A spiritual basis for creativity, happiness, a new way of life, reasoning, thinking, and being intrinsically motivated and also inspired by Alex Katiraie – Virtual Mentoring Is Available ($60 per hour) using Zoom on Weekends only. Call (424) 200-2328

Creativity is the essential ingredient of happiness. Creativity traits are in all of us. The creative spirit needs to be nurtured intrinsically. We will show you how.

Practice 1

Please follow the instructions on the image below. This is not a trick or any other form of fooling your brain. In fact your brain sees the right pattern based on your intuition. We will explain why after.

Follow the instructions:

1) Relax and concentrate on the 4 small dots in the middle of the picture for about 20 secs.
2) Then, take a look at a wall near you ( any smooth, single colored surface)
3) You will see a circle of light developing
4) Start blinking your eyes a couple of times and you will see a figure emerging…
5) What do you see? Moreover, who do you see?

What creates the right image?

Focusing on the four dots, your peripheral vision and the power of your intuition have already created the picture. Since this seems like a puzzle, notice you are intrinsically motivated. Curiosity is intrinsic.

When you blink or close your eyes, you are no longer focusing, yet absorbed, and your mind is relaxed; your intuition is in charge and you transfer the correct image to your mind. This is the power of intuition (or the insights from the unconscious mind) that helps with the creative process. Even though simple, what you experienced covers almost all the aspects of the creative process. It covers from concentration and focusing, to still being absorbed in the process and yet achieving creativity. Focus, then relax mind and yet to be absorbed to let intuition to to do its job – is the essence of creativity. The exercise above engages many aspects of mind including attention, awareness, intuition, intrinsic motivations, curiosity, subconscious mind, and finally the creative mind.  In this book we discuss Mindfulness and Meditation extensively.  Why?  Because they will give you tremendous skills in focusing.  Most of the times we use our hands to be creative.  That does not mean our eyes cannot be creative either.

So why can’t we solve all the problems this easily?  First and most probably we have not accumulated enough patterns (in forms of relevant experience) for our intuition to work.  Second, it is possible that we are not focusing properly and correctly and we experience distortions from damaging or irrelevant information.  It is also possible that we are confusing several information that might not be related.  Please do the practice in next two videos.

All these three practices involved peripheral vision.  In first practice we did distort the image but we let your peripheral vision focus on distorted image properly.  We gave your peripheral vision one pure information even though distorted.

In the next two practices we gave (or force) your peripheral vision confusing information even though the original images were not distorted.  In first practice your peripheral vision did not have any problems using intuition.  In the next two your peripheral vision could not use intuition properly.  In other words once you are presenting your brain with confusing information, your intuition cannot help you properly.  So what should you do?  Eliminate the information that hinders you.  Remember once you thought you had a good idea and fiends, cousins, or relatives kind of discouraged you?  This is when you are presented with distorted information.  Most successful people are capable of focusing on the relevant information and not let their intuition gets distorted by irrelevant information.  People know of these practices as Optical Illusions.  This is  true.  But there is no fooling involved.  Even though they are Optical Illusions, there are strong sciences behind them that directly involve peripheral vision and brain.

Let me give you another simple example.  If you can run 100 meters in 12 seconds using your Nike shoe and 100 meters in 12 second using your Adidas shoe, how long does it takes you to run 100 meters using your New Balance shoe?  Notice we are giving you irrelevant information and it might make you think a bit more before you answer correctly.  You might even search Google to see if in fact New Balance might be better for running than Nike or Adidas.  Here is another one.  Running electricity in your house on average is costing you 100 Dollars per month while your Dad is doing it and your sister is sleeping.  How much does it cost if your sister is not sleeping and you are doing it while doing exact things as your dad?

Notice also there is really not much nobility in being an actor (Semi Joke).  In fact, there is another video that shows the subject do not need to be familiar faces such as actors. See the Seinfeld video below.

 

Now watch:

 

 “The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” ~ Albert Einstein

But what is intuition? Intuition is the brain drawing on past experiences and external cues to make a decision.  When you experience intuition, it happens so fast that the reaction is at a non conscious level. All we are aware is of a general feeling that something is right or wrong or should be in a certain way.

Notice once you realized the picture, you experienced an Aha! moment. This creative process is an example of a mind map where you focused, visualized, found virtue, achieved creativity, and finally experienced an Aha! moment or an inspiring moment.

