I gave up my prized Rolex and Lange for this gorgeous Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 3057 I gave up my prized Rolex and Lange for this gorgeous Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 3057

I gave up my prized Rolex and Lange for this gorgeous Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 3057

Zach Blass

Well… I’ve done it again. Some may cry foul in the wake of my proclamation I had bought my exit watch: a Credor Eichi II. But, in fairness, I said, assuming I do manage to uphold my promise, that I would not buy any more watches outright: I do not want more watches, I want the right watches.

Recently I once again traded watches in the name of acquiring another. Once upon a time, in the first-ever Trading Faces, I walked through why I traded an Omega Speedmaster Automatic and a Patek Philippe Golden Ellipse ref. 3548 for a Rolex Submariner ref. 114060. In my second article, I revealed that I had cancelled a Ming pre-order and traded a birth year Rolex Explorer ref. 14270 with a frosted dial to acquire an A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Up/Down ref. 221.021. In my third, well… Remember that Rolex Submariner 114060? That was traded to fund my Rolex Explorer ref. 1016. In my fourth column – my Trading Faces with the most moving parts – I dived into the divestment of my Kurono collection, a total of five watches, for one Piaget Altiplano Ultimate 900P.

rolex lange breguet trading faces

Today, marks the fifth edition of Trading Faces – five trades in the almost four years I have been with Time+Tide. Two of the watches I have just traded were the subject of previous columns. In one of my biggest moves yet, I traded away my Rolex Explorer ref. 1016 and A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Up/Down ref. 221.021 for a beautiful Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar ref. 3057. By the end of that last sentence, some of you reading this may be screaming at your screens. Before you pop a blood vessel though, let me walk through why below.

Out: Rolex Explorer ref. 1016

Rolex Explorer 1016 Zach Watch 2 scaled e1685054129603

Ironically, this Rolex Explorer ref. 1016 was my most worn watch last year. I owned the watch for a little over a year before trading it and wore it a ton. I loved (and still love) its size, look, and design – and mine really had a perfectly patinated dial. The hands and indices and numeral plots were near-perfectly even in their cookie-coloured tritium aging. The case and bracelet, while well worn, suited my wrist perfectly once sized. 36mm is my sweet spot because the lug-to-lug is accordingly compact in relation. Here is where things took a turn…

Rolex Explorer 1016 Zach Marcus Shot

After the acquisition of my Credor and Piaget, along with my beige-lacquered Cartier Santos-Dumont, I already had plenty of watches to wear in scenarios where I did not need a 100-metre water-resistant daily. This is where the spell of romance was broken a little bit. Of course, I knew going into the purchase of the 1016 that this Rolex, associated with harsh hikes up mountains, was retired from being a proper daily wearer. I knew swimming with it would be a no-go, and that with its acrylic crystal, it was not a watch to be worn while being active. What I did not realise was how much this would bother me over time. It takes owning things for a while to learn something about yourself, but this 1016 taught me that, as much as I love the idea of owning an Ed White Speedmaster 105.003, or even a Paul Newman Daytona, vintage sports watches have the logistical ick of needing to be babied.

I do not like the fact that I treated it like a daily, and let other more robust watches in my collection, like my Grand Seiko SBGA413 or Zenith Night Surfer get less wear time. The 1016, when I traded it away, was sold off in the same condition I received it in. So, in fairness, it certainly withstood casual daily wear. But within the context of my collection, and the Breguet I could potentially bring in, I decided that I was content living without it in my collection and rotation of wear. I still have a Datejust 36 ref. 126234, which fills the gap of a swim-capable 36mm Rolex at the end of the day. And that watch has much more personal meaning to me.

Out: A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Up/Down ref. 221.021

A Lange Sohne 1815 Up Down 221 021

My A. Lange & Söhne 1815 Up/Down ref. 221.021 is a watch I never envisioned I would part with… Until I got the Credor Eichi II. As much as I love this Lange with a capital L, since the Credor arrived, it was not getting much wear time. I also found myself reaching for the aforementioned Cartier and Piaget more, each having a twist or point of difference – the Cartier with its chic case lacquering and the Piaget having an openworked element and being incredibly thin. The Lange, on the other hand, was a direct collection competitor with the Credor. They are both crisp, clean, and classic-looking watches from the front. Straightforward, white-dialled, with stunning movements. But…

a lange sohne 1815 up down 221 021 movement

The Eichi II movement is something I appreciate far more visually. The Lange, with its signature 3/4 bridge plate covers up most of the movement. And, to be clear, the Eichi II bridges cover up the components below just as much. The bevelling on the Credor, however, is far wider and more glorious to look at – in my opinion at least. Where the Lange wins out though is in its size. The Credor, at 39mm in diameter, 10.3mm thick, and 45mm lug-to-lug, suits me perfectly fine, but the Lange’s 36mm diameter, slender 7mm thickness, and compact lug-to-lug were sublime proportions for my wrist. What I miss the most about the Lange, in comparison to the Breguet I am about to touch on, is its heft. Between the yellow gold case, solid silver dial, and German silver movement, there was such a luxurious heft despite its compact size. The Breguet, despite its gold case and gold dial, with its brass movement, feels lighter. That didn’t stop me trading it, though.

