1809 - Alexandre 1st, Tsar of Russia

Alexandre 1st, Tsar of Russia

Dismayed as Breguet and his son were by the brutal loss of their Russian market, they were to find unexpected consolation in the spring of 1814. On April 2nd, a mysterious visitor to the premises on the Quai de l'Horloge proved to be none other than the Tsar of All the Russias, travelling incognito and accompanied only by a manservant.

The ledgers confirm that on that day, the tsar bought a repeating watch and one other. According to family tradition, Breguet received his illustrious visitor in his small first-floor office, where the two men enjoyed a long discussion about watchmaking before sharing a modest meal. This memorable encounter provided the opportunity for the tsar to place an order for a series of 'pedometers' – metronomes for regulating military marching times – of which he was to receive eight between 1820 and 1822. In response to the impetus given by the tsar, Russian sales, which had fallen to nothing in 1813, quickly picked up again.