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Breguet: Royalty in Horology

Breguet has been a favorite among royals, politicians, and artists around the world. With more than 200 years of watchmaking experience under its belt, it’s no wonder that the brand is among the top luxury watches around. Its founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, brought about some of the most game-changing inventions in horology, including the self-winding watch in 1780, the tourbillon in 1801, and the first wristwatch in 1810.

Its various collections feature an amalgamation of both traditional and contemporary accents, as seen in the Breguet Marine collection, a series of Breguet men's watches as well as women’s watches. On the other hand, the Breguet Classique collection is simple, straightforward, but still boasts state-of-the-art features.

How much is a Breguet watch? 

How much should you spend to own a Breguet watch? What are its unique features? Check out the table below for a list of Breguet watches, their prices, sizes, and features. 

ModelPrice (approximate)SizeFeatures
Breguet Classique 5140$18,800 USD40mmWhite gold case, 30m water resistance, self-winding, small seconds, enamel dial, Breguet hands
Breguet Tradition 7097$33,500 USD40mmRose gold or white gold case, 30m water resistance, Breguet hands, self-winding, retrograde small seconds
Breguet Double Tourbillon 5347$616,400 USD44mm18K rose gold case, 30m water resistance, Breguet hands, tourbillon, crocodile leather strap, hand-winding, 
Breguet Type XXI 3817$15,870 USD42mmSteel case, 100m water resistance, self-winding, chronograph, sapphire-crystal caseback
Breguet Marine Équation Marchante 5887$215,000 USD43.9mmRose gold case, 100m water resistance, self-winding, Breguet hands, tourbillon, perpetual calendar
Breguet Marine Chronograph 5527$28,700 USD42.3mmWhite gold case, 100m water resistance, self-winding, chronograph, sapphire caseback, blue leather strap

Breguet 

Classique Double Tourbillon 5345 

$651,000 USD46mmPlatinum case, hand-winding, tourbillon, sapphire caseback, Breguet hands
Breguet Héritage 5410$39,800 USD35mmRose gold case, 30m water resistance, self-winding, Breguet hands, small seconds, luminescent Roman numerals 
Breguet Marine 5839$375,100 USD43mmWhite gold case, 30m water resistance, chronograph, tourbillon, Breguet hands, sapphire caseback
Breguet Classique Hora Mundi$78,900 USD43mmPlatinum case, 30m water resistance, self-winding, Breguet hands, escape-wheel 

Breguet Watch Collections

There are only a few collections of both Breguet men’s watches and women’s watches, but each collection is a result of years of delicate craftsmanship. 

Prices for the Breguet Type XX - XXI - XXII: Legendary Pilot Watches

Watches and timepieces have a long history in aviation, as pilots often use these to check flight times and distances. They also use compasses and pocket watches, but nothing beats the convenience and simplicity of having a wristwatch. During the Second World War, soldiers and pilots used wristwatches to track movements, artillery distance, and flight distance. 

In the ‘50s the French Ministry of Defence commissioned Breguet to create 500 pieces of wristwatches for the Naval Army. The said watches had a flyback chronograph complication with “BREGUET MARINE NATIONALE AERONAUTIQUE NAVALE” engraved on the caseback. Additional requirements for the watches include a 38mm steel case, a black dial, and more than 35 hours of power reserve. This became the precursor for the Breguet Type XX - XXI - XXII collection.

Breguet eventually released a civilian version of the famed Type 20 watches in the 1990s. Modern Type XX - XXI - XXII Breguet men’s watches feature a more contemporary design with a self-winding movement. Additionally, the watches retain the original flyback chronograph complication. 

Starting price for the Type XX - XXI - XXII Breguet watches cost around $7,000 USD. Of course, a vintage Breguet watch will cost twice or thrice the amount of a usual Type XX watch, depending on its condition. With Type XX’s smaller diameter (starting at 39mm), it is a practical yet perfect choice for a pilot watch.

Breguet Marine: A Must-Have for Ocean Explorers

The Breguet Marine collection is distinguishable by its notable crown guards. These water-resistant watches are proof of A.L. Breguet’s expertise when it comes to chronometers and marine exploration.