In: Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar ref. 3057

Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 3057 8

This Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar ref. 3057 ultimately brings me into a new tier of collecting I had yet to reach: owning a high-complication watch. But before I continue with the why, let me introduce its specifications and backstory. Originally designed in the Chaumet era of Breguet ownership, this model was created by Daniel Roth in 1976. As you would expect from such a respected watchmaker, whose independent namesake brand is currently having a resurgence with its relaunch, the watch is masterfully executed and indicative of Roth’s desire to restore Breguet’s watchmaking glory.

Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 3057 2

First introduced as the ref. 3050, the watch has all of the key signatures that make the Breguet brand: a true guilloché dial made of solid gold, brushed chapter rings, Breguet hands, a coined case band, welded lugs, and a strap secured to the watch with screwed bars rather than spring bars. Its 18k yellow gold case has proportions I really enjoy at 36mm in diameter and 8mm thick despite its modular perpetual calendar movement. The tell of this construction is its crown positioned low on the caseband, near the edge of the caseback. Breguet, like Nomos, however, does have longer lugs, so the watch does feel a bit larger than its 36mm diameter would suggest. But my smaller 6.5-inch or so wrist can more than adequately handle it. The dial is perfectly balanced and symmetrical, and I, of course, love the guilloché. What equally, if not more, sold me on this watch, though, was its decorated movement.

Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 3057 5

The ref. 3057 introduced some time after the 3050 is the same watch in general design, but with an exhibition caseback that displays a fully engraved calibre. Mine dates to the early 1990s. This exemplary movement decoration is what ultimately gave me all the feels. A Frédéric Piguet cal. 71 base, the off-centred main portion of the movement is bordered by an engraved ring of a bridge. But all of the bridges, and the openworked Breguet “B” rotor are all fully engraved as well. The Frédéric Piguet cal. 71 is a celebrated ultra-thin movement at just 2.4mm thick, and has been used by not only Breguet, but also Corum, Chopard, Blancpain, IWC, and more. This is why the overall watch, including its perpetual calendar module, can be 8mm thick.

Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 3057 16

Having visited the Breguet manufacture, and having a deep respect for Breguet past and present, I felt a strong enough emotional connection, along with superficially loving the look, size, and tech the watch offers, to chase after this one knowing two prized watches, like my Lange and 1016, would have to go. To be honest, I never knew this reference existed until I saw the vendor, The Keystone, share a reel of it. The watch, whether 3050 or 3057, was not made in large quantities and I love owning and wearing things people do not usually get to see.

Final thoughts

Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 3057 4

For those interested in the logistics of the trade, I did not actually trade the Lange and 1016 to The Keystone. To my surprise, they did not make an offer for them. So, I ended up selling the pair to European Watch Co, who I have dealt with on multiple occasions and would recommend keeping an eye on their inventory. In fact, you can find my former Lange and 1016 here. Seeing where they have listed the watches from a pricing perspective, they stand to make a healthy margin. I could have definitely got more money in a private sale. But private sales take time, and to ensure I had the funds promptly to purchase the Breguet before someone else snagged it, I decided a quick sale to a vendor had to be done.

At the time of writing, the two pieces, which I have just linked, are still up for sale, indicative of the fact that a celebrated vendor with a constant pool of intrigued clients has not sold the watches – so, why would I expect to be able to sell them quicker myself? They absolutely deserve to make a profit – you can read my article about selling watches for more information on this dynamic. What EWC did offer me for both watches was enough to get me close enough to the sale price of the Breguet. Everybody wins.

Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar 3057 12

To wrap this up, I made a judgment call based on my personal watch-collecting and watch-wearing philosophy. I brought in a watch that I connected with enough romantically to consider and proceed with parting with two prized watches. I considered the place and purpose those two watches had within my collection, recognising developments in my collection made them more dispensable than I once thought. I then contemplated the role the Breguet would play in my collection, first-ever high-comp, first-ever true guilloché, and how it would mix into the strong roster of the leather-bound Credor, Cartier, and Piaget. Then I ultimately came to the conclusion this trade lived up to my new motto – I do not want more watches, I want the right watches and made this trade happen.

All of the above considered, do I think most of you would have made this trade? Probably not. But, while I certainly will miss the Lange and 1016, I am very content. The void left by those two watches is more than filled with this ref. 3057 in my book. And that is what matters most.