A final hour of Marie-Antoinette and the art of watchmaking

The doomed queen, who is depicted in a painting by Louise Élisabeth Vigée Le Brun, placed the order for Breguet n° 179, the watch of her final hour, while she was held captive in the Temple. Image courtesy of Reuters Connect and Alamy Stock Photo

THE MYSTERIES OF LEGENDARY WATCHES (4/5) – The queen, a devoted collector of Breguet timepieces, will place one final order from her dungeon cell in the Temple.

Whether the work of visionary watchmakers or enduring symbols of popular culture, these timepieces have graced the wrists of kings, dictators, and rock stars, generated headlines, and caused bidding wars at auctions. The whirlwind of history is captured by five different watches.

The feeling of hatred has been replaced by nostalgia. Marie-memories Antoinette was restored a little more than two centuries after she was put to death. Once, by Stael wrote that all women had been humiliated as a result of her actions. Both “Farewell to the Queen” by Chantal Thomas and “Sofia Coppola” had to pass through the location. The queen needed to pass away for the monarchy to end with her and then with her son. She had been incarcerated first in the Temple and later in the Conciergerie before being led to the guillotine on October 16, 1793, in the city of Paris. Just like a great number of others.

Her name also remained irrevocably associated with that of Abraham-Louis Breguet, the brilliant watchmaker whose clientele swiftly expanded to include kings and queens, of whom she would be one of the first unconditional. Abraham-Louis Breguet was known for his impeccable timekeeping. Breguet will be responsible for making the watch for her…

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