HANDS-ON: The Breguet Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597 is horology over hypeZach Blass
Much of today’s focus in watches revolves around hype pieces, at least in the mainstream. Breguet, however, has zero concern for hype – their total focus and effort is devoted to horology in the traditional style of their namesake. Therefore they do not bend to trends, or cut corners. It is as if with everything they fabricate, they imagine Abraham Louis Breguet over their shoulders – eager to live up to his high standards. This is why Breguet has been, and will remain a brand for watch connoisseurs and the horologically curious. This Breguet Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597 is the perfect example of why.
The 30-metre water-resistant case is classic in design, yet modern in proportions, with a 40mm diameter and 12.1mm in thickness. While it might appear like a simple, polished case head-on, looking at its side reveals just how much work goes into its production. Its caseband is handsomely fluted, creating a coined aesthetic around its perimeter. Each of the broad lugs are welded onto the case, with the watchmaker then hand-finishing the point of joining to the remove any evidence of soldering. At 3 o’clock you will find your typical crown which both winds and sets the time. At the 10 o’clock position is a screw-down pusher that lets you quickly correct the date, its screw-down architecture protecting it from accidentally being engaged while worn.
The dial of the Breguet Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597, as is the case for any Tradition model really, is the star of the show. The beauty of its design, inspired by the calibres found in Breguet’s late 18th century subscription and tact pocket watches, is in the fact you can see both the time legibly, and the movement in full view, simultaneously. The lineage is immediately clear when seen side by side, with the same shape to the bridges, size of the balance and wheels, and parachute shock absorber system.
At 12 o’clock, a sub-dial made from a solid disc of gold that is later colour-treated conveys the hours and minutes with open-tipped Breguet hands – a style so beloved many brands continue to borrow it today. For the silvered dials, the hands are blued. On the Breguet blue configuration, however, they are given a white-coloured coating.
Texturally speaking, the sub-dial is objectively gorgeous with radially brushed chapter rings hosting the roman numeral hour indexes and dotted outer minutes track. The central medallion, however, boasts a Breguet signature: a clous de Paris dial decorated through true guillochage done by master artisans on a rose engine. This watch is named Tradition after all, and Breguet takes this very seriously – using traditional methods to hand-create this watch. At the bottom of the dial, framing the gear train in a semi-circle is the retrograde date indicator.
Extending from the centre of the dial, above the large barrel, is a patented staircase hand which perfectly weaves its way towards the current calendar date over each level of components. On the 31st day of a month, as it switches over to the first, the hand will ultimately snap or flip back to the first numeral – akin to a chronograph hand being reset. With everyone fighting over the best position for a date aperture, the retrograde date retains a balanced dial due to its consideration for symmetry.
Perplexingly, in the best way, this splash-resistant watch has its leather strap affixed to the case with screw-bars rather than spring bars. This is a very robust means of securing a leather strap to a dressier watch, as there is zero chance either side of the strap will pop off the case. The straps vary in colour, depending on which you pick of the three available models, but each strap is made of alligator leather and secured to the wrist via a case-matching pin buckle clasp.
Beyond the solid gold guilloche dial, you can fully see the automatic in-house calibre 505Q in action at all times. The 50-hour power reserve calibre is structured and decorated in the style of Breguet’s pocket watches, with frosted surfaces and bridges, and thin hand-finished bevelling to their edges. Now, while traditional in style and certain elements of construction, Breguet has tastefully incorporated some more modern elements. The calibre has received an anthracite treatment that gives it a modern edge, and the reverse in-line lever escapement utilises silicon horns and a silicon Breguet balance spring to ward off the effects of magnetism we face more and more in a modernised world.
The idea of a brand delivering a product based on their roots and heritage is by no means exclusive to Breguet. The manner in which they use Abraham Louis Breguet’s pocket watches as a muse – along with evolutions of many of his innovative patents is truly distinct and rare in this industry at present. Subjectively, does this smaller-than-average-wristed reviewer wish the watch was smaller in diameter? Sure. Objectively though, the watch hits the right balance of contemporary and classic to offer a compelling product that, assuming it is in your budget, is very hard to beat by my estimation.
Breguet Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597 pricing and availability:
The Breguet Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597 is available now in three configurations, with a silvered dial available in both white and rose gold cases and a Breguet blue dial strictly in a white gold case. Price: A$58,100, US$39,900 (rose gold model) / A$59,400, US$40,800 (white gold models)
|Model||Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597|
|Case Dimensions||40mm (D) x 12.10mm (T)|
|Case Material||18K white or rose gold|
|Dials||Silvered (rose or white gold) or Breguet blue (white gold only)|
|Crystal||Sapphire crystal and exhibition caseback|
|Strap||Alligator leather strap with case-matching pin/buckle|
|Movement||In-house automatic Breguet calibre 505Q|
|Power Reserve||50 hours|
|Functions||Hours, minutes, retrograde date|
|Price||A$58,100 (rose gold), A$59,400 (white gold)|