Philanthropy: The Caliber of Carnegie Hall

As in many of life’s arenas, timing is everything in music. What better partner for the highest platform for classical music in North America than Breguet, the brand founded by horology’s greatest innovator?

By Logan R. Baker

Breguet and the fine arts go together like, well, Abraham-Louis Breguet and horological innovation. That’s why when Breguet and Carnegie Hall announced a partnership a few years back, it was hardly a surprise to anyone in either the classical music or haute horlogerie sphere.

The interior of Carnegie Hall

During the Opening Night Gala that marked the beginning of the 2012/13 performance season for Carnegie Hall, a Breguet wall clock was installed at the front of the Morse Lobby. The timepiece was a special-edition Classique Tourbillon customized by the manufacture—the tourbillon, of course, was patented by Abraham-Louis Breguet himself in 1801. The clock also marked the first significant addition to the main lobby since Carnegie Hall’s 1986 renovation.

In early 2013, five more Breguet timepieces were added throughout the building. Four additional Classique models can be found in Zankel Hall’s Parterre level, the Rohatyn Room, the Shorin Club Room, and the Jacobs Room. A single Reine de Naples clock—which honors Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister Caroline Murat, for whom A.L. Breguet made the first wristwatch—was added at the same time and keeps time above the Café, helping patrons return to their seats from intermission in a timely manner.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Clock in Carnegie Hall Morse Lobby.

Carnegie Hall’s architectural design is known for its timelessness and a steadfast reluctance to change. The interior, which was installed with at-the-time uncommon electricity by architect William Burnet Tuthill in 1891, was the very first building in New York City to be air-cooled—a basement bunker would be filled with ice and installed with fans that blew cold air through a duct system throughout the building. It was also constructed with a blend of plaster, steel, and cast iron, making it one of Manhattan’s first fireproof structures.

Breguet has a long-held tradition of supporting classical music, and its ties run deep: composers such as Arthur Rubinstein, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Gioachino Rossini were all noted patrons of the brand.

The Reine de Naples clock in the Café.

Last year marked Carnegie Hall’s 125th anniversary and its concert series will run through the end of 2017. If you’re in New York City, stop by and enjoy a virtuoso performance while exploring the everlasting efforts of two great men.

Exterior of Carnegie Hall