THE ART OF BREGUET
Geneva, Hotel Des Bergues, Apr 14, 1991
A Monsieur Von Humboldt
"Garde-temps" No. 147, sold in 1805 ,for the
sum of 960 Francs.
Silver "garde-temps" watch.
Case: Three body, polished, of collier form, by
Tavernier, No. 470. Gilt brass cuvette signed: "
Breguet, No. 147".
Dial: White enamel, by Borel, regulator type,
signed: "Breguet", and "No. 15", small eccentric
hour ring with Breguet numerals, subsidiary
seconds below and concentric outer minute ring.
Blued-steel Breguet hands.
Movement: Gilt brass, 24"', the barrel retained by a bridge signed: "Breguet, No. 147", with inverted
fusee and maintaining power, Arnold type spring
detent escapement with bimetallic compensaiton
balance, gold adjusting screws with parachute on
both pivots. Free sprung, the helical balance
spring with terminal curves.
In very good condition.
Diam. 61 mm.
CHF 250,000 - 300,000
Sold: CHF 281,250
History: According to the repair books, the watch was returned by Baron von Humboldt for
overhaul on 11 April 1827.
Note: The enamel dial of this watch is numbered
15 in the same way that watch No. 3248 (see lot
65) bears the No. 6; and they were in fact made
for a series of garde-temps before Breguet left for
Switzerland. As virtually all the watches were
finished well after his return, the movements
bear much higher numbers. During Breguet's
lifetime, the firm made very few watches destined
for entirely functional use as pocket
chronometers or deck watches, unlike the
contemporary english and french makers, such
as Arnold, Earnshaw, Berthoud and Motel, who
made little else. The records indicate that von
Humboldt bought at least three of which two are
included here, the third being in the Beyer
Museum in Zurich.
Literature: Illustrated and described in G.
Daniels, The Art of Breguet , p. 160, figs. 108 a - d.
Baron ALEXANDER von HUMBOLDT
Baron Friedrich, Heinrich, Alexander von Humboldt, Prussian natural scientist, was born in 1769 in
Berlin and died in 1859. He was the brother of Wilhelm von Humboldt, the German diplomat and
learned philologist and philosopher of language.
He was a great traveller, explored America with Bonpland (Journey to the Equinoxial Regions of the
New Continent between 1799 and 1804). His second home was France. He came to Paris in 1805 and
was elected as an Associate Member of the Académie des Sciences. Among his friends were most of the
city's eminent scholars : Achille Valenciennes, Arago, Guy-Lussac, Cuvier and Latreille. His sovereign
however, asked him to return to Berlin in 1827, where he then took on the post of Private Counsellor
and subsequently had to recognise the new King who had emerged from the July revolution. He
undertook his second voyage to Asia on behalf of the Czar Nicolas I of Russia, the resulting book,
Fragments of Geology and Asiatic Climatology, 1832, contributing towards the advances being made in
climatology, oceanography and geology.
He also wrote the famous Kosmos ou Description physique du Monde in which he summed up the entire
human knowledge about Heaven and Earth. Alexander von Humboldt is considered one of the most
important scientists of his time. Most of his experiments and expeditions were accomplished with
clocks and timepieces which had been specially designed for him by Breguet.