Named one of the five most complicated watches ever made, Breguet's Marie-Antoinette is a sight to behold for anyone that considers themselves a fan of complex timepiece movements. And now, for the first time since its completion, the reproduction of the 160 Marie-Antoinette, the 1160 Marie-Antoinette, will be displayed for the American public to view.
The original watch, now known as the Marie-Antoinette, was commissioned in 1783 by one of Queen Marie Antoinette's most ardent admirers, who requested A. L. Breguet make a unique gift for her, complete with every complication that was known at the time.
After 44 years of painstaking, meticulous hand-craftsmanship, the watch was finally completed by A. L. Breguet's son. It was the watch of all watches, containing a minute-repeater, a full perpetual calendar, an equation of time, 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.
But 34 years before the watch was finished, the Queen died and never saw the finished masterpiece. Fitting a watch of its stature and incomparable complexity, the watch changed hands a few times throughout history before reaching the L. A. Meyer Museum in Jerusalem.
In 1983, the watch was stolen from the museum. For over 20 years, it was thought that the unparalleled timepiece would never be seen again, until Nicolas Hayek, CEO of Breguet, decided to commission the reproduction of the masterpiece in 2005.
The original timepiece enigmatically reappeared in 2007 in Tel Aviv, just before the 1160 Marie-Antoinette was revealed in April 2008. The 1160 was presented in a wood box made of oak from the prestigious gardens of the Petit Trianon, one of Queen Marie Antoinette's favorite hidden places when she was alive.
Seen at Baselworld last year, the 1160 Marie-Antoinette stood as an immaculate representation of the original. The Breguet Manufacture, located in the Vallee de Joux, had only original drawings and archived documents from the Breguet Museum and other institutions at their disposal to complete the formidable task, making the final product that much more amazing.
Usually displayed in the Breguet museum at Place Vendome in Paris, the watch will make the trip to the United States to be featured at two limited and highly exclusive engagements in Beverly Hills and New York.
In Beverly Hills, you will have the chance to view the impeccably constructed masterpiece on October 13th, 15th and 16th from 10-6pm, and on the 14th from 10-2pm at the Rodeo Drive Boutique. In New York, the Breguet Boutique on Madison Avenue will be displaying the timepiece on October 19th from 2-6pm and on the 20th and 21st from 10-6pm.
For JustLuxe Kate Prihoda