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Wednesday, April 25, 2:00 p.m. (New York, NY USA)
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LOT 153
A Monsieur le Comte Jourgniac St. Méard Extremely important and rare gold self-winding watch with "à toc" quarter-repeating, constructed on the principles of the "garde-temps", with phases and age of the moon, and winding indicator. "Perpétuelle" watch No. 5, was started on 4 April, 1787, but production stopped during the Revolution, and started again in 1792. Finally finished, it was sold on 24 Ventose an 2 (14 March 1794), for the sum of 3600 Francs.

C. 20K, two-body, by Mermillod, No. 74. "guilloché" à grains d'orge. D. "guilloché" silver, by Tavernier, signed: "Breguet", with Roman numerals on a plain reserve, auxiliary dial for the seconds with sector for the up-and-down scale calibrated for 60 hours, aperture for the phases of the moon, the age engraved on the edge. Blued-steel "Breguet" hands. Dial plate in gilt metal, signed: "Breguet, No.5". M. gilt brass, 19.5''', full plate caliber, relieved for the escapement, two going-barrels, slf-winding with an oscillating ogival platinum weight, pivoted on the edge of the back plate and -locked automatically by a rising pawl when fully wound, or at-will by a small lever in the edge of the dial plate, the banking springs attached to the interior of the case. Five-wheel train with an intermediate wheel to enable a 60 hour going period. Straight line lever escapement, the fork with vertical pins. Bimetallic four-arm compensation balance, the timing weights threaded onto the ends in themanner of Arnold, and conventional adjusting screws, with pare-chutes on both pivots. Blued-steel helical balance spring with terminal curves and regulator adjusted by a rack and micrometer through the edge of the dial plate. Dumb repeating with a single hammer, by pull-twist piston in the pendant.Diam. 54 mm.

Grading System

 C         3         D         3 - 01         M         3         [ Antiquorum exceptional rated ] 
Estimate: US$.: 0 - 0 (Actual: US$600,000)
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[ A.-L. Breguet pocket watch with moonphase and power reserve indicator ]
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History: This watch was subsequently delivered by Jourgniac St. Méard to a Count Fortier. According to the repair books it returned for overhaul in 1844 and 1845 at the request of a Monsieur Beauman of 18 Boulevard des Italiens. The repair entry notes that the watch had not been returned since the day of sale in 1794. Provenance: Formerly in the Rothschild collection, this watch is illustrated and described in G. Daniels: The Art of Breguet, p. 130, fig.74 a, b, and c, and color plate X.Note:Breguet, himself, never claimed to be the inventor of the perpetuelle (the name he gave to his self-winding watches), the earliest being produced in Switzerland by Abraham Louis Perrelet in approximately 1770. These first examples were unsuccessful due to the inadequacy of the winding system, which virtually required the wearer to 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 main springs 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 could be left unattended for more than two days. The majority of his perpetuelle watches, even from theirst series, were constructed on the principles 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 state of winding indicator, and in some cases a phase of the moon dial. Most of these innovations were unknown in France at the time, and until the invention of the wristwatch were consideredto be 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. Upon his return from Switzerland in 1795, Breguet introduced his overhanging ruby escapement, which allowed him to produce watches of supreme thinness and elegance at a reasonable cost and in larger numbers; a considerable help to the re-establishment of his business. By contrast, the perpetuelle was more expensive to make, taking up to two years to complete, and after finishing the initial series, he made no more until approximately 1815. (Refer to the glossary of The Art of Breguet for further details.
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03 April 2006CE (2006-04-03 ISO 8601)
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