The Breguet No. 160 grand complication, more commonly known as the Marie-Antoinette or the Queen, is a case watch designed by Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet. Work on the watch was begun in 1782 and completed in 1827, four years after Breguet’s death.
The watch was commissioned in 1782 by an admirer of the French Queen; Marie Antoinette. But she never lived to see it, as it was completed 34 years after she had been executed.
The watch was to contain every watch function known at that time, including the following: Clock, Perpetual calendar, Minute repeater, Thermometer, Chronograph, Power reserve and Pare-Chute.
That is one sexy watch.
Cartier Art Déco Lighter with Watch - by Cartier, Paris - The watch is European Watch and Clock Company
The watch, set into a single Colombian emerald crystal, dates from around 1600 and was discovered as part of the Cheapside Hoard in 1912.
This is the 17th-century equivalent of our watch. Made out of ivory, most of these so-called diptych dials were produced in the German city of Nuremberg. This one is signed by its maker, the instrument maker Hans Truschel, who made it in 1603. The top image shows the instrument closed, in the lower image it is opened up. A small pin would be placed in the horizontal half of the instrument and from it a little string would lead to the vertical half (note the tiny red string in the lower image). When placed in the correct orientation the instrument would tell time, quite accurately, just like its better known bigger brother did, the sun dial found in gardens and attached to houses. Imagine taking this gadget out of your pocket in the 17th-century street to check what time it was. Cool.
Pic: Columbia, University Library, Smith Instrument 27-225. More on this instrument here.
Here’s a beautiful, super-hi-rez, freely usable photo of a 1969 Russian Polar Expedition watch — an absolutely droolworthy bit of horological sweetness. (via Russian Polar Expedition watch photo, 1969 - Boing Boing)
[Photo Credit: Sosoev/Wikimedia Commons]