hrough its five international art fairs – Frieze London, Frieze Masters, Frieze New York, Frieze Los Angeles and Frieze Seoul, the modern and contemporary art platform has established itself as one of the world’s leading voices in contemporary culture. Recognized for being avant-garde, creative and innovative, the fair immediately won over the Breguet manufacture, which was quick to identify the common values between the two organizations.
“Our brand has always been close to the world of art. Whether through our founder who created the neo-classical style that inspired modern watchmaking or through our craftsmen who, within our manufacture, perpetuate the ancestral know-how of dial and movement decoration. Forming a partnership with a fair such as Frieze, which showcases the talents of today and tomorrow, is meaningful to Breguet. We are happy and proud to start this partnership,” says Lionel a Marca, CEO of Breguet.
Emily Glazebrook, Commercial Director of Frieze, added: “We are delighted to launch our new global partnership with Breguet at Frieze New York 2022 by debuting our collaboration with a new commission by artist Pablo Bronstein. Breguet has strong ties to the visual arts, and much like Frieze, is founded upon an enduring appreciation of innovation, creativity and quality.”
Visitors to the exhibition will have the opportunity to discover the art of Breguet’s craftsman via a demonstration of guillochage, a tool used by the artisans of the manufacture to create the various decorations appearing on the movements of timepieces. A distinct hallmark of the House, guillochage is a technique introduced around 1786 in watchmaking by Abraham-Louis Breguet. In addition to the aesthetic aspect that these decorations brought to the dials, the guillochage captured dust and allowed better readability of the dial. Today, this decoration, which requires meticulous work, is still carried out in the traditional way, with the irreplaceable guilloché lathe, more than a century old in design.
The new partnership is rooted in Frieze’s introduction between Breguet and the artist Pablo Bronstein, who will collaborate with the brand to create artworks especially for Breguet’s lounge at each fair in 2022 and Frieze Los Angeles in 2023. The commissions will portray Bronstein’s response to Breguet’s world and heritage, exploring the interrelation of art, design, craft and technology through history.
While at the fair, visitors will have the opportunity to admire an old and historical “Souscription” pocket watch from the collections of the Breguet Museum. It was in 1797 that Abraham-Louis Breguet had the idea of launching a refined and minimalist pocket watch, equipped with a single hand and an enamel dial, named ‘Souscription” because the buyer paid a quarter of the price upon ordering their future purchase. This is a timepiece that inspired the contemporary Tradition collection, which will also be exhibited.
Since the beginning, Breguet has consistently distinguished itself at the forefront of world watchmaking, thanks to the avant-garde spirit of its founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet. An outstanding scientist, technician and designer, he is considered the “creator” of the neoclassical style. While the fashion in Paris at this time was baroque, the company’s founder favoured sobriety and imposed a neoclassical style that was trailblazing for its time. In addition, many artists are part of the brand’s clientele and some have even been inspired by Breguet in their works, such is the case of the painter Hans Erni who placed the founder of Breguet, Abraham-Louis, at the center of his work “Philosophy of the Measurement of Time”.
Since then, Breguet has never ceased to appreciate art in all its forms, especially in its workshops in the Vallée de Joux of Switzerland, where the brand’s watchmakers continue a long tradition of expertise, particularly in the fields of engraving, angling, enamelling and guilloché.