Breguet at the Louvre
An Apogee of European Watchmaking
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Preface by Henri Loyrette
People often forget that the Louvre owes its splendid collection of watches, designed and perfected in Europe since the 16th century, to the generosity of great connoisseurs. Abraham-Louis Breguet, who had the honour of presenting his finest timepieces here at the second National Exhibition of Industrial Products (1802) rightfully features prominently among them.
It is thus only natural that the Louvre pays homage this summer to such an outstanding personality, who illustrates the apogee of European watchmaking at the crucial turning of the 18th and 19th centuries. Always on the cutting edge of innovation, Breguet took this high-precision art to an unparalleled degree of craftsmanship and aesthetic refinement.
A tireless researcher and bold entrepreneur, he aroused the admiration and earned the confidence of European sovereigns and high society. European watches, which had previously been regarded as curios, fashion items or sentimental trinkets, became timepieces of exemplary precision and rare simplicity.
This retrospective, which has assembled a collection of unique works on an unprecedented scale, would not have been possible without the close collaboration and generous participation of the company Montres Breguet S.A., which today perpetuates this tradition of excellence. My warm thanks are especially addressed to its CEO, Mr Nicolas G. Hayek, whose energetic support helped bring this magnificent project to fruition.
Henri Loyrette, Director of the Louvre