Bonham's Fine Clocks auction puts the spotlight on Breguet's historic timepieces
Eight rare Breguet Carriage Clocks are holding court at the London auction
A Fine Clocks auction on 11 December will put the spotlight on eight rare and historically important Breguet Carriage Clocks. The auction, hosted at Bonham's Auction House, London, features eight Breguet lots from a private collection referenced to as the "the greatest collection anywhere in the world".
The lots holding court include carriage clocks owned by historic customers including royal names such as Grand Duke Alexis of Russia. The Francois de Bourbon, King of Naples Breguet was the second carriage clock ever made by the company, and was first sold to Francis I, King of the Two Sicilies, in 1804. The Italian royal was nephew to the last king of France, Louis XVI, and Marie Antoinette.
Interestingly, the first Breguet-made carriage clock was owned by Napoléon Bonaparte – who became Emperor of France after the revolution that ousted Louis XVI from power. The Francois de Bourbon clock is expected to sell for between £300,000-£400,000.
“Breguet was one of the greatest horologists of all time. He pushed the boundaries of the possible, inventing mechanical phenomenon that worked to perfection, something rarely seen before," says James Stratton, director of Bonhams Clock Department. "The pieces offered are important examples with exceptional provenance. These clocks – like all those that followed – became an integral part of the owner’s life.'
The collection has been carefully curated and showcases the Carriage Clocks inventions made by watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet. These include innovations such as the perpetual calendar mechanism, phases and ages of the moon, alarm, grande sonnerie striking, petite sonnerie striking, quarter and half-quarter repeating and equation of time.
The lots include the Baron de Blome Breguet, an early 19th century French ormolu astronomic, grande and petite sonnerie striking carriage clock with perpetual calendar. Sold to Baron de Blome on the 29 January 1811 for 2,000 Francs, its estimated sale values is £300,000-400,000.
Estimated at between £200,000-£300,000, the Gerugross Breguet is a small and rare French astronomic, quarter-repeating ormolu carriage clock timepiece with moonphase and four calendar indications, which comes in its original box with original hand-setting and winding key.
In astonishing condition, six of the clocks have their original travelling cases, and all have certificates issued by Breguet confirming their original sale and historic provenance.