Creativity and Inspiration Mind Map

Intrinsic Motivation + Concentration/Focusing or strong form of Infatuation/Intrigued/Absorbed —--> Imagination (Visualization) + Intuition —--> finding Virtue —--> Strong feelings of inspiration, accomplishments or the Aha! moment

More than creativity, this method is about achieving happiness, feeling inspired and being intrinsically motivated. It is about creating conditions that you can easily inspire your mind and be intrinsically motivated. Once you are inspired, everything including problem solving, creativity, self learning, intuition gathering, and high level of achievements are possible.

Don’t you wish in every difficult situation you could create an Aha moment where the solution comes to you in an inspiring and creative way? Our purpose is to make you feel inspired, happier, and creative as easy as the above experience.

You can achieve creativity in almost any situation if you train your mind properly and try to be intrinsically motivated. You might not become the next Steve Jobs or Picasso. That’s not our promise. However, we promise that experiencing small creative and inspired situations bring you happiness and success. We promise you will experience a new sense of freedom, autonomy, and make new friends easily. You will earn your colleagues’ respect and perhaps advance to your next opportunity.  The level of your happiness, success, we believe, is in how much you find what-you-do, and why you do what-you-do, noble and virtuous. In other words how deeply you are intrinsically motivated and how much you find virtue in what you do and why you do what you do. The more the better for you.

What is finding Virtue?  Finding Virtue in the subject is not exactly the same as “liking” of the subject. Liking is not deep enough for the creative process. Steve Jobs did not just like inventing personal computers. Steve Jobs believed creating affordable home computers was noble and virtuous. Mandela and Martin Luther King did not just find fighting for freedom and equal rights likable. They believed being free and equal is noble and virtuous. John F. Kennedy believed that public engagement was key to a thriving democracy and that serving in public office was a noble endeavor. Kennedy-era programs like the Peace Corps inspired a generation to help repair what was broken both here and abroad. 

President Carter has led the international campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease

President Carter has redefined the role of an ex-President by using his status to help broker peace and fight disease worldwide. The near-total eradication of Guinea Worm Disease is his most successful effort yet. The economic impact of Guinea worm is huge. The disease coincides with the harvest and planting seasons, when the demand for labor is highest and workers need to consume large amounts of water, leading to re-infection. One study in southeastern Nigeria showed that rice farmers lost the equivalent of $20 million per year because they couldn’t work. The same study put the school absenteeism rate over 60 percent, either because the children suffered from Guinea worm or had to labor for family members who did.

Since 1986, The Carter Center has led the international campaign to eradicate Guinea worm disease, working closely with ministries of health and local communities. Guinea worm disease is set to become the second human disease in history, after smallpox, to be eradicated. There were just 22 cases of the devastating Guinea worm disease in 2015, according to a human rights organization.

Introduction to our method

Our method consists of:

1) Mindfulness to cut through and step out of negativity and mental obstacles, and to be able to find Virtue.

2) Finding new intrinsic motivations through autonomy and observation skills.

3) Finding creativity from finding Virtue.

4) Even achieving innovations.

In the first chapter we discuss the relevance of Mind Map and how to achieve it. In the second chapter we examine a practice based on this method.

Without creativity (or originality), the experience of the Aha moment might not be possible. Perhaps it is the feeling of having been able to create something new and original that brings out the Aha moment.

Broad definition of the mind map:

Finding Virtue (finding virtue with inner truth and passion)—--> Concentration + Focusing or strong form of Infatuation/Intrigued (Intrinsic Motivations) ——> Imagination (Visualization) + Insights + Learning + Intuition ———--> Goal Setting + Hard Work + Determination + Teamwork + Creativity ——-> Strong feelings of accomplishments, inspiration and originality

Power of Intrinsic Motivations and Intuition in the creative process

In the exercise above intuition came to us easy. The purpose of this method is to facilitate gathering pattern of intuition naturally and easily. Or even build new pattern of intuition. Intuition is what you add to the less than complete information. Once you realize you cannot collect the total information, you will then rely on your intuition. You will add your feelings and your gut reaction to the creative process. Intuition means relinquishing control of the linear-over-thinking and trusting the vision of the unconscious. Intuition has depth since it allows to organize information into unanticipated new ideas. You will see that in an intuitive or mindful state new information, like new melodies, flow easily into awareness. This new information can be full of surprises and might not always make sense. Intuition unifies all the activities of the Mind Map.

We are more open to insights from the unconscious mind in moments when we are not thinking of anything in particular. That is why daydreams are so useful in the quest for motivation. Have you ever heard when for some people the answer will eventually come to them somehow during the early morning or even taking a shower. This is the time you allow your intuition to create the answer.

