The Art of Complexity: Marie Antoinette No.1160
NEW YORK, Oct. 2 /PRNewswire/ — For the very first time, the Marie Antoinette pocket watch No.1160, Breguet’s most famous creation, will be available for the public’s viewing pleasure in the US.
In 1783, one of Marie Antoinette’s admirers ordered the most spectacular watch possible from A.L. Breguet, incorporating all complications that existed at that time, as a gift to the queen. Unconstrained by limitations of cost or time, Breguet had a free hand.
The queen never had the opportunity to admire the timepiece. It was not completed until 1827, 34 years after her death and 44 years after it was ordered. The “Marie-Antoinette” pocket watch, entered into watch making legend from 1783. Its extreme complexity, its roots and its epic story, have haunted the watch making landscape and the minds of collectors for more than two centuries. Its destiny was once shrouded in mystery – stolen from a Jerusalem museum and lost for decades.
In 2005, Nicolas G. Hayek, President and CEO of Montres Breguet, set himself the challenge of reproducing the Marie Antoinette pocket watch identically. Reproducing and designing such a large number of complications on the sole basis of documents is against the odds and reveals the talent of the watchmakers at Montres Breguet.
Like its predecessor, the Marie Antoinette No. 1160 comprises 823 outstandingly finished components and the following complications: a self-winding watch with minute-repeater, perpetual calendar, equation of time, jumping hours (a Breguet invention), power-reserve indicator and a bimetallic thermometer.
This masterpiece fit for a queen rests in a precious presentation box made from the wood of the oak tree from the Versailles estate. It encloses a lavishly crafted inlay work of more than a thousand pieces of wood depicting the hand of Marie Antoinette holding her rose – a detail inspired by the famous portrait of the queen. The outside of the box reproduces the parquet flooring of the Petit Trianon, the summer palace where Marie Antoinette used to live to escape the official court.
In as much as in those days Breguet intended to make this watch into a monument to the glory of 18th century horology, the brand has performed a feat of prowess by bringing a legend to life and anchoring it in the 20th century.
Public viewing of the Marie Antoinette No. 1160 will take place at the following venues and dates:
The Breguet Boutique 280 No. Rodeo Drive Beverly Hills, CA 90210 P: 310 860 9911 Viewing Dates and Hours: 14 October 2009 (10-2 pm) 15 & 16 October 2009 (10-6 pm) The Breguet Boutique 779 Madison Avenue New York, NY 10065 P: 212 288 4014 Viewing Dates and Hours: 19 October 2009 (2-6 pm) 20 & 21 October 2009 (10-6 pm)
SOURCE Swatch Group