Exceptional Horological Works of Art

Geneva, Oct 19, 2002

LOT 146

Montre Perpetuelle Breguet, No 195, montre perpetuelle, started An 5, sold on December 4, 1807 to General Jean Pierre Doumerc for 6000 Francs. Extremely important and rare, 18K gold, astronomical minute-repeating self-winding perpetuelle with 60-hour power reserve, date and phases of the moon, in a Morocco fitted box. Accompanied by a certificate.

CHF 1 - 1

EUR 1 - 1

Sold: CHF 1,048,500

C. Two-body, "collier" form, the whole engine-turned in grains d?orge pattern with polished circle on the back cover, repeater locking lever on the band at the pendant. D. Silver, radial Roman numerals, outer minute dot track, sunk subsidiary seconds, up-and-down indicator at 10 o?clock, symmetrically to the right aperture for the phases of the moon with a sector for its age on the edge, sunk date aperture above 6 o?clock concentric with subsidiary seconds. Mounted to gilt brass à bate levée ring. Blued steel Breguet hands. M. 47.20 mm. (21???), gilt brass 3/4 plate, two going barrels, tandem winding with wolf-tooth winding gears, five-wheel train, straight line lever escapement, three-arm steel and brass jeweled and capped compensation balance lamina segments terminated with a small bracket for platinum temperature screws, three small mean time screws, blued steel flat balance spring, lift mostly on the pallets, no draw, oil retention slots in escape wheel teeth, single steel trapezoidal roller table working between two upright gold pins mounted at the end of the fork, long fork with banking over the escape wheel arbor with U-shaped end, convex entry pallet, concave exit pallet to equalize both lifts, early form parachute on both pivots. Half-ogival platinum weight swinging between two spring-loaded sapphire rollers mounted to the case with a stop mechanism triggered when fully wound, Breguet-type repeating mechanism with all-or-nothing and fixed star wheel, repeating with two hammers on a short gong fixed to the case by depressing the pendant, tone adjustment screw in the bate levée ring. Signed "Breguet" with the serial number on the dial ring and on the dial. Diam. 56 mm.

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Grading System
Case: 3


Movement: 3*


Overhaul recommended, at buyer's expense

Dial: 3 - 01


This is one of the reputed early perpetuelles for which Breguet became famous. It is described and illustrated in "The Art of Breguet" by George Daniels, fig. 113. Breguet never claimed to be the inventor of the perpetuelle (the name he gave to his self-winding watches), the earliest having been produced in Switzerland around 1770 by Abraham Louis Perrelet. These first examples were unsuccessful due to the inadequacy of the winding system, which required the wearer to virtually proceed at a run in order to keep the movement sufficiently wound. Breguet?s design was revolutionary by comparison, and incorporated several new "inventions" that were far ahead of their time: two barrels to enable lighter mainsprings to be used, a carefully balanced "weight" reacting to the slightest movement, and an additional train wheel to provide a going-period of up to 60 hours. The result was a watch that could be used by somebody leading a relatively inactive life, needing only a short time to recharge itself sufficiently to continue working, and which could be left unattended for more than two days. The majority of Breguet?s perpetuelle watches, even from the first series, were constructed on the principle of the garde-temps, with the main pivots jeweled, a detached escapement, and the balance with temperature compensation and elastic suspension (shock protection) on both pivots. Furthermore, they were fitted with a quarter-, or even minute-repeating mechanism, a power reserve indicator, and in some cases a phases of the moon dial. Most of these innovations were unknown in France at the time, and until the invention of the wristwatch were considered the ultimate refinements able to be incorporated in an automatic watch. It is therefore little wonder that the introduction of such a watch brought much fame to its creator, with the majority being purchased by the most notable people of the day. Perpetuelles were among the most sought-after Breguets and cost an average of 4000 Francs, a very large amount for a watch at the time. This one was sold for 6000 Francs ! Count Jean-Pierre Doumerc (1767-1847) French general, born in 1767, died in 1847. A volunteer in 1791, he served in the cavalry and in 1804 he became "colonel de cuirassiers". He served brilliantly at Austerlitz and in the Prussian campaign, and was promoted "general de division" on Nov. 30, 1811. He took part in the Russian campaign and distinguished himself by his bravery at Beresina (1812), Presle (1813), and at Vauchamp (1814). During the first Restoration of the monarchy, he was made liutenant-general and inspector of the 9th, 10th and 11th divisions. Having served during the 100 days, however, he was not called to duty during the second restoration.