"My brother left his family a gold watch which apart from its intrinsic worth in gold, was endowed with the value of its age. It was bought for one hundred francs by my grandfather Bastien Lafleur in 1804, from Breguet, the greatest watchmaker of the period."
Filibuth ou La Montre en or, 1923
In 1922, Max Jacob, a French writer and poet (1876-1944) who with Apollinaire was one of the masters of modernism in poetry, published an autobiographical novel, Filibuth ou La Montre en or (republished in 1994), in which the central theme - a vehicle for the author's mockery of the folly and malice of his fellow men - revolves around a Breguet watch. In a concierge's room on rue Gabrielle (Jacob's address when he lived in Paris) is reverently preserved a watch bought in 1804 by grandfather Lafleur 'from Breguet, the greatest watchmaker of the period'. Coveted on all sides, the precious object is stolen, passing into the hands of a female singer from the Paris Opera staying in Venice, before coming into the possession of an old dandy. The watch is admired in the salons of Venice, and becomes a focus of interest for the Venetian press. Offered as a gift to a passing actress, who entrusts it to her naval officer brother, the watch is then presented to the Minister Aristide Briand, who proudly shows it to the President of the Republic, Alexandre Millerand. New adventures then carry it off as far as Japan, before bringing it back to Paris and into the hands of Madame Lafleur, concierge of the rue Gabrielle. Still coveted greedily, the watch comes to an ignominious end, crushed under the wheels of a car during a family argument.