The collection’s humble beginnings can be traced back to when A.L. Breguet started making marine chronometers. Similar to how today’s GPS works, marine chronometers are an important device that indicates the position of ships at a sea. But it wasn’t until 1815 when he began to produce these on a regular basis after his promotion as a Horologer to the Royal Navy in France. 

In 1817, Breguet published a guide on using marine clocks, with detailed instructions on using his instruments. His guide also included pointers to look out for to make sure that the chronometer works properly. His son and grandson would then continue to create chronometers for both the Royal Navy and the merchant navy with chronometers.

Breguet’s expertise in chronometers would then reflect in the Marine Collection, launched in 1990. Newer models included world time options and chronographs, as seen in the Breguet Marine 5817, priced at $18,000 USD. Its following collections would then adopt a more modern design akin to sports watches. But despite its contemporary appearance, the cheapest Breguet watches and most expensive Breguet watches under the Marine Collection possess the chronometer that A.L. Breguet perfected.

Breguet Tradition: Continuing the Brand’s Legacy

Launched in 2005, the Breguet Tradition collection is an homage to the souscription watches of the 1790s. Also known as a subscription watch, customers would reserve and pay a down payment, usually a fourth of the price in advance. That way, Breguet can create quality watches at an affordable price and at the same time produce large batches to satisfy public demand. These souscription watches have a relatively wide diameter with a large dial and a single hand.

Hundreds of years later, Breguet would introduce a collection that incorporates features of a souscription watch and modern designs. The Breguet Tradition 7027, one of the earlier models of the collection, features a rose gold case, sapphire caseback, and the signature Breguet hands. If you’re thinking about how much is a Breguet watch under the Tradition Collection, you can get the Tradition 7027 for about $27,500 USD. Meanwhile, the Tradition 7097 is priced at $33,500 USD.

For female watch enthusiasts, Breguet also released a line of Tradition watches catered to women. The Breguet Tradition Dame 7038, the first watch under the collection created for women, features a diamond-encrusted bezel and a mother-of-pearl dial. At $39,800 USD, the Tradition Dame 7038 isn’t one of the cheapest Breguet watches in the market, but it is definitely worth purchasing.

Breguet Classique: Timeless Dress Watches

The Breguet Classique collection is a set of great introductory watches for those who want to get an overview of what the brand has to offer. Sleek, timeless, and elegant, the collection captures the essence of Breguet’s 246 years of watchmaking. Watches under the Classique Collection are usually round in shape with soldered lugs, and usually come in gold, rose gold, or platinum cases.

Along with the Classique Collection is the Classique Grandes Complications Collection. While watches under the Classique Collection are simple, those under the Grandes Complications Collection feature more mechanisms. Tourbillons are also common among Grandes Complications watches, so they are not the cheapest Breguet watches around. Aside from wristwatches, the collection also includes pocket watches, one of which is the Breguet Classique Complications 1907 pocket watch. Priced at a staggering amount of $1,000,000 USD, the 18ct yellow gold pocket watch is luxury within the palm of your hand.

Like other men’s watches, the Breguet Classique Collection is also available for women. The Classique Dame 9088 is an elegant wristwatch with white gold or rose gold case. 

Breguet Reine de Naples: Fit for a Queen

One of Breguet’s most famous milestones is the invention of the first wristwatch in 1810, built for Caroline Bonaparte, Queen of Naples. The queen ordered two watches from Breguet: a grand complication carriage watch and a “watch fit for a queen”. The final product is an oblong-shaped watch with an overall simple yet feminine appearance. Years later, this wristwatch would serve as the inspiration for the Reine de Naples collection.

In 2002, Breguet released the Reine de Naples collection, entirely designed and catered for women. Watches under the Reine de Naples are distinguishable by their oval bezel and a small, off-centered dial. Most watches under the collection have diamonds encrusted on their bezel and flange, giving them an elegant touch. Their dials, too, are usually set with diamonds, cameo-carved shells, or other precious stones.

So how much is a Breguet watch under the Reine de Naples Collection? The Reine de Naples Breguet watches cost around $27,300 USD or more depending on the design and features. The Breguet Reine de Naples 8908 is one of the highlights of the collection, with an 18ct white gold case and diamonds set around its bezel and flange. Its price starts at $36,100 USD, definitely not one of the cheapest Breguet watches, but it is regal and fit for royalty. True to its name, the Reine de Naples collection fits the company motto: "In every woman is a queen”.

