Marie Antoinette was driven by a truly passionate desire for Breguet watches and had acquired a number of timepieces, including a perpétuel watch embellished with a self-winding device developed by Breguet. In 1783, one of her admirers ordered the most spectacular watch possible as a gift to the queen. The order specified that gold should, wherever possible, be used instead of other metals, and that the complications should be both multiple and varied.
The queen never had the opportunity to admire the timepiece. It was not completed until 1827, 34 years after her death, 44 years after it was ordered and four years after the death of the founder. Breguet No.160, known as the “Marie-Antoinette,” is renowned for its extreme complexity, its roots and its story. More recently, its location was shrouded in mystery—it was stolen from a Jerusalem museum in 1983 and lost for decades (until it was mysteriously returned to the museum in 2007).
In 2005, Nicolas G. Hayek, President and CEO of Montres Breguet, set himself the challenge of reproducing the Marie Antoinette pocket watch identically. Reproducing and designing the Marie Antoinette on the sole basis of documents is against the odds and reveals the talent of the watchmakers at Montres Breguet. Known as the Marie Antoinette pocket watch No.1160, the remake of this mythical timepiece is powered by an original movement and demonstrates that the brand remains, without contradiction, the master of complications.
In as much as in those days Breguet intended to make this watch into a monument to the glory of 18th century horology, the brand has performed a feat of prowess by bringing a legend to life and anchoring it in the 20th century.
Public viewing of the Marie Antoinette No. 1160 will take place at the following venues and dates:
The Breguet Boutique 280 No. Rodeo Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210 P: 310 860 9911 Viewing Dates and Hours: 14 October 2009 (10-2 pm) 15 & 16 October 2009 (10-6 pm)
The Breguet Boutique 779 Madison Avenue New York, NY10065 P: 212 288 4014 Viewing Dates and Hours: 19 October 2009 (2-6 pm) 20 & 21 October 2009 (10-6 pm)