This where the flash should stand...

Montres Breguet opens a new embassy in Zurich

2010.12.09

On December 9th 2010, Montres Breguet is inaugurating a new boutique on one of Zurich’s most prestigious shopping avenues. After Geneva, Paris, Moscow, New York and Shanghai, to mention but a few, the brand is consolidating its worldwide presence by taking its place on the famous Bahnhofstrasse.

The Breguet watch collections are presented in an exclusive new 420m2 three-floor showcase highlighting the brand’s values and expertise within a plush, elegant atmosphere. The ambiance pervading the premises stems from an architectural and aesthetic concept focused on refinement and understatement. The design gives pride of place to the inimitable Breguet attributes, and each and every detail serves to accentuate the beauty of the watches on display. The engraved glass walls are inspired by the art of guilloché-work and their royal blue colour pays tribute to that of the “à tact” watch ordered by Empress Josephine in 1799. The anodised aluminium rods separating the various areas are reminiscent of the finely fluted pattern adorning the cases of Breguet timepieces. The recurrent elliptical motif on the floor and ceiling echo the iconic oval shape of the Reine de Naples watch, the first wristwatch created for Caroline Murat by A.-L. Breguet in 1810.

Breguet Museum

On the upper floor, the Breguet Museum presents the history of a brand that has contributed through its decisive inventions and numerous patents to enriching the Swiss horological heritage and to building its international reputation.

Breguet undoubtedly possesses the finest treasures a Fine Watchmaking brand could ever dream of. Its creations have consistently exercised a powerful fascination on the world’s most eminent figures, and the long list of patrons includes such stellar names as Napoleon Bonaparte, Tsar Alexander the 1st, Winston Churchill, Queen Marie-Antoinette, as well as Louis XVIII and Sergei Rachmaninov. The brand has established itself over the centuries as synonymous with beauty, prestige and elegance.

Perpetuating this legacy, the Breguet museum in the Zurich boutique hosts a collection of historical pieces acquired over the past ten years under the impetus of Nicolas G. Hayek, acquired at auction and stemming from institutions and private collections. After this journey to the past, a more intimate lounge area enables visitors to take time to savour the historical atmosphere of the place by leafing through various books on the brand.

Breguet Manuscripts

The Breguet boutique in Zurich presents a world-first viewing of the A.-L. Breguet manuscripts acquired in May 2010 at an auction in Geneva. Customers and visitors to the boutique will be able to admire original manuscripts and to consult their transcriptions during a temporary exhibition.

Written by the great horologer himself, with the help of one of his associates, these texts doubtless constitute one of the most important testimonies in horological history. Now an integral part of the brand legacy, they are grouped into seven notebooks covering various themes, and which Breguet is considering publishing in due course.

Some ten years before his death, A.-L. Breguet had the idea of writing a horological treatise comprising two main chapters: civilian horology and horology dedicated to science, as a vibrant testimony to the evolution of watchmaking in general and of his own work in particular. It was intended to present all his achievements and innovations, from the simplest to the most complicated, from the subscription watch to the tourbillon mechanism, while also including his research on the escapement, the birth of the first self-winding or automatic watches known as “perpétuelles” along with a few secrets… Unfortunately, when A.-L. Breguet died in 1832, his work was far from completed. The notebooks acquired by the brand this year are probably, according to experts and historians, the only chapters to have reached an advanced state of drafting, almost ready to be published.

Notebook 1: Preliminary observations, the history of Breguet (24 pages)

Notebook 2: One-hand watches and the new repeater function (64 pages)

Notebook 3: Subscriptions and repeater mechanisms (92 pages)

Notebook 4: Perpétuelle watches and their minute repeater (28 pages)

Notebook 5: Equation of time, calendar and tourbillon mechanisms (52 pages)

Notebook 6: Maritime clocks and watches (32 pages)

Notebook 7: Marine chronometers, longitude watches and the Breguet overcoil balance-spring (62 pages)

Breguet workshop tour

The lower floor of the Breguet boutique reveals the talent of the artisans who work within the manufacture to create timepieces in harmony with the finest Swiss traditions. Alongside sophisticated equipment in the vanguard of modern technologies, over 30 hand-crafts representing the time-honoured expertise of the venerable House continue to perpetuate the art of Fine Watchmaking and serve as a vivid reminder that a Breguet watch is and will always be a unique composition stemming from the human mind and hand.

Interactive films on various themes invite visitors to immerse themselves into the secrecy of the Breguet workshops in the Vallée de Joux, where they can wander at leisure and at their own pace using a touch screen.

According to their successive choices, spectators can enjoy from ten minutes to up to one full hour of a truly fascinating show.

During these virtual peregrinations, they can discover the dexterity required by the age-old art of guilloché-work, or hand-engraving on a rose engine; the delicate touch required for enamelling;; the finesse of the bevelling, polishing, circular-graining and chasing operations that endow each component of a Breguet watch – however small and even those that re invisible once the timepiece is assembled – with a unique structure and radiance. Handed down from generation to generation, these virtuoso artistic professions are the guarantee of exceptional fine workmanship.