Pierre Augustin Caron de Beaumarchais was only twenty-three when Nattier painted his portrait, but he had already invented an escape mechanism for watches that allowed them to be made substantially more accurate and compact. In the same year he made a watch mounted on a ring for Madame Pompadour. The next year he married Madeleine-Catherine Aubertin, a rich widow who helped him secure a royal office and gave up watchmaking.

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