The watchmaking House definitively leaves the hands of the Breguet family in 1870, a couple of months before the Franco-German war and the fall of the Second French Empire. This political instability has a direct effect on the Parisian business and Breguet is disheartened to observe sales falling. We have to wait until 1900-1914 and the Belle Epoque to reverse this downturn and to see again an evolution of the demand.
The dashboard chronographs produced during the interwar years demonstrate the highly diverse range of activities carried out by the watch Manufacture. Brilliant car manufacturer Ettore Bugatti, who was a faithful friend of the House, placed his order at the beginning of the 1930s. He wanted to fit his luxurious “Royale” cars with a chronograph featuring a tachymeter function, intended to be placed in the middle of the steering wheel. Breguet responded to his request by offering a range of timepieces that incorporated all the expertise acquired by the House since its foundation in 1775.
The dashboard chronograph No. 2023, which was originally sold to Bugatti in 1932, belongs to a series of nine car timepieces that Breguet designed specifically for the brand. Its chrome-plated metal case measures 67 mm in diameter and houses a complication carefully chosen for the automotive industry: a tachymeter scale. Its cream dial, which bears the words “Spécial pour Bugatti”, features the famous blued-steel Breguet hands that were designed in 1783. Chronograph No. 2023 also has a cumulative minutes counter visible in an aperture at 6 o’clock. The timepiece is powered by a mechanical movement with a power reserve of eight days, which is wound using a crown located at 6 o’clock.