Four-minute tourbillon watch and thermometer made for George III in 1808.

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The famed Swiss-French watchmaker is the focus of the first in a new annual programme of temporary displays held by the Clockmakers’ Museum at the Science Museum in South Kensington.

Abraham-Louis Breguet: The English Connection opened on September 12 to mark the 200th anniversary of Breguet’s death on September 17, 1823, and brings together a selection of pieces united by their connection to England.

Items on display include a gold four-minute tourbillon watch and thermometer made for George III in 1808. It is labelled as a ‘Whirling About Regulator’, a literal translation from the French ‘Régulateur à Tourbillon’, and bears the signature of the London agent Recordon, rather than Breguet, perhaps to disguise the sale to the British king during the Napoleonic Wars. George III was a keen horologist and The Royal Collection holds manuscripts written in his hand in which he details the procedure for assembling and disassembling watches he owned.

This is the first time this famous watch has been on public display since it was sold by Sotheby’s in July 2020 for a premium-inclusive £1.6m and subject to a temporary export stop. It had previously been sold in 1999 at Sotheby’s for a premium-inclusive £551,500.