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How do you sell a $2M pocket watch?

Dina Rudick

The sight of armored trucks rolling up to Royal Jewelers in Andover is rather routine, but one afternoon earlier this month came an even more valuable delivery from luxury Swiss watch manufacturer Breguet.

It’s not often that a family-owned store in the suburbs gets chosen to exclusively unveil and sell a $2 million pocket watch, an exact replica of one owned by Count Journiac-Saint-Meard of France in 1794.

“You get kind of moved emotionally by it because, one, it’s just a beautiful, magnificent piece, and, two, it’s because of where it sits historically in watchmaking,” store co-owner Steven B. Leed said.

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Hand-made using the same watchmaking techniques from the late 1700s by Abraham-Louis Breguet, the Breguet N° 5 perpétuelle reproduction is encased in 18 carat yellow gold, with a silver engine-turn dial, moon phases, and power reserve indicator. It measures 54 millimeters in diameter.

While it is not the first replica of the N° 5 issued by Breguet — there are between five to 10 in private collections — it is the only one currently available for private sale, retailing at $1,804,190.

Steven B. Leed, president of Royal Jewelers in Andover, holds a Breguet Hora Mundi.
Steven B. Leed, president of Royal Jewelers in Andover, holds a Breguet Hora Mundi. dina rudick/globe staff

Being the custodian of a rare timepiece comes with the type of security measures most of us have only seen in heist movies, including an aluminum briefcase handcuffed to a burly security guard. Secrecy is at the core of courting a select few collectors.

“It’s not something where you’re standing at the counter playing with it,” Leed said.

Royal Jewelers was chosen by Breguet, part of Swatch Group Ltd., to introduce the N° 5 because in its nearly 70 years in operation, the store has amassed a base of hundreds of collectors globally.

Leed said there is demand for the replica because none of the prior ones has come up for resale or auction and it’s not certain that Breguet will issue another one.

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Currently, the N° 5 is being privately shown to individual collectors. Leed said there is interest from several collectors.


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