Breguet High Jewellery Watches: Luxury and Opulence Personified

Like the Reine de Naples Collection, the Breguet High Jewellery Watches are a set of watches fit for a queen. It draws from the tradition of creating pocket watches and timepieces for royalty, such as Queen Victoria, Caroline Bonaparte, Empress Joséphine, and Marie Antoinette. 

The High Jewellery Collection includes magnificent timepieces and wristwatches that echo the opulence of these royal women. Decked in diamonds, rubies, and precious stones, these High Jewellery Watches are one of the best luxury watches for women, not to mention among the most expensive Breguet watches.

The Breguet Perles Impériales watch is said to have been inspired by one of Empress Joséphine’s earlier watches with 23 diamonds surrounding its bezel, along with a stunning Akoya pearl. Its flange is set with 66 diamonds and a briolette diamond set on its crown. So how much is a Breguet watch, particularly this model? The Perles Impériales watch costs $82,060 USD, while a vintage High Jewellery watch would cost twice or thrice its original amount.

Breguet's Milestones and Innovations 

When it comes to horology innovations, Breguet has several remarkable inventions under its belt. In 1783, Breguet invented the Gong-spring which contributed to the development of minute repeaters. The small string had the advantage of reducing the thickness of striking watches. As a result of the invention, other watchmakers followed suit and adopted the use of Gong-springs. Breguet also developed a striking mechanism for the quarter and half-quarter intervals. 

In 1795, A.L. Breguet began developing a mechanism that would be now known as the tourbillon. Patented in June 1801, the tourbillon is a mechanism that helps increase the accuracy of a watch. In the early years since its introduction, only the most expensive Breguet watches had the tourbillon, usually starting at $40,000 USD. Additionally, the more high-end tourbillon watches can command up to six figures.

Other notable milestones from Breguet include the invention of the first wristwatch in 1810. The Breguet No. 2639, commissioned by Queen Caroline Bonaparte, is a thin, oblong-shaped repeating watch with a thermometer. Breguet also created the first perpetual calendar movement for wristwatches in 1929, as seen in the Breguet 2516.

Breguet's Famous Watch Hands

Whether you have a vintage Breguet watch, one of the cheapest Breguet watches, or the most expensive Breguet watches, you would notice the signature Breguet hands. Easily distinguishable by its sleek appearance and hollowed tip, most Breguet watches have this feature.

During the time of its invention in 1783, most watch hands were often short or broad, making it difficult to read the dials. Breguet addressed this by creating a simple watch hand, made of either gold or blued steel. The watch hand was thin and long, with a hollowed circle that resembles a crescent moon near the tip. And despite its simple look, it was practical and functional, making it easier to read the dials. Its unique yet elegant appearance became a success and became known as the iconic “Breguet hands”. 

The term soon entered the watchmaking vocabulary, with other watchmakers creating their own take on the Breguet hands. 

Breguet Iconic Chronographs and Tourbillons

Chronographs are among Breguet’s specialties, as seen in the Breguet Marine and Breguet Type XX collections. While the first chronograph was invented in 1816, Abraham-Louis Breguet developed a more modern and contemporary version of it in 1820. Since then, the mechanism has been adapted to most Breguet watches, most notably the Type XX chronograph. 

It then became one of the brand’s major collections, with its sporty and modern style gaining a devoted following. Other collections also adopted chronographs and Breguet would constantly improve and create developments that would suit the chronograph function.

Aside from chronographs, tourbillons are also a signature feature in most Breguet watches. This Breguet invention aims to correct errors caused by gravity. This small yet meaningful invention became one of horology’s best discoveries. Because of its intricacy, most watches with tourbillons are priced higher than others and were considered exclusive. 

From 1805 to 1823, only 35 pieces of the tourbillon were produced and sold. Abraham-Louis Breguet’s pupils and successors would then develop and further improve this mechanism and incorporate it in other collections. 

