What united the enemies were their prestigious, one of a kind timepieces. Napoleon Bonaparte, the Duke of Wellington and many others on the battlefield of Waterloo wore Breguet pocket-watches.
Swiss high-end watchmaker Breguet was marking the bicentenary of the Battle of Waterloo last week by acting as principal private sponsor (500.000 Euro) for the restoration work on the Hougoumont farm. One of the last genuine witnesses to the battle, Hougoumont is intended to stand as a symbol of peace and stability in Europe.
To get more information about the the Hougoumont farm please click >>> HERE <<<
The inauguration of this important piece of history following restoration work and repurposing as a museum, took place the 17 June 2015, in the presence of Marc A. Hayek, President & CEO of Breguet, members of European royalty, among them Prince Charles, The Duchess of Cornwall, Princess Astrid of Belgium, Hereditary Grand Duke Guillaume of Luxembourg and his wife the Hereditary Grand Duchess, the Duke of Wellington, Prince Blücher von Wahlstatt and Prince Charles Bonaparte and leading politicians.
Prince Charles unveiling a monument near the north gate of the Hougoumont Farm to honour the British soldiers …
During the official opening ceremony for the restored Hougoumont farm ceremony and its new Breguet room, last week the 17 June 2015, the symbolic handshake between the three descendants the Duke of Wellington, Prince Blücher von Wahlstatt and Prince Charles Bonaparte was the most impressing moment for me.
The three men had never met before!
A bit of history…
The Duke of Wellington considered the occupation of Hougoumont farm as decisive to the outcome of the Battle of Waterloo (18 June 1815), which was to end over twenty years of war in Europe. This building has particular significance for Breguet due to the establishment’s links to the battle’s protagonists.
Loyal customers of Breguet could be found in both Napoleon’s and the Allies’ camps. The most famous among them are of course the Emperor Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington!
You can, however, also mention Marshal de Grouchy, Marchal Ney, Jérôme Bonaparte, Chief Surgeon Dominique Larrey and General Kellerman on one side, and the Earl of Uxbridge, Lord Somerset, Major Percy and the Generals Cooke, Maitland and Ponsonby on the other side, as well as General Pozzo di Borgo.
But the Battle of Waterloo was also the occasion of honours and recognition being bestowed upon A.-L. Breguet.
In Louis XVIII, King of France, he had a sincere and active admirer. On 27 October 1815, only a few months after Waterloo, the master was appointed Watchmaker to the Royal Navy. He had then been at the head of his watch company for 40 years. The company was established in Paris in 1775 and obtained its first successes at the French court during the reign of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. In the troubled years of the French Revolution, Breguet returned to Switzerland, his native country. During the period of the Empire, nearly all the members of the imperial family were clients. Breguet also exported his creations, which were highly sought after in England, Spain and Russia.
The politics of Napoleon, the Continental Blockade and the war with Russia prevented him from developing his commercial talents, but after the defeat of Napoleon, the protection of Louis XVIII and the birth of a new Europe, following the Congress of Vienna, helped his company and enabled him to thrive.
Abraham-Louis Breguet was responsible for many inventions, both technical and aesthetic, that gave birth to modern watchmaking. His inventions include the gong spring, the Breguet balance spring, the tact watch, the tourbillon and the first chronographs.
He also designed on of the very first wristwatches in 1812, for Caroline Murat, Napoleon’s sister. Breguet gave his watches a flat and unadorned appearance, with guilloche dials, “moon” tip hands, and caseband fluting.
Marc A. Hayek told me: “With the patronage of Project Hougoumont, Montres Breguet underlines its links with its own history as well as with the history of Europe. This partnership is in keeping with Breguet’s overall policy, initiated in 2005, of financial support for the preservation of cultural heritage, which includes the complete funding of the restoration of the Petit Trianon and the French Pavilion in the grounds of the palace at Versailles; supporting the Louvre as the main sponsor for the restoration of the 18th century halls of the Art Department; funding a hall dedicated to naval aviation in the National Navy Museum in Paris; and sponsoring the creation of the Salon Doré in the San Francisco Fine Arts Museums.”
>>> Listen to an interview with Marc A. Hayek, President & CEO of Breguet were we not only talk about Waterloo, but also about the latest developments at Breguet on page 2 and see actual pictures of the Breguet Tradition 7077 Independent Chronograph <<<