Watch

MADE: 1798

MATERIAL: Silver & 18ct Rose Gold

MOVEMENT: Cylinder Escapment

CASE DIAMETER: 60mm

Notes

The Souscription is elegant in its simplicity but was born from the chaos of Europe going through great change and turmoil during the French Revolution. Its elegant design reflects none of the cultural uncertainty of the time, nor the turmoil Breguet himself was going through having recently fled France and in fear of execution.

Purchased over a period of time, the customer would pay a 25 per cent as a down payment at the time of order, followed by further instalments paid during the production of the model, which could take years. It was on sale at a price which allowed his products to be more accessible to the emerging middle-class.
This system was genius in that it facilitated the creation of Breguet’s new inventions, kept his business afloat and enabled both Breguet and his company not to be slaves to a bank manager.

The Souscription’s appearance is fascinating as it evolves over time, demonstrating that Breguet had not completely settled on a design but rather experimented with each watch.
It could be found in gold and silver or all gold, with early incarnations bearing escapements ranging from the Arnold Spring Detent, Lever and then later the Ruby Cylinder. The winding mechanism previously could be found on the dial, but later was located at the back of the watch. Dials were produced in enamel or sometimes silver. However, in spite of all these variances, the case was always engine turned and the dial bore Breguet’s innovative way of telling the time.

The dial seems to be taken from those made by the very early innovators of horology. However, unlike these initial pioneers, the timepiece was precise with hours displayed in Arabic numerals. Set between these are divisions. With these divisions one could easily read each five minutes passed and thus, provide the owner with the time with only a few minutes discrepancy.
Breguet decided to mark this model with his secret signature, placed under the 12 o’clock. The signature is virtually invisible, detectable only under a low-angle light and created by using a dry-point pantograph. This signature avoided the watch being recreated by forgers and has become iconic to Breguet and the Souscription model

World History

- The French Revolutionary Wars: Napoleon defeats Ottoman forces near the Pyramids, going on to occupy Cairo.

- English physician and scientist, Edward Jenner publishes his work on smallpox vaccination. He went on to not only pioneer the smallpox vaccination but create the world's first vaccination.

- The Battle of the Nile, a major naval battle fought between the British Royal Navy and the Navy of the French Republic at Aboukir Bay on the Mediterranean coast off Egypt takes place. Lord Nelson defeats the French navy under Admiral Brueys; Nelson himself is wounded in the head.

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