What would the world of watchmaking be today had Breguet never lived? It would be a very different world indeed and we probably wouldn't be here today to tackle the topic of mechanical complications had it not be for Breguet and his inventions, at least 50% of the haute horlogerie related articles currently available online would disappear at the blink of an eye and the role of watchmaking in history, in particular the role of many Swiss manufacturers, wouldn't be so important as it is today. On more than one occasion, when we have talked about the technical characteristics of some complicated watches, tourbillons or specific parts of the mechanics of a timepiece, we have often quoted a certain Breguet and the use that many brands make of the numerous inventions patented by the famous watchmaker. A typical example of this topic was the piece that I published last week about the MB&F “Frost” dial of the Legacy Machine.
Articles about the Breguet
brand are probably not that common but Horbiter is quickly catching up on this, however we also need to keep in mind that Breguet
watches are not exactly worldwide available and most of the times it is even quite difficult to spend enough time with them at watch events. The Breguet Tradition 7047
is quite a rare timepiece launched in 2014, you can only find it in the manufacturer's boutiques and it is a haute horlogerie
complicated that is sold at the astronomical and somehow prohibitive price of 190K Euros. If you are interested in getting your hands on one of these marvellous timepieces, please note that the manufacturer's boutique in Milan has one of them made of platinum that is still available (it is the same one that you can see in the picture).
This is the first one of a series of articles exclusively devoted (also) to the 2015 novelties and it is accompanied by live pictures; something that I have always preferred over digital pictures because they really pay justice to the exceptional watchmakers' work that lies behind the mechanics of these items. The Tradition Collection
's collection par excellence and, from the point of view of style, it best represents the zenith of the brand's fame that was reached during the end of the 18th
century and the beginning of the 19th
century. Back in those days, if you wanted to buy a Breguet
, you were asked to pay a certain sum of money in advance and then wait for the delivery of your watch; something that still occurs today with Ferrari
and its long waiting lists. Nicholas Hayek
is the person who has taken the brand back to its former grandeur and splendour and has relaunched Breguet
in the modern watch market.
Abraham Louis Breguet
patented his Tourbillon on 26th
June 1801 and that specific date is engraved on the case of the Breguet Tradition 7047
(Brevet du 7 Messidor an 9). It would be more correct to define Breguet
as an inventor rather than as a skilled watchmaker and today Swiss manufacturers still honour his memory by taking his inventions to a higher level. The group to which the Breguet
brand belongs is constantly trying to put together tradition and the best discoveries of their advanced research studies on materials and technologies to fully translate the pioneering spirit of the company's founder into a brand new modern style. From a technical point of view, the Breguet Tradition 7047
is a Turbillon featuring a fusée-and-chain transmission complication that ensures a constant energy flow going from the barrel to the train wheel bridge; this solution has come back into fashion in the last 2-3 years and we have dealt with it on a few occasions already (please browse our haute horlogerie section for more info.)
This particular complication takes inspiration from the typical tradition of watchmaking and Breguet
took it to the next level by devising some techniques that are not visible to the naked eyes but that deserve to be mentioned nevertheless. Let's start with the famous “Breguet spiral
” (a flat concentric spiral with an upraised last coil) and its evolution over the last centuries; in his continuous attempts to reach more and more accurate levels of precision, Breguet
came up with numerous solutions and inventions and one of them is a spiral balance spring that dramatically improved the traditional curved spiral spring invented by Huygens
. Since 2006, the Breguet
spiral spring has been made of silicon
rather than of metal and thanks to the use of this new material for its manufacturing, it has reached even more performing results; silicon has anti-magnetic properties that no other metal has but, at the same time, it is a chemical element that is not as easily malleable as other metals are.
In some models the spiral spring and the escapement are both made of the same material (I don't have any information whether silicon is being used for the Tradition 7047
's other parts too) but the message coming from the manufacturer is pretty clear and it aims at improving universally valid solutions by applying new technologies to it that were not available at the end of the 18th
century. Another pro of silicon
is its light weight (the balance wheel that is made of titanium is also very light) and when silicon is used to manufacture some parts of a timepiece, it highly reduces the need to constantly lubricate the gear, thus improving the durability of the timepiece itself.
When you get to study a complicated timepiece at an event or in a boutique, you might run the risk of overlooking its aesthetic look and general balance because you are too busy observing the details of its complications or finishing. The Breguet Tradition 7047
is probably the most balanced of the watches pertaining to the Tradition Collection, it is the timepiece that tends the least towards the somehow classic-baroque style of some of the brand's models; the size of the tourbillon and of the dial that are symmetrically aligned along a line that cuts the digits at 2 o' clock and at 7 o' clock, the fusée-and-chain transmission mechanism
placed at a lower level (at first glance the chain is virtually invisible) the large barrel with its power reserve gauge all create a harmonious overall appearance that is maintained by the extremely curved glass box featuring an extremely vertical edge that allows the user to enjoy every detail of the mechanical movement even from a three-quarter view.