Brand Directory: Breguet
Breguet was founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, a Swiss watchmaker in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He spent ten years training under Ferdinand Berthoud and Jean-Antoine Lépine before setting up his own watchmaking business at 51 Quai de l'Horloge on the Île de la Cité in Paris.
Breguet networked during his apprenticeship as a watchmaker where he was introduced to the court, Queen Marie Antoinette showed a growing fascination with Breguet's unique self-winding watch; Louis XVI bought several of his watches at this time. In 1783 the Swedish count Axel von Fersen, who was the queen's friend and an apparent lover, commissioned Breguet to create a watch that was to contain every watch complication known at that time as an incredible gift to Marie Antoinette. Breguet's masterpiece is the Marie-Antoinette pocket watch (Breguet No.160).
In 1807 Breguet's son Louis-Antoine was made his partner, renaming the firm "Breguet et Fils" (Breguet and Sons).
Abraham-Louis's great-grandson Louis Antoine (1851–1882) was the last of the Breguet family to run the business. With none of his children wanting to run the business, the Breguet company hired an English watchmaker Edward Brown of Clerkenwell to manage their Paris factory. Clerkenwell was the hub of watchmaking at that time and is one of the reasons we chose to have an office in Clerkenwell due to its historical place in watchmaking.
Brown soon became a partner and, after Breguet's grandson's death, he took ownership of the company. When Brown died in 1895 the firm was left to his sons, Edward and Henry
For 100 years from 1870 to 1970, Breguet was owned by the Brown family. But sadly the ownership changed hands several times during the “quartz crisis” in the 1970s and 1980s. In 1976, Breguet's owner Chaumet closed its French factory and their production facilities moved to the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland.
In 1987, Breguet was bought by Investcorp which created the Groupe Horologer Breguet (GHB) in 1991. The Breguet Group is made up of four subsidiaries: Montres Breguet SA, Breguet SA, Valdar SA and Nouvelle Lemania SA (which the Group bought in 1992). Due to these changes, Breguet-brand watches are made at the Nouvelle Lemania factory in Switzerland. Montres Breguet SA is the main company that sells timepieces under the brand name "Breguet", and Breguet SA is the name of Breguet Group's distribution company in France.
In 1999, the Swatch Group bought Groupe Horologer Breguet from Investcorp