More on Intuition

The ability to intuit is acquired through experience and learning and relies upon a mental pattern recognition processes. In an experiment chess grand masters and novices were each shown the layout of pieces from an actual chess game and asked to reproduce it.  The chess experts reproduced the pattern with 95% accuracy while the novices did this with only 25% accuracy. The same task when repeated with the chess pieces arranged randomly resulted in both experts and novices scoring around 25% in terms of accuracy of recall.

Chess grand masters hold in their memory not only a set of patterns, but also information about the significance of the pattern.

The intuitive ability of an expert is derived in large part from the large numbers of patterns held in long-term memory. For example, chess grand masters hold 50,000 patterns in long-term storage. The superior memory of a chess expert is not photographic, but requires arrangements of chess pieces that can be encoded using associations with the experts’ extensive knowledge of chess. This is typically acquired over 10 years or more of experience and practice.

Expert’s intuitive ability is also derived from their capacity to recognize salient environmental cues and rapidly match those cues to commonly occurring patterns, responding in ways that lead to effective problem solving and decision making.

Intuitive decision making entails the use of experience to recognize key patterns that indicate the likely dynamics of a given situation in order to conduct the ‘mental simulations’ required to rapidly evaluate the alternatives and select a singular course of action.

By imagining people and objects ‘consciously and transforming those objects through several transitions’, experienced decision makers are able to project how the present will move into the future and hence are able to make useful predictions.

Our intention is to create mental conditions to facilitate the process of gathering new pattern of intuition for creativity in every situation.

Do we use our intuition enough? Unfortunately the answer is no. It all starts with schooling. Schools unfortunately don’t teach how to trust intuition. Instead we learn a sort of absolute knowledge. We learn to look for complete information or the one-right-answer. But in real life, even after you gather all the relevant information there might still be a gap. And that’s where you have to add your intuition. Most people faced with the gap give up. But hopefully not you or the future you! After you discover our method you learn to love these gaps. They become little Nobilified (finding virtue) challenges.

It is by logic that we prove. It is by intuition that we discover,” Henri Poincare

Bach spoke of the effortless flow of musical ideas. Asked how he found his melodies, he said, “The problem is not finding them, it’s—when getting up in the morning and getting out of bed—not stepping on them.”

Creative people learn to be or perhaps naturally are:

1) Intrinsically motivated; Mindful; Find the task Noble and Virtuous; Amazing Concentration Skills, Visualization Skills, and Easy Self Learners

2) Have unusual, unorthodox, attention and observation skills

3) Challenge seeking; always searching for nobility and virtuosity in the task (it must be a noble task). If not it is not virtuous or noble it is not worth doing

4) Do not take No for an answer

5) Risk Takers; intuitive

6) Kind of Eccentric in an intelligent way and use their eccentricity in the right and healthy way

7) Confront obstacles rather than avoiding them

8) Authentic; free; curious

9) Not worried about failure, feeling shame and/or embrace their vulnerable side

10) Child Like; easily connect with the like minded

11) Easily reprogram their mind

12) In complete control of what should input to their mind (observation again) and how to make sense of it correctly for creativity

13) Easily incubate creativity through visualization and imagination

Human consciousness, perhaps, acts more or less like an effective information processing system. To get the most out of your consciousness you have to improve your observation and listening skills (all the inputs). And, also reprogram the machinery of consciousness to output the right creative process. We will show you how.

We want to train your mind to learn to move from the left side to the right side of the illustration above to feel inspired, to get absorbed easily in new tasks, to learn to create new pattern of intuition easily, to innovate and to create.

Imagine a chocolate factory. To produce chocolate in this factory, the input must be chocolate ingredients. The machinery is also must be set up to produce chocolate or chocolate producing machinery. Now to change the output of this factory you need to do two things. First change the input to factory and also change the machinery. Mr. Covey in his book called Seven Habits brings an interesting example. A man in a bus sees bunch of kids who are loud and misbehaving. He gets frustrated and he is angry. First let’s define the input. The input is the disturbing noise of bunch of rowdy kids. The output is anger from a part of mind that is unbalanced and judges kids that are undisciplined and should be restrained. Then the man finds out that kids’ mother had just passed away. Notice the input has now changed. It is no longer just the disturbing noise but is defined as subconscious defiance. It is amazing how fast the machinery also changes to accepting and tolerance.  The machinery actually becomes a part of brain that intuitively is sympathetic. He is now using his empathic part of his brain.  You can say the empathic part of his brain takes over the part of the brain that is disturbed and unbalanced.  But notice the intuition behind both parts of the brain.

Let us change the premise of the situation.  Imagine this person could intuitively ask himself, “Maybe I should not get angry”.  “Maybe there is more behind this situation.”  If that happened, again the results is based on his broader developed intuition.

