Vacheron Constantin’s history has been filled with extraordinary, complicated, and elegant timepieces. Here are the five most complicated pocket watches the Geneva maison has produced throughout its 266-year history, beginning with the record-holding Reference 57260.
The cover of the Hermès Arceau Pocket Aaaaargh! pocket watch is like looking through a keyhole in a door opening into a ‘Jurassic Park’ movie. The ferocious dinosaur on the cover of this artful, limited edition pocket watch is fairly lifelike, both in the way it is portrayed and because it is made of leather. And the watch features a flying tourbillon and minute repeater!
This Breguet souscription pocket watch number 1836 was created just after the French Revolution in 1796 and was sold in 1807 for £600. A testament to the quality of the movement’s design and the skill of its watchmaker, after more than 200 years it still runs perfectly today, which makes it the perfect role model for Breguet’s modern Tradition line. But what relationship does Ian have to it?
The Breguet Tradition collection, as exemplified here by the Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097, does just what it says on the label: provide tradition. And it does that very well as Ian Skellern illustrates in a comparison with an original 200-year-old Abraham-Louis Breguet Souscription pocket watch.
You may have heard of a few or more of the following historical people and events: Thomas Mudge, George Graham, John Harrison, the Longitude Prize, Captain James Cook, and the mutiny on the ‘HMS Bounty.’ However, you are less likely to have heard the name of a horologist who played a pivotal role in all of the above: Larcum Kendall (1719–1790). Come with me on a worldwide adventure involving timekeeping and history.
In 1783, just as the queen of France, Marie Antoinette, was sitting for a portrait, an officer of the queen’s guard visited Abraham-Louis Breguet’s workshop: Queen Marie Antoinette desired a pocket watch containing all known horological complications at the time. It took 44 years to complete and is perhaps the most famous watch in history, as much for its intriguing story as its ingenious mechanics.
Following part one and two of this series of auctions, the third in this four-part series by Sotheby’s called Masterworks of Time is entitled “Abraham-Louis Breguet, Horologist Extraordinaire.” Extraordinarily, this auction comprising only pocket watches by Breguet and other masters will take place online, beginning on June 3, 2020 at 4:00 pm CET.
When Bhanu Chropra visited Israel on a business trip in 2019, a colleague suggested a short visit to see the historically important sites in Jerusalem, and knowing his passion for horology said that he had a special surprise for him: visiting the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Art. The museum holds one of the world’s most horologically significant pocket watch, clock, and automaton collections, and the star of the show is Breguet No. 160, aka “the Marie Antoinette.”
Last year, Colin Alexander Smith’s mother showed him a silver pocket watch. All she could tell him about it was that it had belonged to his grandfather. The watch appeared to be older than his grandfather, though, and he embarked upon a quest to identify it and discover the original owner. The story took a few interesting turns as he reveals here in a truly interesting trace of the origins.
To celebrate Jaquet Droz’s 280th anniversary, the brand wanted something very special: the unique piece Parrot Repeater Pocket Watch features miniature painting, oven-fired enamel painting, hand-engraving, bas relief engraving, paillonné, and gem setting. Every visible surface has been lovingly attended to in a rich pallet of arts and crafts. Job done!