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Breguet’s Night at the Museum

Culture Watch

What better way to illustrate one’s love and commitment to history and heritage than by supporting a historical museum? Better still, to support the restoration and renovation of a museum. For the last 30 years, Swiss watchmaker Breguet has been doing just that with its commitment to the Louvre.

The commencement of the decades-long project to restore the 18th Century Decorative Arts rooms was celebrated in Paris in June as the rooms were reopened for a private event preview for 300 VIP’s. At the peak of the renovation process, the Louis XIV to Louis XVI rooms were completely closed for about a decade.

Breguet has a long history with the Louvre. The brand’s founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, presented grand works at the museum beginning in 1802. Among the 18th century collection at the Louvre are Breguet timepieces. Chairwoman of Swatch Group and daughter of Nicolas G. Hayek, Nayla Haykek attended the celebration and commented, “I think everybody who is a little bit involved in the history of Breguet, in the history of the Louvre, knows that we are all sitting here because of one person: my father." The renovation began in 2009 by Nicolas G. Hayek, Marc’s grandfather. “I’m sure he is with us, and I am sure he is very proud of everybody who was involved in this project.” The area was closed to the public for nearly 10 years, marking an extraordinary occasion for the museum.

 

And like the Louvre, which is entrenched in French history, so are Breguet’s roots in French aristocracy and royalty. Royals like Queen Marie-Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte, Queen Victoria and Sir Winston Churchill adored Breguet creations. In fact, the world’s very first wristwatch was designed for Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples, in 1810 by Breguet founder A.-L. Breguet.

According to the museum’s director, Jean-Luc Martinez, “It is an important and rather exceptional patronage. We are a museum of ancient art, so it’s quite rare for a house that is still active to have objects in our collections. Here, that is the case.”

 

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