Next time you find yourself in similar situation ask yourself what is the input I am receiving. Next ask yourself what is the machinery or what part of my brain is processing this input? Can I intuitively process it in a different way if I analyze the input in a different way? Imagine you are at a game and someone is accusing you of cheating while you are completely honest. You get angry. What is the input? What is the machinery? How can you change the input? How can you change the machinery?

Our method is all about showing you better observation skills and also better information processing techniques.

Once you are able to move from the left side of the image above to the right side in every situation, you feel inspired and can achieve amazing goals. You are now ready to create new pattern of intuition and to trust your intuition in every situation and tinker with your creative side. We will show how this transformation is possible. I like to emphasize that our left and right side in the illustration above is not the same as the left hemisphere of the brain or the right hemisphere of the brain. Our illustration above is just a way to show how our consciousness usually functions in two modes. Based on past life situations and our past observations sometimes we process information from the left side. We will show we can put a stop to this for good.

An inspired and perfect conditioned consciousness creates virtuous challenges to perhaps make life better (inventions) or just to create for the aesthetic pleasure (arts) or love of the passion (dance, photography, woodcarving, rock climbing,….). Once these challenges are created, we attack them with no mercy to achieve the Aha moment. The output or the results of these virtuous challenges are usually hard work, timelessness, and foresights.

Once on the right side, a curious mind needs virtuous challenges. You are challenging newly created pattern of intuition to excel itself or to complete itself. It more like: let’s see if I am right.
Child Like (not childish) Thinking Pays
Be Authentic, Vulnerable, Let Mindfulness Solve
Simon Sinek: How great leaders inspire action
Secret To Creativity: Be Authentic

Thomas Paine, A True Social Entrepreneur and Inventor

On July 17, 1980, Ronald Reagan stood before the Republican National Convention and the American people to accept his party’s nomination for president of the United States. That night Reagan was quoting Paine’s words of 1776, from the pamphlet Common Sense: “We have it in our power to begin the world over again.”!

Paine was not like George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, or John Adams. Endowing American experience with democratic impulses and aspirations.

Contributing fundamentally to the American Revolution, the French Revolution, and the struggles of British workers in the Industrial Revolution, Thomas Paine was one of the most remarkable political writers of the modern world. Yet this son of an English artisan did not become a revolutionary until his arrival in America in late 1774 at the age of thirty-seven. Even then he had never expected such things to happen. But struck by America’s startling contradictions, magnificent possibilities, and wonderful energies, and moved by the spirit and determination of its people to resist British authority, he dedicated himself to the American cause, and through his pamphlet Common Sense and the American Crisis papers, he emboldened Americans to turn their colonial rebellion into a revolutionary war, defined the new nation in a democratically expansive and progressive fashion, and articulated an American identity charged with exceptional purpose and promise. Five feet ten inches tall, with a full head of dark hair and striking blue eyes, Paine was inquisitive, gregarious, and compassionate, yet strong-willed, combative, and ever ready to argue about and fight for the good and the right.

At war’s end Paine was a popular hero, known by all as “Common Sense.” Joel Barlow, American diplomat and poet, who had served as a chaplain to the Continental Army, wrote: “without the pen of Paine, the sword of Washington would have been wielded in vain.” And yet Paine was not finished. To him, America possessed extraordinary political, economic, and cultural potential. But he did not see that potential as belonging to Americans alone.

Reared an Englishman, adopted by America, and honored as a Frenchman, Paine often called himself a “citizen of the world.” But the United States always remained paramount in his thoughts and evident in his labors, and his later writings continued to shape the young nation’s events and developments. And yet as great as his contributions were, they were not always appreciated, and his affections were not always reciprocated. Paine’s democratic arguments, style, and appeal-as well as his social background, confidence, and single-mindedness-antagonized many among the powerful, propertied, prestigious, and pious and made him enemies even within the ranks of his fellow patriots. (Adapted from Harvey J. Kaye, Thomas Paine and the Promise of the America

First proposed seal of the United States, 1776
First proposed seal of the United States, 1776

Founding fathers

First proposed seal of the United States, 1776

On July 4, 1776, immediately after the Declaration of Independence was officially passed, the Continental Congress asked John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin to design a seal that would clearly represent a symbol for the new United States. They chose the symbol of Moses leading the Israelites to freedom. The founding fathers inscribed the words of Moses on the Liberty Bell: “Proclaim Liberty thro’ all the Land to all the Inhabitants thereof.” (Levit. 25)

Upon the death of George Washington in 1799, two thirds of his eulogies referred to him as “America’s Moses,” with one orator saying that “Washington has been the same to us as Moses was to the Children of Israel.”

