1798 - Napoléon Bonaparte

Napoléon Bonaparte

Napoleon Bonaparte was one of A.-L. Breguet's most famous clients. His interest in the latter's art of measuring time also influenced several close acquaintances and many members of his family.

It was almost certainly through General Leclerc and his own companions in arms Berthier and Dessolle, all three regular clients of Breguet, that General Bonaparte first heard of the establishment on the Quai de l'Horloge.

In April 1798, a month before setting out on his Egyptian campaign, General Bonaparte bought three pieces which were particularly representative of Breguet's output: a repeating watch, 'garde-temps with insulated escapement' n° 38; a travelling calendar and repeating clock n° 178 (the first of its kind); and a perpétuelle repeating watch n° 216. These purchases answered a dual purpose: first and foremost, on his meteoric rise through the ranks of both social and political life, Napoleon sought to possess objects of refinement to stand as symbols of his power and social status; and secondly, for purely practical reasons, he needed to take with him on his campaigns timepieces which were solid and reliable.