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This repayment method – deposit, followed by installments, was pioneered by Bréguet as a means of attracting the business of gentlemen otherwise unable to afford his watches, which cost between 500-900 francs during the first decade of the 19th century – to put the price in context, this was roughly the annual income of an artisan.

In this sense, Bréguet was no different from the High Street stores who employ such repayment schemes, except that Breguet’s customers only received their watches after paying the full amount, because life expectancy was not great in early 19th century France.

This gold cased watch (No.1309) had its original case by Jean Louis Joly and by family repute it had been made by Bréguet for the Napoleonic General Recamier. Estimated at £9000-12,000, this standard Breguet watch sold at £16,200.