Estimate 30,000 - 50,000 €
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22k gold, case maker's punch mark "Gros" and no. 383, polychrome enamel, signed dome, pull-twist push piece for the repeater in the pendant.
very good, slightly worn
white enamel, gilt compass rose in the centre, secret signature "Breguet 2492" below 12 o'clock, Ottoman numerals.
very good, slightly chipped
bridge movement, 20 lignes, keywind, 2 hammers / 2 gongs, standing barrel, ruby cylinder escapement, gold three-arm ring balance, shock protection-"parachute".
very good, capable of running, cleaning recommended
The back of the case – which was created for the Ottoman market – catches the eye with its marvellous decoration of translucent red enamel on engine-turned ground with a gold paillon flower and white enamel petals in the centre; the ornamentation is framed by a border of white enamel and gold in a geometric pattern. The bezels on front and back are also adorned with translucent red enamel and a gold paillon border in the form of a stylized flower tendril.
A.-L. Breguet's concerted efforts from 1811 to establish a position in the market offered by the Ottoman empire took place against a background of crisis. Having had to resign himself to the loss of his British and Spanish sales, he now faced the abrupt disappearance of the Russian market. The firm's three most important outlets for foreign exports had simply been wiped out. Turkey, France's only remaining ally among the great powers, thus appeared as the obious candidate to take their place. It was strategy that seemed fairly sound, especially in view of two factors that A.-L. Breguet could play to his advantage: firstly he had a good knowledge of the country, and secondly his choice of Leroy as his agent in Istanbul was a sensible one. Breguet's familarity with Turkey was due in large part to his 15-year friendship with the Ottoman ambassador Esseid Ali Effendi, who had arrived in Paris in 1797. After his return to Turkey he ordered ten watches, all repeating, as well as more modest commercial watches. Ali Effendi gave Breguet thorough guidelines regarding the appearance that his watches should have in order to be a success in Turkey. The dial should be in white enamel with Turkish numerals, while the case and outer case should be enamelled, possibly in red, and richly decorated. These items were either sold or presented as gifts to high dignitaries of the Ottoman empire.
In 1813 Napoleon chose a "Sympathique" watch as a gift for Sultan Mahmud II on the occasion of his inauguration; the timepiece was decorated with the finest jewels and worth 35,000 francs – it was one of the most expensive objects A.-L. Breguet ever created. The Sultan was overjoyed with his watch and commissioned Breguet’s representative Leroy with maintaining all timepieces in the palace. Today some of Breguet’s most wonderful creations that were specially made for the Turkish market reside in the Topkapi Palace Museum in Istanbul, the fabulous Sympathique being one of them. These masterpieces epitomise the wonderful amalgamation of ingenious horological technology as introduced by Breguet and the resplendent, lavish style elements of the Ottoman Empire.
Source: Montres Breguet S.A./Musée du Louvre "Breguet, an apogee of European watchmaking", Paris 2009, p. 130-134.