Enamel is enjoying something of a renaissance in watch manufacturing. Many companies – from Seiko to Patek – are increasingly turning to the nearly forgotten art to decorate their dials. While it’s a slow and sometimes unforgiving process, the reward for mastering the technique is a uniquely alluring dial with a hue that will never fade. One company that has mastered the craft is Breguet – the gurus of guilloche also produce watches with some of the finest enamel dials in the industry. In fact, just this year they updated two of their classically styled pieces – the elegant Classique 7147, which we looked at earlier this year, and this more complex Classique 7787. Breguet has exchanged these models’ traditionally engine-turned dials for a pair of pearly whites. Both watches share the same style of grand feu enamelled dial, with Breguet numerals, whimsical star minute track, and stylised fleur-de-lis hour markers. However, there are a few extra details on the 7787, starting with a power reserve indicator that sweeps across the dial between three and six o’clock. Next is the smiling cutout at 12 o’clock, which displays the age and phases of the moon – with its stars and man on the moon set in… Read More
Breguet may not have had the largest collection on display at Basel, but they certainly had one of the most complex. As well as some handsome new additions to the Classique family, Breguet released an epic new grand complication – the Marine Équation Marchante 5887, a completely new watch boasting a perpetual calendar, tourbillon power reserve and, wait for it… a running equation of time. What’s that, I hear you ask? Well, you’ll have watch the video and find out.
Last year’s slim Breguet Classique 7147 had a spectacular dial, with a central section in detailed engine-turned guilloche and a subdial in a delicate crosshatch pattern. It was, not to overstate things, the star of the show. It’s a very difficult art to master, but there’s no doubt that Breguet has the technique down pat. So, imagine our surprise when we were presented this year’s update of the 7147 and there was not a hobnail or brushed finish to be seen. In its place is a single piece of lustrous grand feu enamel – an equally tricky technique to master – and this single change creates a completely new look for this dressy design. Thanks to the multiple firings the white enamel is of a brightness and lightness, and has an undulating sensuality, that’s hard to capture in photos (and even harder in words). It also has delicately hand-painted Breguet numerals (of course) and a delightful minute track (the non-cardinal markers are stylised fleur de lys) . The best bit though is the delicate dip that constitutes the small seconds subdial. The hands are pure Breguet, and made of hand-blued steel. Looking beyond the dial, everything is as it was with guilloche… Read More
There are watches you see that have an immediate impact, but then the feeling fades. You see the same watch some years later and you can remember thinking it was amazing, but sometimes the desire to own it is gone. The opposite happened when I spotted Jared’s Breguet Type XXI 3817, which was released at Baselworld last year. It remains one of the finest pilot’s chronographs available, and one of the best value in terms of materials, quality and finishing with pricing at $17,800. And that’s without mentioning its looks. My mancrush on this perfectly chiselled piece is more intense than ever. Time has only made its combination of rugged machismo and fine guilloched detail stand out even more off the wrist. Below my misty-eyed iPhone shots, you can find a much better quality selection we took last year. Thanks to Jared for letting me fawn all over it and try it on, yet again. Why did you choose this one? With my style I am more of a sporty person and I like to have a watch I can wear every day with every outfit. I also really like the vintage style of the strap. At the same time it keeps… Read More
We’re willing to bet that when you think of Breguet, the first thing that comes to mind is slim elegance, or maybe the old-world charm of their vintage chronos. But a casual/luxury sports watch? Not so much. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what the Marine 5817 is – Breguet’s take on a breezy weekender. Sure, it’s got all the brand’s classic hallmarks; the fluted middle case, the very particular lugs and, of course, that guilloche dial. But this is no delicate dandy. Water resistance is solid at 100m, there’s lume, the crown is protected by some unique, curved crown guard and it has a presence on the wrist far beyond what you’d expect for a 39mm x 11.82mm watch. While no one’s suggesting you complete an ultra-marathon in this guy, there’s no doubt it’s ready to tackle whatever life might throw at it, and it will do so in inimitable Breguet style. I was surprised to find just how versatile that style was. Normally I wouldn’t consider guilloche and roman numerals as everyday wear, but combined with the Marine’s masculine case styling (those lugs, that double bezel), they turned out to be very adaptable. The big date is a particularly useful complication. I find… Read More
Turns out that Breguet, not content with nailing the brief when it comes to dress watches and innovating left, right and centre are also quite the dab hand when it comes to pilot’s watches. And they’re no Johnny-come-latelies at the genre, either. In fact, in the early 20th century, Abraham Louis Breguet’s grandson – Louis Charles Breguet – made planes under the name of Breguet Aviation. There is no connection, however, between Louis Charles’ aeronautical business and the Type 20 chronograph that inspired the Type XXI 3817 that we’re looking at today. It’s important to note that Type 20 and 21 chronographs used by the French Air Force in the early ’50s were made by a variety of suppliers. A group of six brands produced them according to a set of minimum requirements covering off form and function, with key features being the flyback chronograph, rotating 12-hour bezel and some fairly rigorous accuracy requirements. Of those brands that made these (super stylish, it must be said) tool watches, Breguet’s examples are the most coveted by collectors today. In the ’90s, Breguet realised the potential of this design, releasing a civilian version – the Type XX – in 1995, with the larger Type XXI following in 2004. We’ve seen many variations on… Read More
Every year at Baselworld I attend a technical presentation from Breguet. I’m ushered into a small room, introduced to Swiss gentlemen who work in the brand’s R&D and Technical departments. Pleasantries are exchanged, coffees offered and accepted. Then we sit down and it gets serious. I’m shown slideshows full of graphs and parabolas, discuss hertz and resonance, and marvel at deconstructed movements. Sixty minutes later, I walk out with my head hurting, my mind stretched, marvelling that this brand, with such a rich history of innovation, is still pushing the boundaries of horology. Today we take a closer look at some of Breguet’s (both the man and the brand’s) most important innovations. If you’re a watch lover, and we’re tipping that’s likely, these key breakthroughs underscore much of modern watchmaking. In other words, they’re essential reading. Enjoy! 1783: Breguet hands One of Breguet’s earliest innovations is also one of the most visible – Breguet hands. This style of hands, elegant and legible, with the characteristic eccentric ‘crescent moon’ shaped tip are widely used today and instantly recognisable. 1795: Breguet overcoil In 1795 Breguet improved Huygen’s original flat balance spring, by raising the last curve of the spring above the rest, resulting in… Read More