History of Breguet

Breguet’s history dates back to 1775 when it was founded by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Armed with 10 years of watchmaking studies under Jean-Antoine Lépine and Ferdinand Berthoud, AL Breguet opened his shop at Quai de l'Horloge in Paris. Through his connections during his apprenticeship, his business flourished, eventually making its way to the French court. Some of his famous patrons back then included King Louis XVI and his wife, Marie Antoinette, who purchased several of his watches.

Breguet’s watchmaking business became successful, and in 1807, he took in his son, Louis-Antoine, as a business partner. His son would eventually take over the business after Abraham-Louis’ death in 1823. After Louis-Antoine’s retirement, he passed on his father’s watchmaking legacy to his son, Louis Clément Francois. The last member of the Breguet family to run the business was Abraham-Louis' great-grandson. After that, Breguet was run by Edward Brown, an Englishman who was originally hired to manage the Paris factory.

From 1870 to 1970, the Brown family owned the watchmaking company, but would then give up ownership during the quartz crisis. In 1999, the Swiss Swatch Group acquired the company along with other horology giants like Blancpain, Omega, and Tissot. Because of its previous legacy, Breguet watches cost over tens of thousands of dollars and more. A vintage Breguet watch would then cost around $30,000 USD or more depending on the type and year it was made.

Famous Patrons of Breguet

Breguet men’s watches are a staple among several historical figures, celebrities, and even politicians. Here’s a list of some of the famous owners and patrons of a timeless or vintage Breguet watch. 

Napoléon Bonaparte

Napoléon Bonaparte, before becoming the Emperor of France, was already a client of Abraham-Louis Breguet. During the latter half of the 18th century, then-French Army general Napoléon purchased three different timepieces from Breguet. He was also said to have owned a Breguet pocket watch, which he used at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. Not all of these Breguet timepieces survived, however, a golden repeating clock — the first of its kind — survived, and is now at the Swiss National Museum. The clock has gilded Doric columns along with a moon phase indicator that helped the French Emperor during his military pursuits. 

Marie Antoinette

As one of the most notoriously lavish royals, Marie Antoinette became a fan of Breguet’s intricate yet stylish timepieces. She owned several of Breguet watches and recommended the watchmaker to her guests, diplomatic envoys, and fellow noblemen. In 1783, Hans Axel von Fersen, an admirer of the Queen, commissioned Abraham-Louis Breguet to create the most spectacular watch befitting for the queen. Unfortunately, Marie Antoinette never got to see the finished watch, as it was completed 34 years after her death. Today, the Marie Antoinette watch, a golden pocket watch containing a chronograph, perpetual calendar, and a thermometer, is kept at the Museum for Islamic Art in Jerusalem.

Queen Victoria

Over the years, Breguet became a household watchmaker for politicians, wealthy artists, and members of the royal family. One of the popular patrons of the brand was Queen Victoria. She ascended to the throne in June 1838 and not too long after, she purchased a Breguet watch. Historians claim the watch to be a “very small and simple watch”, which was unlikely for a Queen, much less a member of the European royalty. Years later, her great-grandson Edward VIII became an owner of several Breguet men’s watches.

Vladimir Putin

On the more modern patrons of the brand, Russian president Vladimir Putin has also been spotted wearing different luxury watches. In some of his appearances, he sports a Breguet Marine priced at around $15,000 USD. Aside from his expensive watch collection, Putin is also famous for giving these watches away as gifts. He spontaneously takes off the watches from his own wrist and hands them over, much to everyone’s surprise. 

Cristiano Ronaldo

Although Breguet is famous for its affiliation with kings and queens, athletes are also frequent clients of the Swiss brand. Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the biggest names in football, is a huge fan of luxury watches, often seen wearing luxury watches from Rolex, TAG Heuer, and Breguet. The football star also owns one of the most expensive Breguet watches, a Breguet Double Tourbillon 5349 priced at a whopping $850,000 USD. The watch boasts twin rotating tourbillons, a diamond-encrusted caseband, and a sapphire caseback.

Breguet Watches: The Royal Timepiece You Deserve

With its long-standing history with royals, politicians, and artists, Breguet is simply one of the best and most trusted luxury watchmakers. Its cutting-edge innovations like the Breguet hands and tourbillon put it at the forefront of the brands that changed the horology industry. From a vintage Breguet watch to the most expensive Breguet watches, these timepieces are a testament to its more than 200 years of watchmaking experience.

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