Marie-Antoinette No 1160, Breguet’s Most Famous Watch

. October 12, 2009

It was the watch meant for a Queen. It is the watch that became the Queen of all timepieces.
The story of the watch began in 1783. It was named after Marie-Antoinette, the young Austrian aristocrat who married King of France, Louis XVI and later became the Queen of France and Navarre. Commissioned by one of the Queen’s most fervent admirers, A.L. Breguet was given the task of creating a unique gift for the Queen.

It took 44 years for the watch to come to life. Breguet had created the watch of all watches with a minute-repeater, a full perpetual calendar, an equation of time, a power reserve indicator, a bimetallic thermometer, a large independent seconds hand and a small center seconds hand, a lever escapement, a gold balance spring and a parachute anti-shock device.
The Queen met her demise 34 years before the watch was finally completed in 1827 by A.L. Breguet’s son.
The watch was acquired by the Marquis de Garoye of Paris and changed hands a few times through history until it was bequeathed to the L. A. Meyer Museum in Jerusalem by Sir David Lionel Salomons’ daughter. In 1983, the Marie-Antoinette was stolen from the Museum.
Driven by his passion for Breguet, Nicolas G. Hayek, CEO of Breguet decided in 2005 to commission the Breguet Manufacture located in the Vallee de Joux to reproduce the vanished Marie-Antoinette watch, to be called the No 1160. N. G. Hayek, also Chairman of the Swatch Group went a step further by becoming the major patron of the restoration of the Petit Trianon, Marie-Antoinette’s favorite hidden place when alive.
The whereabouts of the original watch were unknown until November 2007 when it enigmatically reappears in Tel Aviv. Mysterious timing of the destiny of the Marie-Antoinette as the No 1160 was about to be unveiled.
In April 2008, Breguet proudly presented its Marie-Antoinette in a wood box made of oak from the gardens of the Petit Trianon. This incredible watch, usually displayed in the Breguet museum at Place Vendome in Paris, will be showcased for two limited exclusive engagements in the US at the Beverly Hills and New York Breguet Boutiques. This is an unprecedented opportunity for the American public to have a glimpse into watch making and history in the making. The journey of the Marie-Antoinette keeps on writing itself. . .
The Breguet Boutique 280 No. Rodeo Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210 P: 310 860 9911 Viewing Dates and Hours: 13, 15 & 16 October 2009 (10-6 pm) 14 October 2009 (10-2 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)

Category: Antiques News

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