1835 - Count Axel von Fersen

Count Axel von Fersen

In 1835 Count Axel von Fersen, the nephew of Axel von Fersen the younger (1755-1810), who was the closest of companions to Marie-Antoinette, bought a miniature and very slim gold hunting pair-cased and skeletonised keyless watch. Without question the smallest watch with keyless winding and hand-setting produced by any manufacture before the advent of the wristwatch in the late 19th century, it represents an important achievement in the development of the modern wristwatch, and would appear to confirm that the firm of Breguet were the inventors of the combined keyless winding and hand-setting through the crown. Their appearance must have caused a sensation amongst the firm's clientele, since virtually all were sold to his most prestigious customers.