Benjamin Franklin, in 1788, saw the difficulties that some of the newly independent American states were having in forming a government, and proposed that until a new code of laws could be agreed to, they should be governed by “the laws of Moses,” as contained in the Old Testament. He justified his proposal by explaining that the laws had worked in biblical times: “The Supreme Being… having rescued them from bondage by many miracles, performed by his servant Moses, he personally delivered to that chosen servant, in the presence of the whole nation, a constitution and code of laws for their observance.

John Adams, America’s 2nd president, stated why he relied on the laws of Moses over Greek philosophy for establishing the Constitution: “As much as I love, esteem, and admire the Greeks, I believe the Hebrews have done more to enlighten and civilize the world. Moses did more than all their legislators and philosophers. Swedish historian Hugo Valentin credited Moses as the “first to proclaim the rights of man.”

Moses is depicted in several U.S. government buildings because of his legacy as a lawgiver. In the Library of Congress stands a large statue of Moses alongside a statue of the Apostle Paul. Moses is one of the 23 lawgivers depicted in marble bas-reliefs in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives in the United States Capitol. The plaque’s overview states: “Moses (c. 1350–1250 B.C.) Hebrew prophet and lawgiver; transformed a wandering people into a nation; received the Ten Commandments.”

The other twenty-two figures have their profiles turned to Moses, which is the only forward-facing bas-relief.

Statue by Michelangelo Buonarotti — in Basilica San Pietro in Vincoli, Rome

Sculpture in the U.S. House of Representatives.
Sculpture in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Moses appears eight times in carvings that ring the Supreme Court Great Hall ceiling. His face is presented along with other ancient figures such as Solomon, the Greek god Zeus and the Roman goddess of wisdom, Minerva. The Supreme Court building’s east pediment depicts Moses holding two tablets. Tablets representing the Ten Commandments can be found carved in the oak courtroom doors, on the support frame of the courtroom’s bronze gates and in the library woodwork. A controversial image is one that sits directly above the chief justice’s head. In the center of the 40-foot-long Spanish marble carving is a tablet displaying Roman numerals I through X, with some numbers partially hidden.

In a metaphorical sense in the Christian tradition, a “Moses” has been referred to as the leader who delivers the people from a terrible situation. Among the presidents known to have used the symbolism of Moses were Harry S. Truman, Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama, who referred to his supporters as “the Moses generation.”

Winston Churchill, in his essay called “Moses—the Leader of a People”, published in 1931, used the story of Moses to convince the British population of its need for strong leadership, and that “human success depends on the favor of God.” He saw Moses as more than a metaphor, however, rejecting as “myth” the assertions that Moses was only a legendary figure.

He described him as “the supreme law-giver, who received from God that remarkable code upon which the religious, moral, and social life of the nation was so securely founded… [and] one of the greatest human beings with the most decisive leap forward ever discernable in the human story.” Churchill also noted the relevance of the story of Moses to modern Britain: “We may believe that they happened to a people not so very different from ourselves…”

In his essay, Churchill implied that the Ten Commandments were a primary set of laws, “Here [Mount Sinai] Moses received from [God] the tables of those fundamental laws which were henceforth to be followed, with occasional lapses, by the highest forms of human society.”

In subsequent years, theologians linked the Ten Commandments with the formation of early democracy. Scottish theologian William Barclay described them as “the universal foundation of all things… the law without which nationhood is impossible. …Our society is founded upon it. Pope Francis addressed the U.S. Congress in 2015 stating that all people need to “keep alive their sense of unity by means of just legislation… [and] the figure of Moses leads us directly to God and thus to the transcendent dignity of the human being. Source: Wikipedia

My Collection of 10 Commandments

Abraham-Louis Breguet

Every story of a great watch Maison begins with its founder. Abraham-Louis Breguet was born on 10 January 1747 in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. He was only 11 years old when his father died, but his mother remarried to her late husband’s cousin Joseph Tattet whose family were already watchmakers with a sales office in Paris. In 1762, Tattet took Breguet to Paris where he became an apprentice to a watchmaker at Versailles – the identity of this master watchmaker is unknown.

It is speculated that after Breguet completed his apprenticeship, he may have worked for horological greats Ferdinand Berthoud or Jean-Antoine Lepine, but he certainly studied mathematics at the Collège Mazarin under his mentor Abbé Marie. Through his role as tutor to the children of the Comte d’Artois, Marie introduced Breguet to the aristocratic families that will later become his clientele.

