A historian by training, specialized in the life and work of Abraham-Louis Breguet, he is the 7th generation direct descendent of the man universally considered to be the greatest watchmaker of all time and the author of the book “Breguet, Watchmaker Since 1775”. On his recent visit to Australia, we were lucky enough to score an interview with Emmanuel Breguet himself. (Breguet fans… You’re gonna love this)
Excerpts from the interview…
We would love to know a little more about you…
I am Emmanuel Breguet, the direct descendant of Abraham-Louis Breguet, the founder of the company. Atrained historian, I started working for Breguet in 1993. My main role is to promote the historical patrimony of Breguet. I have also written books on Breguet in the past, namely a biography on the founder and I discovered many interesting things and continue to discover new things about the Breguet House, almost every day.
One of the things I discovered was that Breguet created the first wristwatch for one of Napoleon’s sistersand it was completely forgotten because as you know, like with many inventions, if occurring early in time, facts can be forgotten or left undiscovered for years.
Abraham-Louis Breguet had made the first wristwatch for the Queen of Naples and then the son of Breguet went on to make 5-6 wristwatches 10 years later… But it was forgotten. The actual use of the wristwatch was only established one century later. It was very important to discover that Breguet made the first wristwatch. The other invention I discovered was that the son of Breguet, Antoine-Louis Breguet, invented the winding crown in 1830. We have some documents in the archive to prove this. Breguet’s son did not patent the invention and 10-12 years later it was patented by someone else.
How have you seen Breguet evolve over the years?
When I started with Breguet in 1993, it was managed, not by the Swatch Group but a financial company from the Middle East. It was different and quite a small company. At that time, many of the watch brands were managed by bigger companies. I have seen so many changes. We did not have a presence in the Russian market, nor the Chinese market and the main markets were in Europe, US and Japan and today we have the opportunity and appreciation for our brand in China, Australia, Russia and many other countries.
Breguet enthusiasts in Australia.
I receive so many emails and letters to authenticate some watches with a Breguet signature, but the question is, is it a genuine antique Breguet or not? In the past a lot of things were made very early, even during the French revolution and the very beginning of the 19th century and because of this it can get very challenging sometimes.
There are some very knowledgeable collectors here in Australia. I occasionally receive letters from Australia and I do know of a historian of watchmaking who wrote about self-winding watches – who was Australian… The history of watchmaking is greatly appreciated here and publications like Hours and Minutes can be a great source of education.
We have a message for all our collectors and enthusiasts in Australia. Breguet is a very innovative brand. Aesthetically the shape of our watches are quite conservative such as the Breguet hands, Breguet guilloche, but inside it is very innovative and during the last 15 years, especially since Breguet became a part of The Swatch Group, we patented between 10-15 patents each year and it is very important for our collectors in Australia to know this. We do a lot of investigation in new materials and technicalities, but the look of the watch is timeless. It is always discreet. We are traditional but we are also very innovative.
On the new Marine Équation Marchante 5887 released at Baselworld 2017
The Marine Équation Marchante 5887 is important because we can innovate and create something modern with a touch of traditional. It is sporty watch and yet very elegant. It is not as traditional as our classical line, but a watch that signifies the beginning of many changes in the Marine family. We started with an haute horlogerie piece and will continue in Baselworld 2018 or Baselworld 2019 with a chronograph, worldtimer etc. It is the beginning of something modern.