Born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, in 1747, Abraham-Louis Breguet left home in 1762 to perfect his training as a watchmaker in Versailles and Paris. At the age of just 15, his predisposition for the profession would soon allow him to meet some of the greatest watchmakers of the time. In 1775, the young watchmaker settled at Ile de la Cité in Paris. The district was then a center of craftsmanship, bustling with dial-makers, goldsmiths, and manufacturers of hands and cases plying their trades. He found an impressive house in the vicinity, facing out from Quai de l’Horloge on one side and Place Dauphine on the other. It was to become his lifelong home.
It was between these walls that the young prodigy would bring to life some of the most important inventions of watchmaking: gong springs for repeating watches in 1783; the pare-chute shock protector in 1790; the Breguet balance spring in 1795; and – above all – the tourbillon, patented in 1801. It was here in the “House on the Quai” that Abraham-Louis Breguet introduced guilloché work to watchmaking for the first time in 1786 – a technique that would prove integral to the signature Breguet style, which is also characterized by the famous open-tipped Breguet hands.
Although 39 Quai de l’Horloge in Paris still exists, the Breguet Manufacture is now located in the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland. Breguet is the epitome of excellence in watchmaking, and makes up part of the very fabric of European cultural heritage. More so than ever, the House is dedicated to continuing and renewing the fabulous heritage of its founder.