Important Modern & Vintage Timepieces...

Geneva, Nov 10, 2019

LOT 229


CHF 10,000 - 15,000

HKD 80,000 - 120,000 / USD 10,000 - 15,000

Sold: CHF 16,250

Silver, open-face, key-winding, round-shaped, «Empire» with pink gold rims, large «souscription» type pocket watch, with a unique pointerhand. With Breguet secret signature bellow 12h00, back plate signed by Lucard. Sold to Mister Dupont the 24 February 1817, for the sum of FF 580.

Grading System
Grade: AAA


Case: 3


Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3-6-01


Slightly oxidized

HANDS Original

Brand Breguet & Fils

Model Montre de souscription

Year circa 1817

Movement No. 2959

Calibre  25’’’, “Souscription”-calibre, gilded brass, with central going barrel wound from the front only, overhanging ruby-set cylinder escapement, monometallic balance (gilded brass) and blued steel flat hairspring, index regulator with temperature compensating bimetallic curb fitted to the index regulator, top pivot with parachute

Case No. 503

Diameter 62 mm

Signature Dial, Case and Movement

Accessories Original silver Breguet key and silver chain


‘’Souscription’’ The concept was both simple and brilliant: to offer his clients a watch that was ordered in advance and delivered upon completion. In silver, with the gold rims being the only decoration, the “souscription” watches were of a large diameter allowing the enamel dial to be divided in such a way that both hours and minutes could be read from a single hand. The movements had a single plate, the spring barrel mounted in the centre and the wheels elegantly positioned and retained by bridges. The single hand was driven directly off the barrel arbour, eliminating the motion work and the intendant friction, and the ruby cylinder escapement was fitted with a parachute (shock protector) and a compensation curb to assist in correcting temperature errors; features that were the norm for all of Breguet’s first class watches. To further reduce the selling price, Breguet decided to produce these watches in small series (between 12 and 20 examples at a time), with the buyers paying an account of 25% in advance and the balance on completion. Hence the term “de souscription” (by subscription). The success of these watches enabled Breguet to both re-establish his business, which had understandably been badly affected by the French Revolution and his exile, and to finance much of his research into other areas of horology. For a note on the history and development of Breguet’s “Souscription” watches see the catalogue: Antiquorum, Geneva, auction, October 14-15, 2006, pp. 32-33.