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Napoleon's Wife Watch Beat the Record at Cristie's

Nov 14, 2007
A timepiece created for the wife of the French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte was the lot of great interest at Christie's auction on Monday. Josephine watch went under the hammer for more than 1,3 million dollars. The price beat the record because it was seven times more than its pre-auction estimate.

The Napoleon's wife Josephine ordered the watch in 1799 for 3,000 francs. Christie's experts had estimated the exclusive timepiece at 200,000 Swiss francs (178, 000 US dollars ) but it was sold for the record price of 1,5 million Swiss francs (1,3 million US dollars).
The information about the buyer was not revealed.

The unique Breguet watch model was invented by the legendary watch maker Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1790. It was the time when it was considered to be an unseemly manner to consult the time in public.

Breguet created a 'crafty' mechanism that gave an opportunity to know the time by touch without taking the watch out of the pocket. It was achieved due to a special 'tactile' Breguet invention when the watch hand is on the outside of the case.

The watch was made in gold and dark blue enamel. In 1804 Napoleon was crowned Emperor of France. Soon after the inauguration they added a small diamond crown to the watch to show the new Josephine's status - the first Empress of the French.
When the family jewel was given to Josephine's daughter Hortense, there appeared a capital 'H' on the timepiece.

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Apr 21, 2012 04:13 AM | Jerry Hale

I have the pocket watch case for Napoleons watch, it is encrusted with emeralds and rubies. The French lady I bought it from dug it out of a wall in a house where Napoleon stayed at times. The building was bombed in world war 2.The watch was rusted away, but the case is beautiful.

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