Breguet’s new Tradition Chronograph is quite simply breathtaking…from an architectural point of view, the depth and finish on the movement is painstakingly beautiful while the complication is typically innovative.
Arguably the oldest consistently running business in our industry and of course the namesake of a true pioneer of watchmaking. Were Abraham Louis Breguet to be alive today, he would easily be considered head and shoulders above the prolific watchmakers in modern horology. However, in the modern version of this industry, you need more than heritage, you need to be on trend. By that I don’t mean a brand must cater to current fashions but rather ensure it isn’t still trying to only fulfil clients who are now footnotes, however famous, in history.
With this in mind, I think the Tradition family bridges that gap between traditional Breguet and a contemporary clientele. Delivered explicitly in an openface set up with visible balance wheel, the collection began with simple automatic and hand wound versions focusing on mimicking the movements of original Breguet pocket watches. The collection then opened up to small complications like a cool retrograde seconds to the very functional second time zone version. The piece de la resistance so to speak was the Fusee Tourbillon with silicon based escapement offering a unique take on Breguet’s own Tourbillon – an incredible innovation but still well within Breguet’s quite large comfort zone.
Therefore, I’m very excited to present this new chronograph model. First of all, the basics – a brand new 580DR calibre powers the hand wound movement that offers a 55 hour power reserve in a 44mm case delivered in Rose or White Gold. For the aesthete in me, I’m particularly enamoured by the new style Breguet “B” folding clasp. The open face dial is finished in an anthracite colour that does help to visually reduce the size of what is ultimately a very large watch. This particular finish does also create a depth that will have you find something new every time you look. The hands are as one would expect blued in Breguet’s traditional finish.
The caseback highlights the symmetrical set up of the movement via a exhibition sapphire caseback that is again finished like the dial. The real innovation here is the increased frequency of both the balance wheels for the time and the chronograph. With Breguet, a continuity is vital. They began using silicon in their movements a few years ago to help reduce the normal friction caused by wear and tear as silicon is simply a more durable material. This increased durability allows Breguet to increase the frequency of the movement and in turn, theoretically the accuracy. The mastery of this increased frequency led to the 10Hz movement offered in the 7727 model in the Classique family; delivered as usual without too much fanfare but in reality, a stunning execution using modern materials on a very classically created time piece.
With the Tradition, this increased frequency is visible again but not to the 10Hz scale. The regular time incorporates a 3Hz frequency whilst the chronograph beats at a higher 5Hz for improved accuracy should you decide to use it for its traditional purpose. To see both balance wheels running concurrently is quite a spectacle as the increased frequency is definitely visible to the naked eye and especially in the Tradition openwork set up, it is the perfect tableau upon which to illustrate this new complication. Ultimately, perhaps the chronograph is the most visible but least used of all the small complications and especially in a precious metal set up, it’s very unlikely to be used in a sports environment but the focus here is not of specific functionality but rather innovation.
In that light, this watch is quite simply amazing…and retailing in Rose Gold at £54,600.00 is very good value for money in relative terms. Developed entirely in-house by Breguet with a miraculous attention to detail on the open work element to make it both aesthetically appealing, legible and functional. All in all, one of my favourite recent releases from Breguet. This model is in-store now should you wish to view it in person.