The Most Expensive Pocket Watch In The World, Made For Marie Antoinette
January 8, 2016
The Queen never got to admire her present, the Breguet number 160, known as the "Marie-Antoinette" in her honor. The watch was finally completed in 1827 – 34 years after her death, four years after Breguet's, and 44 years after the timepiece was ordered.
In 1783, according to Breguet watch company and historical documents from the time, a mystery admirer ordered Queen Marie Antoinette "a watch that was to be as spectacular as possible," stipulating it incorporate the fullest range of horological expertise, that gold should be used in lieu of all other metals and the complications should be as numerous as possible.
Had he lived to see the final product, the commissioner would not have been disappointed.
Worth more than $30 million, the 60mm pocket watch features a full perpetual calendar, a jumping hour hand, 23 complications and 823 parts. It is encased in 18-karat gold and sapphires grace every working surface. In terms of artistry, complexity and beauty, no other watch in the world had ever come close.
For two centuries now, both this timepiece's extreme intricacy and its fabulous destiny have fascinated watchmakers and haunted the imagination of collectors. Stolen in 1983 from a museum in Jerusalem and finally recovered in December 2007, this undisputed masterpiece of horology experienced a fate so mysterious and bizarre that it became something of an obsession.
In 2004, before it was recovered, Nicolas G. Hayek challenged Breguet's watchmakers to build an exact replica of this breathtaking pocket watch. Breguet accepted the challenge.
Watch the video below to see how they re-created the extremely complicated masterpiece:
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