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In the early 1990s I believe, Breguet released the ref. 3130 watch (36mm wide) with a dial meant to honor the No. 5 pocket watch that was produced for over a decade. You have to give the No. 5 a lot of credit because the dial layout is still a beautifully classic design. What is so impressive about it is the visual balance. While the dial is not symmetrical, the elements work together in a beautiful harmony which paved the way for balanced, yet asymmetrical watch dials. This same look helps identify Breguet watches today.

It was Nicolas Hayek senior (now deceased) who put so much attention into Breguet. He purchased the brand in the early 2000s under the Swatch Group, and it was a personal mission of his to recreate the majesty of what the brand once was. No one doubts that for Hayek, Breguet was at the absolute top of the prestige ladder of Breguet brands. Like an historian, Hayek was purchasing historic objects related to Breguet, and was intent on unraveling as many of Abraham-Louis’ secrets as possible.

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After work was done on the replica watch collection based on the No. 5 pocket watch, Breguet set out on their most challenging horological effort yet – to reproduce the famed Marie Antoinette pocket watch that was completed in 1827. Though it took Breguet 34 years to finish the watch, after both Breguet himself and Marie Antoinette had died. Unlike the No. 5, Breguet didn’t have the original Marie Antoinette pocket watch to work from – merely some drawings and pictures, as well as descriptions. Further, the Marie Antoinette pocket watch was much more complicated. When it was made, it was supposed to be the most complicated watch every made – and it was.

The story of the Breguet Marie Antoinette is probably best served for another time. The story is not at all finished given the watch’s recent history, and I personally have some interesting tidbits to add to the tale. Suffice it to say that Breguet actually did succeed in producing a replica of the Marie Antoinette with the ref. 1160 in 2008. Ironically, just months after it was announced, the original Marine Antoinette pocket watch popped up. Again, a story for another day…

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The final Breguet pocket watch I photographed here is probably the only one you can buy. It is the 1907BA, and is a modern pocket watch inspired by historic Breguet pieces, but not a direct facsimile of any of them. 56mm wide, the Breguet 1907BA is probably the most expensive modern pocket watch available for sale, and it feels it. The beautiful case is guilloche machine engraved in traditional Breguet style, and it features a regulator style display with a tourbillon movement in accordance with the tradition of the tourbillon. The movement also features a grande sonnerie, with the large hammers seen through the dial.

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Unfortunately I didn’t get to experience the sound of the gongs, but I am sure it was impressive. This beautiful piece is extremely limited in production, but it isn’t strictly a limited edition. For collectors, this is extremely interesting, and what is best, it is an actual way you can acquire a modern piece of an authentically historic brand. Price for the Breguet 1907BA pocket watch is close to $900,000. Now, all I feel is a strong desire to see more of the historic pieces.

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