You might know that Breguet is famous for inventing the tourbillon, that it was the first watch company to feature the guilloché technique on its dials, or that founder Abraham-Louis Breguet is widely regarded as the best watchmaker of his time.

But what you probably didn’t know is: Napoleon Bonaparte was a client before he became emperor, Breguet made the most complicated pocket watch ever created for Marie Antoinette (completed, unfortunately, after her execution), and the family was later known for making airplanes and bringing the telephone to France.

Take a walk down memory lane as we retrace some of Breguet’s biggest historical coups in Paris and beyond.

1783-1827: Breguet Creates the most complicated pocket watch ever created for Marie Antoinette

As is fitting for one of the most infamous royals in history, Marie Antoinette’s pocket watch was the most extraordinary timekeeping invention of its time—and remains one of the most complicated pocket watches ever created to this day. It’s also symbolic of her very short and very complicated time on this earth. The queen first commissioned the pocket watch in 1783, requesting that the watchmaker create a timepiece with every complication and every refinement known to man at the time. There was to be no limit to its cost or construction time and gold was expected to be used wherever possible.

The self-winding watch includes a minute repeater, a full perpetual calendar, the equation of time, a power reserve indicator, a metallic thermometer, an on-command independent seconds hand, a small sweep seconds hand, a lever escapement, a gold Breguet overcoil and a shockproofing. It has been likened to shrinking a cathedral clock into a pocket watch. Unfortunately, it would take 44 years to create this elaborate timepiece—it had to be finished by Abraham-Louis Breguet’s son—and Marie Antoinette would never live to see it. She was beheaded during the French Revolution on October 16, 1793.

The pocket watch currently resides in the L.A. Mayer Museum for Islamic Arts in Jerusalem.

Breguet innovated by producing the first automatic wristwatches in the world, delivered to the Queen of Naples who, at the time, was a relative of Napoleon. The Breguet archives in Paris have meticulous records of the brand’s clients going back to the 18th century. In addition to famous clients such as kings and emperors of France, the Breguet archives have detailed accounts of transactions to more modern figures such as Winston Churchill as well the romanticized Marie Antoinette who purchased her final Breguet pocket watch from jail awaiting the guillotine during the French Revolution. Stories about Breguet products and each of these famed personalities are each independent discussions unto themselves.

Invention of the perpetual watch

Today, it remains impossible to state with any certainty which watchmaker invented the self-winding watch – known originally as the “perpetual watch”. Louis Perrelet seems to have come up with the principle of the rotor, but Breguet used another kind of moving weight, known as the “masse à secousses”, to power two barrels that supplied a “power reserve” (the term had never been used before) of 60 hours. Breguet worked with two barrels for a long time, even using four towards the end of his career.

The concept of the oscillating weight eventually won the day, but Breguet had other inventions up his sleeve. For his repeating watches, a particular speciality of Breguet, he replaced the traditional gong that lay across the rear plate with curved gongs wound around the movement. These are still in use today.

The history of Breguet

The history of the Breguet brand spans four centuries and is so rich of inventions and innovations that represents an essential part of the entire history of watchmaking.

Given the amount of relevant events that mark Breguet’s history, we will trace the path from the origins to the present days in two articles.

The brand takes it name from its founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet who was born in Neuchatel, Switzerland, on 10 January 1747.

His ancestors were French and, since they were protestants, they moved to Switzerland in 1685. In fact, following this revocation of the Edict of Nantes (which in 1598 put an end to the religious wars that had afflicted France during the second half of the 16th century), an intense persecution of Protestants had taken place again in France. In spite of the prohibition to leave the country, around 400,000 protestants – including the Breguet – flee France at risk of their lives.

When he was just eleven, his father Jonas-Louis died. Soon after, his mother Suzanne-Marguerite Bollein remarried to her husband’s cousin, Joseph Tattet, who came from a family of watchmakers.

In 1762 Tattet took Breguet to Paris – where, in the meanwhile, things had calmed down a bit – where he was apprenticed to a Versailles master watchmaker whose name remains unknown.

After completing his apprenticeship, he worked for two of the most acclaimed watchmakers of their time like Ferdinand Berthoud (1727-1807) and Jean-Antoine Lépine (1720-1814).

At the same time, having realized that mathematics was essential to success in his work, he kept furthering his education by taking evening classes on the subject at the Collège Mazarin, under Abbé Marie. Impressed by his talent and intelligence, Marie had the important role to introduce Breguet to the French Court and the aristocracy gravitating around it, later to become Breguet’s clientele.

