In 1775, the reign of Louis XVI just took place and ushers in a new wind over France. The King is favorable to the arts, and Breguet takes advantage of it to start its own business. He is successful up until the beginning of the French Revolution in 1789. The unstable climate in Paris forces him to flee his adopted country, and he returns to Switzerland. When he comes back, Abraham-Louis Breguet sets out to rebuild his business and find a new clientele.
Abraham-Louis Breguet sets up his own business on Quai de l'Horloge, Ile de la Cité in Paris in 1775.
He had just married and moved into an imposing dual-aspect building, which faced out from Quai de l’Horloge on one side and Place Dauphine on the other.
He came into its possession at the end of the Revolution and passed it on to his children. Some of them still live there today.
The House on the Quai, as it is known, is ideally placed in the district of the Ile de la Cité, where the silversmiths, dial-makers, needle and watch-case manufacturers of the time operated, taking full advantage of the Pont-Neuf, the central hub of Paris.
Its interiors feature the flaws of a house built under Henri IV. Nonetheless, it was between these walls that solutions, a style, and a vision that transformed watchmaking forever came to life.
It is said that some homes have a soul. Nothing could be more true of the House on the Quai. Three generations of Breguet watchmakers were followed by inventors fascinated by the use of electricity. The first phone call ever made in France took place between the second and fourth floor, one of many examples of the genius loci that occupies 39 Quai de l’Horloge.
Anonymous drawing. Private collection.