Breguet’s centuries-old No. 5 remains a major feat of engineering
Royal Jewelers, an independently owned fine jewelry store in Andover, Mass., has been chosen by historic watchmaker Breguet to stock an especially pricey timepiece—a replica of the house’s iconic No. 5 pocket watch, priced at $1.9 million.
The limited-edition gold piece was originally produced in 1794 and was the first Breguet to feature the perpétuelle system (meaning it had a pendulum in the movement that kept it wound).
When the brand went about re-creating the No. 5, it had to do so without the technical specifications—those had long since been lost. But the company did have the original pocket watch, which it had purchased at auction. Still, reproducing the horological masterpiece “was a huge technical achieviement,” says Paula Leed, copresident of Royal Jewelers (with her brother Steven Leed). “There was a fair amount of reverse engineering involved.”
The watch has an à toc quarter repeater (“it really dings out,” says Leed) in 18k yellow gold, a display of the phases of the moon, and a chapter ring with Roman numerals engraved and painted black by hand.
Breguet told the retailer that between six and 10 replicas are currently in existence, and Leed credits landing one of the watches to her store’s solid relationship with the brand.
“There are so few collectors for a watch of this historical significance,” she says. “But we knew that we’d be able to showcase it to the right audience.”
The Leeds recently hosted a private dinner in Boston where around a dozen collectors “had the opportunity to experience the watch’s grandeur,” adds Leed. And one of the guests—a notable pocket watch collector—is apparently eyeing it quite seriously.
(The No. 5 pocket watch replica by Breguet, courtesy of Royal Jewelers)