He became an apprentice in Versailles, France.
During the French Revolutionhe fled in 1792 to Switzerland, returning in 1794 to set up a workshop in Paris, where he died on September 17, 1823. Breguet is credited with dozens of inventions, including improvements to the self-winding watch and the repeater mechanism, the shock absorber, and the tourbillon--a type of escapement that averages out errors of position. His famous spiral hairspring was soon used in most accurate watches. Among the notables for whom he made watches were Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte, the Duke of Wellington, and Alexander I, tsar of Russia. Breguet also made marine chronometers, clocks for military and astronomical purposes, longcase clocks, and metallic thermometers. His pendule sympathique was an accurate clock that set and regulated a special watch for daily use. Breguet was appointed official French nautical horologist in 1807 and was elected to the French Academy of Sciences in 1816. Many of his masterpieces are in public and private collections worldwide.
He entered the French Academy of Sciences in 1816 as a full member.
According to Salomons' biography, Breguet was known for his kindness and good humour. It is recorded that if a workman came to Breguet with a finished piece of work and an invoice for payment, and Breguet was satisfied with the work, then if the invoice ended in a zero, Breguet would add a tail to the zero to make it a '9', thereby enabling the workman to be paid nine francs more than he had asked for. He was also known for his encouragement of his young apprentices, often advising them "Do not be discouraged, or allow failure to dishearten you.
Breguet was allowed to marry in 1775 after finishing his apprenticeship. His wife was Cécile Marie-Louise L'Huillier.