Napoleon was a fan of Breguet

Andrej Abplanalp

Andrej Abplanalp

Historian and communications chief of the Swiss National Museum.

Organisers of major sporting events, mountaineers, and even astronauts rely on Swiss timepieces today. In the past, military strategists who made history swore by Swiss clocks. For example, Napoleon Bonaparte used a pocket watch by Abraham-Louis Breguet at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815.

The clients of the watchmaker from the canton of Neuchâtel included not only the French general, but also his opponents. Both the Duke of Wellington and Field Marshal Gebhard Leberecht von Blücher devised their battle strategies with Breguet watches in their pockets. Apparently Breguet was more concerned with sales than with Swiss neutrality!

Incidentally, Napoleon was a real Breguet fan and owned a total of three Breguet timepieces.The only one that has survived, however, is a travel clock kept in the Swiss National Museum.

Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823)

Napoleon (1769 - 1821)

Breguet travel clock, 1796, fire-gilded bronze, made in
Paris by Abraham-Louis Breguet.

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Landesmuseum Zürich
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Swiss National Museum

Three museums – the National Museum Zurich, the Castle of Prangins and the Forum of Swiss History Schwyz – as well as the collections centre in Affoltern am Albis – are united under the umbrella of the Swiss National Museum (SNM).