Early 19th century Breguet garde-temps-type watch – €41,000 (£36,285) at Cortrie.

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After his death in 1823, his successors continued in his tradition – up to and including the present day.

A Breguet gold watch of the garde temps-type with eccentric silver guilloché dial, lever escapement and compensation balance was one of the top lots at Cortrie (25% buyer’s premium) in Hamburg on February 13.

According to the Breguet archives, the watch number 4295 was sold to ‘Conte Tolstoye’ on March 24, 1825.

French connections

Several members of the Tolstoy family had connections to France and to Breguet, including not only the famous writer Leo, but also the Russian general and one-time governor of St Petersburg, Alexander Ivanovich Ostermann-Tolstoy.

The latter was honoured by the Parisian composer Antoine de Lhoyer in 1823 with a piece for solo guitar, dedicated to Monsieur le comte de Tolstoye. Whichever Tolstoy it was, in March 1825 the purchaser paid 2400 francs for his watch. In Hamburg bidding started at €12,000 and after the other participants dropped out, two international collectors took the price to €41,000 (£36,285).

Also worthy of note is the result for a much later Breguet chronometer in a white gold case, which had been awarded a gold medal by the observatory in Besançon in the 1930s.

The guide of €8000 was easily surpassed, with the hammer falling at €31,000 (£26,550).