For more than 200 years, Breguet’s inventions and technological developments have shaped the world of watchmaking. In order to offer visitors the opportunity to discover some of its greatest innovations, Breguet held an exhibition at the renowned Marina Bay Sands (MBS) in Singapore, a stone throw away from the Breguet boutique at The Shoppes #B1-119. Presented on Monday April 27 to Sunday May 10, 2015. This exhibit stages a selection of seven famed inventions in a “high-tech” setting composed of experimental showcases designed to awaken the senses and spark curiosity.
The exhibition “Breguet, innovations that wrote History... More than 200 patents since 1775” reviews the exceptional contributions that the Manufacture has made to the domain of horology. Since it would have been overly ambitious to suggest visitors become acquainted in detail with all the innovations from the venerable house, Breguet has decided to exhibit seven that are especially celebrated for having transformed the science of time measurement and indeed the entire approach to this field.
The Tourbillon propelled Breguet into an elite circle of inventors in 1801, when the French Interior Minister granted the brilliant watchmaker a patent for this new type of regulator. The latter made it possible to compensate for the disturbing effects of gravity on watches’ performance, thus enabling timepieces to display significantly improved precision.
A few years after this incredible discovery, at a time when pocket watches were the prevailing norm, Breguet responded to a request from Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples, by creating a uniquely built model: the first wristwatch. This oval-shaped complicated model entirely unlike any other was fitted with a wristlet composed of twisted hair and gold thread. In 1812, Breguet achieved the feat of completely overturning the very concept of timepieces. From an object kept hidden in the pocket, the watch thus became and was to remain a jewellery creation proudly worn on the wrist.
To this very day, Breguet tirelessly perpetuates the pioneering spirit of its founder by revolutionising various facets of horology. The House was notably behind the very first instant dual time-zone device. Breguet reinterprets the travel watch with this function that enables a display of two pre-selected time zones by switching instantly from one to another at a simple press of a pushbutton.
In parallel, the Manufacture leverages high frequency to improve the performances of the balance of some of its models. Rendered possible by the use of lighter components made of silicon, the increase in the frequency of the oscillator – reaching as much as 72,000 vibrations per hour on some timepieces – endows watches with a far more precise rate.
The use of silicon, a material with anti-magnetic properties, also enabled the Breguet engineers to envisage incorporating magnets inside watch mechanism in order to enhance their performance. The Classique La Musicale watch was thus equipped with the first magnetic regulator in watchmaking history. This ingenious mechanism eliminates the characteristic issues of wear, background noise and the need for higher amounts of energy, while also ensuring greater precision.
The introduction of magnetic components, hitherto considered tantamount to horological heresy, opened up whole new vistas of development. Consequently on November 9th 2010, Breguet filed a patent for the magnetic pivot. Composed of two counter-pivots incorporating an especially powerful micro-magnet on either end of the balance staff, this technological innovation notably served to create a dynamically stable system able to keep the balance staff centred and self- adjusting. In 2012, Breguet provided a first showcase for this surprising invention by presenting the Classique Chronométrie, a watch featuring exceptional rating results.
Whether by improving watches’ performances, their precision, their aesthetic or their functional use, Breguet displays considerable ingenuity with each of its creations. Through this exhibition, it takes a look back at over two centuries of inventions and technological developments punctuating its history and shaping its future.