Abraham-Louis Breguet leaves his home in Neuchâtel as a teenager, and heads for Versailles and Paris for a watchmaking apprenticeship. In 1775, he opens his workshop in the Ile de la Cité in Paris, with the help of Abbot Joseph-François Marie, who takes him under his wings and introduces young Breguet to the French Court. French aristocracy quickly become Breguet’s clientele. Forced to leave France during the dark hours of the Revolution, he returns in 1795 to rebuild his business.
It is a changed France that Abraham-Louis Breguet discovers when he returns to Paris after the French Revolution. He develops his foreign clientele and it is in Russia where he is the most successful. He opens an establishment in Saint Petersburg in 1808 which he is forced to close three years later when the Tsar Alexander I forbids the entry of French products on Russian ground, as a response to the politics of Napoleon.
The only son of the founder, Antoine-Louis Breguet, takes over the company in 1824. Having been immersed in watchmaking since his earliest childhood, he pursues the work of his famous father. It is his son, Louis-Clément, who breathes a new dynamism into Breguet, understanding that watchmaking is from that point on spread through all social classes. He decides to extend his activities by diversifying, particularly in physic instruments.
The posterity of Abraham-Louis Breguet loses more and more of its interest in watchmaking in favor of other sectors like electricity or, later on, aviation. Louis-Clément, representing the third generation, sells the watchmaking branch in 1870 to the head of the workshop, Edward Brown. The Brown family, aware of the historical importance of Breguet and of the patrimony it is representing, will lead the House for the next century.
Breguet changes hands another time in 1970 to the Chaumet brothers, inheritors of the Parisian jewelry House. Then, in 1987, the House is bought by Investcorp. The favorable context allows Breguet another evolution. The production is now made in the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland and it is also the emergence of new markets in Asia and North America.
The year 1999 is the symbol of a new start for Breguet which joined the Swatch Group. Under the drive of CEO Nicolas G. Hayek, the House finds again its radiance and its prestige thanks to important human talent and financial investments. After his passing, it is his grandson Marc A. Hayek who takes helm of the crown jewel of the Swiss watchmaking over.