Breguet Tradition Chronographe Independant 7077
It's 1.20pm on 24th December and I am getting ready to go on holidays, it is almost time to say goodbye to a year that has seen many changes, among which are a new job and me moving to Milan. The positive side of this break doesn't involve me having a bit of free time to relax, because I actually have none and I am happy about that. Ever since I started to write for Horbiter I have been very busy and I have had no time for myself but now I can officially remove my manager uniform for the next 10 days and devote myself to my biggest passion.
On these occasions, more than ever, I like spending time further studying complicated and special watches, those watches that deserve a deeper analyses and a second or even third look at those pictures that you have taken, those pictures where you have tried to capture every single detail of that particular timepiece. Because it is Christmas time, I have decided to get myself (and yourselves) a nice present; an article about the Breguet Tradition Chronographe Independant 7077. This is going to be the third piece dedicated to a Breguet watch and it follows two previous ones about other watches pertaining to the Tradition and the Classique Complications collections, it is also the very first article that talks about a 2015 novelty. “Better late than never!”, you might say, but, to be honest with you, I am not the kind of person who aims at being the first to publish an article about a novelty, I prefer writing about a timepiece when I actually feel like it and, most important thing, when the pictures that I have available to describe this timepiece are of the highest quality.
The Breguet Tradition Chronographe Independant 7077 is a double frequency watch, for the simple reason that it has two cores; the chrono and the time counting mechanism are separated from each other. It is as if you were wearing a three-hands timepiece around your wrist while holding a chrono counter in your right hand. Breguet managed to harmonize these two different cores and place them within the same case while still keeping them separated from each other. Two separated mechanisms with springs and separated balance wheels (the balance wheel for the hours runs at 3Hz while the balance wheel for the chrono runs at 5Hz) would require two winding barrels and, possibly, more room and a bigger complication. Breguet opted for a different path, a path that didn't clash with the famous manufacturer's innovation spirit that, in my opinion, should be communicated to its clients in a more efficient way.
The engineers working at the Breguet manufacture probably thought about the word “efficiency” when they came up with this timepiece. They probably thought something like this: “let's give the chrono some energy but only when it really needs it” (i.e. when the user decides to start their Breguet Tradition Chronographe Independant 7077). The resetting of the chrono activates a “blade-like spring” that stores the energy required to activate the 5Hz balance wheel of the chrono and the 20 chrono minutes that are indicated on the dial at 10 o'clock.
The main idea is that you are not wasting any energy when you reset the watch but you are actually reconverting it and making it available for the next restart. The spring stores the energy in one go and then releases it at a regular pace; that is why the spring is coupled with a mechanism that allows a constant energy release. This particular system has been patented and it represents the real core of this timepiece's movement. I am an engineer so I am naturally curious and I would love to find out how this system actually works, unfortunately, I am also aware of the fact that I would need to spend an entire day with the people who came up with this invention to be able to fully explain to my readers how this solution has been achieved.
When I read that “the chrono balance wheel was made of titanium to guarantee a perfect symmetry with the balance wheel of the watch”, I immediately understand that we are talking about two balance wheels of the same diameter but with different oscillations/inertia. This is only made possible if you work with the different specific weight of the titanium alloy and of steel, a topic that brings me back to the time when I was a university student. The titanium-made balance wheel is activated “on purpose”; when the chrono is not working, a camshaft actually blocks it in a tension position that only allows it to start again when the button located at 8 o' clock is pressed so that it reaches the 5Hz frequency in no time. A different way to reuse the energy that comes from the previous moving cycle; the energy is released so as to obtain the maximum precision of the chrono time counting. The two chrono buttons have been screwed in so as to avoid the user to accidentally activate them and this solution also makes the case waterproof.
The caliber that has been inserted inside the white gold (or yellow gold) 44mm-case of the Breguet Tradition Chronographe Independant 7077 is the manual winding 580DR that allows up to 55 hours of power reserve when fully wound. On top of the two balance wheels are the unmistakable parachute protection devices that have been protecting balance wheels from accidental shocks since 1792. Both spiral springs are made of silica, a material with anti-magnetic property that is also inert towards hysteresis (a typical phenomenon that affects all metals).The aesthetic side of such a glorious timepiece is mainly achieved through its technical assets and its level of decorations.
It is unmistakably a Breguet watch, actually a Tradition one, that is to say “a classic timepiece that pays homage to Breguet's history” and, as I said before, sometimes it might look a bit too overcrowded or even baroque. At first sight I cannot say that this is my “first” Breguet, unless my eye weren't statically evaluate what it is looking at but were knowing exactly what it is beholding. The exclusivity of the Breguet Tradition Chronographe Independant 7077 makes its price soar to 73,600 euro. This is the quintessence of the chrono complication and it could almost compete with a tourbillon. This comparison makes you understand how much work and planning are behind this timepiece but it also makes you wonder whether you should opt for this Tradition or if you should go for another “entry level” proposal that sports the most famous complication ever conceived by Abraham-Louis.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C. @Horbiter®