shower in the watch without worrying about damaging the delicate 583Q/1 movement inside. Comprising a total of 311 individual hand-assembled components to this engine, its easy to see why Breguet are so renowned for the prestigious manufacture of their in-house developed movements.

The Reine de Naples watch collection by Breguet was named after the first timepiece made for royalty. A. L Breguet designed the bracelet watch for Bonaparte’s sister Caroline, Queen of Naples, which took years in the making. The collection now includes some of the company’s most luxurious, diamond-drenched timepieces with distinct oval-shaped cases and stretched Roman numerals, giving each wristwatch from this collection truly unique look and feel.

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Tradition watches by Breguet , as their namesake suggests, are a tribute to the company’s heritage and their time-honoured manufacturing methods that have brought Breguet so much success so far. Each timepiece from the range is a fusion of the company’s past, together with a vision into their future. The Tradition Automatic openwork watch in 18ct rose gold shows a slice of Breguet’s manufacture through the surface of its dial. A deep silver guilloche textured off-centre main timekeeping dial features blued steel hands and the iconic Roman numeral hour markers. A retrograde seconds dial is located at the unusual spot of 10 o’clock, all housed underneath an anti-reflective sapphire glass lens.

Type XX, XXI and XXII Breguet watches were originally developed for the French Naval Air army, however have been reinvented in a civilian format to appeal to modern-day watch connoisseurs. The timepieces vary from models completed with brown leather straps, robust stainless-steel link bracelets, and 18ct rose gold bezels that surround a trio of chronographs on the dial. If you’re looking for a technical, handsome and rugged-looking tool for the wrist, Breguet XX, XXI and XXII models combine self-winding movements with practical flyback functions, weather-resistant materials and luminous dial elements for wearing every day on the wrist.