Watch Industry Icons- Abraham-Louis Breguet

Watch Industry Icons- Abraham-Louis Breguet

Updated at 16/02/2020 16:26 Grand Complication Watches Breguet

The name Abraham Breguet is synonymous with watchmaking. A very large audience is well acquainted with his inventions and distinct style of his designs that have defined the watch industry for more than two centuries. The following is a timeline of his most significant achievements in his successful career. 

Abraham Louis breguet Achievements timeline

Founded Breguet (1775)

A young Breguet, born in Prussia(1747) studied watchmaking for ten years before setting up his own watchmaker in Paris. Legend has it that he used the money from his dowry to his wife to fund the venture

Self-winding Watch(1780)

The self-winding watch was Abraham Breguet’s first notable breakthrough that made heads turn.In 1780, he came up with a mechanism in which a weight that swung to and fro and placed it in a pocket watch for pushing the springs that supplied the watch with power. The result of this invention was that there was no need to wind the watch manually.

Minute-repeater Gong (1783)

Minute repeaters (complications in a clock or manual watch that chimes the hours and minutes) existed prior to 1783. However, they were bulky and heavysince watchmakers stuck real bells in them! Breguet invented a coil fastened to a gong, which created a distinct sweet sound, and the contraption was considerably lighter than the above-mentioned minute repeaters as well.All contemporary minute repeaters today still make use of a gong. In addition to this amazing gong innovation in 1783, Breguet was also behind the creation of the “moon tip” hand. Even today, Breguet’s brand’s watches feature these signature hands.

The Breguet Hands (1783)

Breguet also had a keen eye for design. In the early days of watchmaking readibility of the watch was very important, Breguet set to design hands both functional and aesthetically pleasing, it is not surprising that this is another area in which Abraham-Louis Breguet left his indelible mark. Breguet watch hands are long and elegant with a ring/moon and point at the end. The ring is hollowed out in an eccentric way and resemble a crescent moon. 

Today often used by top tier brands like Patek Philippe due to the design and difficulty to make

Para-chute Invention (1790)

Abraham Breguet created a unique shock-absorption system in 1790 so that watches could endure drops to the ground and ham-fisted owners. Breguet’s Parachute invention involved placing the moment’s most sensitive parts at a spring’s end. This would allow the parts to move easily without getting brokenif the watch fell to the ground. Tourbillon(Very Early 1800’s) In the early years of the 19th century, Breguet had concerns about how gravity may impact the movement of a watch. People used to regard pocket watches as the standard in those days, and timepieces would hang out from a pocket all the time, remaining pointed in a single direction. This led Breguet to create the Tourbillon (a cage that enclosed the watch’s movement and makes a complete rotation every sixty seconds). This preventedthe timepiece from hanging out in a single direction long enough for the force of gravity to move it.

Wristwatch (1810)

The Queen of Naples engaged Breguet’s services in 1810 to devise a watch that one could wear on the wrist. Breguet presented the world's first-ever wristwatch in 1812 (2 years later). The watch, which was oval-shaped, could rest securely on the wrist by making use of a bracelet made of a gold thread and hair. This wristwatch invention is definitely the most crowning one if you consider all watch inventions.


Abraham Breguet proved to be an indispensable watchmaker to the military, diplomatic and financial and elites of hisera. He was famous as the greatest architect in the science of timekeeping. In fact, even today, his popularity has not dwindled. On the contrary, it has considerably increased since his passing away in 1823.

By Kola Ilori

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