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
Breguet, named for founder Abraham Louis Breguet holds a special place in the heart of mechanical watch lovers. Breguet, the man, was a pioneer of modern watchmaking. His place is among the greatest horologists to have ever lived and his inventions range from the wristwatch itself, to its grandest complication, the tourbillon. Breguet continue this tradition of artistry and innovation. Time+Tide is proud to share the ongoing Breguet story.
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
Some watches always get the double tap when they show up in our Instagram feed. One such model is Glenn’s (AKA @syn_chronus) ridiculously lovely Breguet Tradition GMT. Not only because it’s a stunning watch in its own right, but also for the fact that we simply don’t see too many out there. So we got in touch with Glenn to talk about the story about his watch, and find out why he wears Breguet. When did you first notice Breguet? I was in Hong Kong, where there’s essentially more watch stores than convenience stores. I saw a big poster for Breguet outside of a boutique. It showed a watch with this open dial – so crazy and complex– it was a Tradition. Seeing that poster got me hooked on the brand. Did you try a Breguet on that day? No I didn’t. Back then I wasn’t deep into watches, I had a Rolex Deepsea so I liked them, but not like I am now. I actually thought the Breguet was a tourbillon, so I wasn’t comfortable going into a boutique and asking to try it on. I mean, there was no way I was ever going to own a tourbillon! When… Read More
The story in a second: Breguet’s updated Classique 7147 offers traditional style, modern convenience and just the right amount of playfulness. The Classique 7147 is the definition of a quiet achiever. It’s a simple, sturdy watch that does everything asked of it with style, and it does so with a sense of reserved assurance that only a watch with ‘Breguet’ on the dial can adequately muster. The purpose of this Breguet is to be a dress watch without equal. If you need a black-tie timepiece that speaks to tradition and classical style, without being yet another ho-hum exercise in derivative design, we suggest you make a beeline for the Classique 7147. The case The first thing you need to know about the 7147 is that it’s not completely new design. Rather, it’s an update of the Classique 5140. From a distance these two timepieces look indistinguishable, but up close the 7147’s new body-work stands out. At 40mm it’s on the larger end of the dress watch scale, but thanks to its slim profile of 6.1mm (down from the 5140’s 10.8mm) it wears far more discreetly than you’d expect. Design-wise the case is classic Breguet, straight lugs (with curved end-pieces to… Read More
One of my personal highlights from Baselworld this year was Breguet’s Classique Hora Mundi 5727. While it’s actually a cosmetic update of the original 5717 Hora Mundi from 2011, it’s a significant one that makes the smart twin time feel like a completely new watch. Before we talk about the looks, let’s look at what the Hora Mundi is. Essentially it’s a dual time or GMT watch, but one unlike any other. The dial is clean and clear, without the second hour hand, 24-hour displays or city rings that are typically part and parcel with this sort of complication. Of course the city ring still exists, it’s just hidden, except for the small aperture at six. So if there’s only one set of hands and one city displayed on the dial, how is this a dual time watch? Well, therein lies the genius. The calibre 77FO inside the Hora Mundi features an instantaneous time zone jump. Press the button at eight and you’ll see the city disc, time, day/night indicator (in the offset subdial) and, if necessary, the date, all instantly change. Honestly it’s one of the coolest complications I’ve ever used. It’s also an exceptionally clever interpretation of a dual time… Read More
For the last 14 years, the watch industry has congregated in Geneva to celebrate the most innovative, most beautiful and generally the best watches of the year, across a number of categories. This event is called the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Geneve, and the awards are decided by a jury of 25 experts including luminaries from watchmaking, retail, history, journalism and even the odd celebrity. They are flown to Geneva some time late in October to assess the 72 best watches of the year. It’s an event where the industry celebrates the hard work of watchmakers all over the world and spots up-and-coming trends. It’s kind of big deal. If you’re wondering why each piece won their category, a quick read of this GPHG EXPLAINER should fix it. If there’s one take home lesson you should take from this years GPHG it is just how much breadth and diversity there is in the watch industry – and this is very much a good thing. “Aiguille d’Or” Grand Prix: Breguet, Classique Chronométrie This classically looking piece from Breguet, the masters of traditional watchmaking holds a high tech secret (check out here for the full story), and this watch winning the top prize (the Golden Hand) confirms their place… Read More
Congratulations to Breguet, who, on Friday October the 31st took out watchmaking’s top prize, the ‘Aiguille d’Or’ (‘golden hand’ in French) at the 14th Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève (GPHG) for the Classique Chronométrie. Champagne! This 14th edition of the GPHG had record levels of participation with representation from all the major watchmaking groups as well as a number of independents. There are multiple categories, but the hand of the king, sorry (too much Game of Thrones) the golden hand, is reserved for the what is judged to be the best watch across all categories. The Federal Councillor Johann Schneider-Ammann officially presented this prize on-stage, taking the moment to praise “the vitality of the Swiss watch industry.” The GPHG was established in 2001 as a way to showcase the best of the luxury watch industry. While it is based in Geneva, the competition is open to watches made all over the world. Winners are chosen by a 25-person jury that consists of watchmakers, journalists, designers, watch collectors, auctioneers and retailers. And John Mayer, who is often touted as celebrity-land’s watch geek. The Classique Chronométrie was not a controversial choice; to quote Forbes, “it is absolutely insane.” From the outside it’s vintage Breguet, with many hallmarks including a guilloché dial… Read More