The private Marie-Antoinette's clock, one of the most complicated ever
outputs of the workshop of a watchmaker, has been completely redone by
its original designer, Breguet, which submitted Friday to salon watches
Basel after three and a half years of work. The wife of Louis XVI,
guillotined in 1793, never saw the watch that bears his name : it was
commissioned for her by a mysterious officer in his custody six years
before the Revolution. At the time, the watchmaker Abraham
neuchâtelois, 1775, had the task of making the most
incredible clock, "with the latest developments of the time, with no
limit or Delivery time. The Switzerland worked slowly
clcok was still far from
being finished when the Revolution exploded. Loyal to the late
king, Breguet and its successors finisihed it in
1827, 44 years after the order. Two centuries later, the Swiss
Swatch group, the first global watchmaker Breguet and owner since 1999,
has created a replica of the precious jewel, a large
pocket watch in 18-carat gold crimped with 63 precious stones, with a
glass Rock crystal, which reveals the full complexity of the mechanism.
"Three years ago we decided to make this watch ourselves.
a big challenge", claimed Nicolas Hayek,
presenting the clock at the World watches Basel. The original
was stolen in 1983 from a museum in Jerusalem, where it w s exposed.
The engineers Breguet have
been unable to consult the model to restitute the famous "160 clock"
code name of the object. They did consult the archives of the
time, hold at the
Museum Breguet in Paris. Swatch must now decide what to do with the
masterpiece : Nicolas Hayek says he will decide before the end of the
show, on April 10, if he sells. In the latter case,
the watchmaker plans to produce one to two copies per year, at a price
that remain to be determined. As for the original shows, it
undergone funny adventures
since his disappearance and was found at the end of last year's Israel
Museum, which has paid an unspecified amount to be recovered since but
refuses to expose it. Nicolas Hayek says he received shortly before an
anonymous phone call from someone offering to sell the object. The
correspondent said to have paid himself $ 165,000 (105,000 euros) and
demanded an offer of a higher amount, according to Mr. Hayek.
legendary clock is exhibited in a wooden casket from the favourite
tree of Marie-Antoinette, who was killed in the park of the chateau of
Versailles. Mr. Hayek had offered to buy the tree, but the wood he was
finally kindly provided by the State french. In exchange, Swatch has
funded the restoration of the Petit Trianon, the palace favorite of the
queen, for 5 millions euros.