Abraham-Louis Breguet was born in Neuchatel, Switzerland on 10th January 1747, but it was France that was to become his adopted country and base for his future success.
In 1775 Breguet's dowry from his marriage to Cecile Marie-Louise L'Hullier provided the "financing" which allowed him to open his own workshop at the Quai de l'Horloge on the Ile de la Cite in Paris.
Following his introduction to the French court, Queen Marie-Antoinette grew fascinated by Breguet's unique self-winding watch and Louis XVI bought several of his watches. In 1782 Marie Antoinette commissioned the watch that was to contain every watch function known at that time which was only finished 34 years after her death.
The French revolution was to have a profound effect on Breguet's life. He left for Geneva in 1792 and used his time in Switzerland to strengthen his contacts with watchmakers in his native country. He returned to Paris in 1795 and a flurry of activity followed. His most important inventions and creations can be dated to the years immediately following. After taking his son into full partnership, the business flourished despite his previous clients being dispossessed or executed. His new clientele were the generals, politicians and families raised to prominence under Napoleon as well as all the Royal families of Europe.
Now indisputably recognized as the greatest horologist of all time, Breguet's innovations include the perfection of the self-winding watch, the perpetual calendar, the earliest timepiece shock absorber and the tourbillon.