This is a story about the watch “The Queen”, created for Marie Antoinette by Abraham-Louis Breguet.  Excerpts from Wired and Breguet, with Japanese translation.



Excerpts from Wired /Wiredから抜粋

Image: Wikipedia
Marie-Antoinette en 1783,
par Élisabeth Vigée-Le Brun

Commissioned for Marie Antoinette allegedly by the man rumored to be her lover, Count Hans Axel von Fersen, the watch was to have all conceivable features in it, according to Breguet’s paperwork. Gold was to replace brass wherever possible. No limit was imposed on price or time of manufacturing. The name of the commissioner was left off the order.


The watch ultimately took 44 years to complete. In the interim, the French Revolution and the resulting European upheaval led to the death of both the man who likely commissioned the watch and its intended owner. (Marie Antoinette, of course, fell under the guillotine. Seventeen years after her death, an incensed crowd, convinced that von Fersen had conspired to assassinate Sweden’s would-be king, beat him to death in a Stockholm square.) Breguet died in September 1823. His son, a talented horologer in his own right, finished the masterpiece in 1827. It traveled in the coat pockets of a French nobleman and later ended up in the collection of Sir David Lionel Salomons, a British polymath who brought the first car shows to England and patented an idea for buoyant soap. Salomons left his watch collection to his daughter Vera, a globe-trotting nurse who settled in Jerusalem after World War I and later used her father’s money to build the museum—and to house his collection of watches.


What made Breguet’s work so significant was his skill as both a watchmaker and a designer. His creations have pristine faces, delicate hands that end in apple-shaped tips, and movements that appear as complex as a computer circuit. The Queen was at once immensely complicated—it had all the features of a cathedral clock in the space of a pocket watch—and beguilingly elegant. Breguet even made a clear crystal face that allowed the owner to see the movement of the gears underneath.

ブルゲの時計の際立つ点は、時計職人と設計技師としての技能だ。汚れのない文字盤、先端がリンゴ型の繊細な針、そしてムーブメントはコンピューター回路のように複雑な様相を呈している。その時計「The Queen」は、とてつもなく込み入っていて、懐中時計の大きさに大聖堂の鐘の機能が備わり、それでいて魅力的で気品がある。さたにブルケは、文字盤を透明なクリスタルで作り、所有者が中の歯車の動きを見ることができるようにした。

Breguet cased the Queen in gold. It featured a full perpetual calendar, a jumping hour hand that flicked from hour to hour instead of slowly rotating around the face, and an independent second hand that could be stopped or started at will. The watch even contained a metallic thermometer and a mechanism that chimed the time. Sapphires were used to reduce friction.

ブルゲは「The Queen」の表面を金で仕上げた。万年暦、ゆっくり回転するのではなく時間から時間を飛ぶ短針、意のままに止めたり始めたりできる独立した秒針が備わる。さらに、金属温度計と時を告げる機械仕掛けもある。摩擦を抑えるためにサファイヤが使われている。


From Breguet website /ブルゲのウェブサイトから

Marie-Antoinette watch

In 2005, Nicolas G. Hayek challenged himself to precisely reproduce the Queen Marie-Antoinette watch, stolen in 1983 from a Jerusalem museum. Simultaneously, near the Queen’s residence at Versailles, Le Petit Trianon, the favorite oak tree where she liked to day dream was about to be struck down. Nicolas G. Hayek decided to extend its life by fashioning a presentation case to hold the second Marie Antoinette watch. Versailles offered the tree to Montres Breguet, who committed to the restoration of Le Petit Trianon in memory of this particularly loyal patron. As the watch neared completion late 2007, the spoils of the 1983 robbery suddenly reappeared in Jerusalem and the original Marie-Antoinette was part of the recovered lot. The saga continues. Montres Breguet has yet not had the opportunity to inspect the watch to this date. Presented today in Basel, the Queen of all watches reveals a host of complications. Research in the archives and study of original drawings from the Breguet museum and from other key institutions like the museum des Art et Metiers in Paris were the only available sources of information available to complete the formidable task.





スウォッチ・グループ元代表取締役会長のニコラス・G・ハイエック氏(1928年2月19日 – 2010年6月28日)は、1970年代の末、危機的状況にあったスイス時計業界を甦らせた。


Montres Breguet
Published on 18 Aug 2016