Although facing a difficult time for the loss of his mother, his step-father and his mentor Marie in a very short timeframe, Breguet was able to take care of his younger sister and finally, in 1775, establish his own business at No. 39, Quai de l’Horloge, in the Ile de la Cité, just on the banks of the River Seine near Notre Dame. He was 28.In that same year, he had married Cécile Marie-Louise L’Huillier, the daughter of an established Parisian bourgeois family. Most probably, part of the capital required to establish the business came from her dowry.

I am extremely proud to own a 53 mm Abraham Louis Breguet Quarter Repeater and Music Box. I spent more than $32,000 just to restore and clean the watch. Why? Because you can never place a price on true creativity. (Kamyar Alexander Katiraie)

Thanks to Abbé Marie’s introductions, Breguet quickly started receiving his first orders from the aristocracy, including a self-winding watch for the Duc d’Orleans in 1780 and another one for Marie-Antoinette in 1782.

His self-winding or “perpétuelle” watches brought him considerable fame both at the court of Versailles and throughout Europe. Although he was not the first to produce a self-winding watch, most experts agree in saying that he produced the first watch of this kind that was truly reliable and effective.

Just as an example, with regard to the self-winding watches that we mentioned above, we know from records that Breguet sold sixty “perpétuelle” from 1787 to 1823. And while there are no records for the years between 1780 and 1787, we can assume that other twenty or thirty pieces were produced in that timeframe.

But those were dangerous times with the French revolution storm quickly approaching, especially for a man that was considered too close to the aristocracy and the royal court.

Luckily, Breguet had become a close friend of revolutionary leader Jean-Paul Marat, whose sister Albertine made watch hands for the watchmaker. According to tradition, Breguet had saved Marat from an angry crowd that had gathered outside the house of a common friend: he had the idea to dress his friend as an old woman and this way the two could successfully escape.

When Marat discovered that Breguet was marked for the guillotine, he arranged for a safe conduct pass which allowed Abraham-Louis to leave Paris and travel to Geneva in 1793. From there, he moved to Le Locle where he set up a small workshop with only a handful of employees. This way, he was able to continue working for the royal families of Russia and England, King George III in particular.

In 1795 the political scene in France stabilised and Breguet returned to Paris where he found his factory in ruins. Friends, and amongst them chiefly the Choiseul-Praslin family, helped him to rebuild his business which he set up again in Quai de l’Horloge.

The Army and the Navy were in urgent need of reliable timepieces so Breguet was welcomed back. He was even compensated for the losses experienced during the Terror and obtained that his staff be exempt from military service in order to accelerate the recovery of his factory.

Although Breguet’s activity was seriously hit in the years of the exile, he had used his time to develop many of the exceptional ideas and inventions that were implemented in the following years quickly achieving great success.

Breguet’s excellence was not just in technique and style. He was also a great marketer. An example: in 1797, the watchmaker created one of the most famous example of single-hand pocket watch, the “Souscription”.  It was in response to a commission from the Queen of Naples that, in 1810, Breguet conceived and made the first wristwatch ever known, the Breguet watch number 2639, an exceptionally thin, oval repeater watch with complications, mounted on a wristlet of hair and gold thread.

There are no sketches in the archives to indicate its exterior. Fortunately for us, the watch appears in a register of repairs of what we now call after-sales service. The entry, dated March 8th 1849, notes that Countess Rasponi, “residing in Paris at 63, Rue d’Anjou,” had sent watch number 2639 for repair. The countess was none other than Louise Murat, born 1805, the fourth and last child of Joachim and Caroline Murat, who in 1825 married Count Giulio Rasponi.

It was again brought in for repair in 1855, which is the last trace Breguet has of it. Today, it is unknown if the Queen of Naples watch still exists as no public or private collection lists it on its inventory.

Breguet’s success made him wealthy. During his life, his firm produced around 17,000 timepieces. Nonetheless, he always maintained a simple life style. He was known for his kindness and good humour.

Among the numerous recognitions achieved during his lifetime, Abraham-Louis Breguet was awarded by Louis XVIII with the official title of chronometer maker to the French Royal Navy. This was probably the most prestigious title a horologist could hope to receive, given that the very concept of marine chronometry implied scientific knowledge. It also involved playing a crucial role for the country, as marine chronometers were of capital importance for fleets by making it possible to calculate ships’ positions at sea.

Breguet became a full member of the French Academy of Sciences in 1816 and received the Chevalier of the Legion of Honour from the hands of Louis XVIII in 1819.

After the death of Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1823, his only son Antoine-Louis Breguet (1776-1858) – a highly talented watchmaker himself – took over the company which kept growing and expanding.

The brand Breguet maintained top quality standards and kept innovating.  Among the inventions in this period we can mention the first watch with keyless winding and the sympathique clock.

