TARDY FOR THE PARTY: Built for punctuality, Breguet’s custom-made watch for Marie Antoinette came just a little too late. In 1783, one of the notorious French Queen’s admirers commissioned the watchmaker A.L. Breguet to create a master timepiece for her. The watch incorporates multiple complications such as a minute repeater, perpetual calendar, power reserve indicator and a bimetallic thermometer and took 44 years to create, but the Queen never got to see it. It was finished 34 years after she was beheaded at the guillotine in 1827.
The timepiece, Breguet’s most famous, has a storied past and has passed through many hands over the years until it was stolen from the L.A. Meyer Museum in Jerusalem in 1983. Breguet chief executive and Swatch Group chairman Nicolas G. Hayek, a patron of the restoration of Marie Antoinette’s favorite spot in Versailles, the Petit Trianon, was so romanced by the tale of the watch that he had it reproduced in 2007. The reproduction, dubbed Marie Antoinette No. 1160, will be on display for the first time in the U.S. today through Saturday at Breguet’s boutique in Beverly Hills and from Oct. 19 to Oct. 21 at the firm’s Madison Avenue boutiques in New York.