The watch no. 4952 created for Count Charles de L’Espine in 1830 had a knurled button that served a dual purpose: setting the hands and rewinding the watch. With it, the modern winding crown was born.

However, Antoine-Louis failed to patent this revolutionary mechanism and ten years later a major Genevan watchmaking firm filed a patent application for a similar invention.

The Breguet Classique Chronométrie, winner of the “Aiguille d’Or”, the highest distinction honouring the finest timepiece of the year at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve 2014

Alexander

Alexander, born in 356 BCE, was the son of Phillip II (382-336 BCE), the King of Macedonia in northern Greece (and considered a barbarian by the southern Greek city states). Phillip created a powerful, professional army which forcibly united the fractious Greek city-states into one empire.

From an early age, Alexander displayed tremendous military talent and was appointed as a commander in his father’s army at the age of 18. Having conquered all of Greece, Phillip was about to embark on a campaign to invade Greece’s arch-enemy, the Persian Empire. Before he could invade Persia, Phillip was assassinated, possibly by Alexander, who then became king in 336BCE. Two years later in 334 BCE, he crossed the Hellspont (in modern-day Turkey) with 45,000 men and invaded the Persian Empire.

In three colossal battles – Granicus, Issus and Gaugamela – that took place between 334 and 331, Alexander brilliantly (and often recklessly) led his army to victory against Persian armies that may have outnumbered his own as much as ten to one. By 331 BCE, the Persian Empire was defeated, the Persian Emperor Darius was dead, and Alexander was the undisputed ruler of the Mediterranean. His military campaign lasted 12 years and took him and his army 10,000 miles to the Indus River in India.

Only the weariness of his men and Alexander’s untimely death in 323BCE at the age of 32 ended the Greek conquest of the known world. It is said that when Alexander looked at his empire, he wept for there was nothing more to conquer. His vast empire did not survive his death, but fragmented into three large chunks centered in Greece, Egypt, and Syria and controlled by his former generals.

At its largest, Alexander’s empire stretched from Egypt to India. He built six Greek cities, all named Alexandria. (Only Alexandria in Egypt still survives) These cities, and the Greeks who settled in them, brought Greek culture to the center of the oldest civilizations of Mesopotamia.

The Greeks were not only military imperialists but also cultural imperialists. Greek soldiers and settlers brought their way of life – their language, art, architecture, literature, and philosophy – to Middle East. When Greek culture merged with the culture of the Middle East, it created a new cultural hybrid – Hellenism (Hellas is the Greek word for Greece) – whose impact would be far greater and last far longer than the brief period of Alexander’s empire. Whether through the idea of the pitched battle, art, architecture or philosophy, Hellenism’s influence on the Roman Empire, Christianity, and the West was monumental. But it is the interaction between the Jews and the Greeks and the impact of Hellenism on Judaism that we want to take a closer look at.

Detour To Israel

During his military campaign against Persia, Alexander took a detour to the south, conquering Tyre and then Egypt via what is today Israel. There is a fascinating story about Alexander’s first encounter with the Jews of Israel, who were subjects of the Persian Empire.

In both accounts the High Priest of the Temple in Jerusalem, fearing that Alexander would destroy the city, went out to meet him before he arrived at the city. The narrative describes how Alexander, upon seeing the High Priest, dismounted and bowed to him. (Alexander rarely, if ever, bowed to anyone). In Josephus’s account, when asked by his general, Parmerio, to explain his actions, Alexander answered, “I did not bow before him, but before that God who has honored him with the high Priesthood; for I saw this very person in a dream, in this very apparel.”

Alexander interpreted the vision of the High Priest as a good omen and thus spared Jerusalem, peacefully absorbing the Land of Israel into his growing empire. As tribute to his benign conquest, the Sages decreed that the Jewish firstborn of that time be named Alexander – which remains a Jewish name to this very day. And the date of their encounter, the 25th of Tevet, was declared a minor holiday.

Jews and Greeks

Thus began one the most interesting and complex cultural relationships in the ancient world. The Greeks had never met anyone like the Jews, and the Jews had never met anyone like the Greeks. The initial interaction seemed to be very positive. To the Jews, the Greeks were a new and exotic culture from the West. They had a profound intellectual tradition that produced philosophers such as Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle (who was Alexander’s tutor for two years). Their love of wisdom, science, art, and architecture set them apart from other cultures the Jews had interacted with. The Greek language was considered so beautiful that the Talmud called it in some ways the most beautiful of all languages and the Rabbis decreed that a Torah scroll could even be written in Greek.