In 2005, Breguet launched its iconic Tradition collection with the 7027 model, the first timepiece to showcase the mechanisms of the movement on top of the baseplate. Much imitated but never equalled, this collection has since filled out and this year welcomes an outstanding new model: the new Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde ref. 7097 —Automatic Retrograde Seconds. This new watch, like the rest of the collection, is inspired by the ‘subscription watches’ and recalls the genius of Abraham-Louis Breguet who first produced these one-hand watches in 1796. They were fitted with a very simple movement and sold by subscription: a down payment of a quarter of the price on order and the balance on delivery. Abraham-Louis Breguet also used the movements of his ‘subscription’ watches for his first tact watches. The new Tradition ref. 7097 pays further tribute to the mechanisms of the ‘subscription’ and tact watches by revealing the bridges, wheels, escapement, barrel and other components of the movement, which are usually hidden beneath the baseplate.
Trim embellishments enhance the visual balance displayed by the symmetrical bridges. The bridges and baseplate are peened according to a decorative technique that requires rare skill and faultless execution to achieve a regular and uniform finish. The gold winding rotor borrows its style from the movements of the period while a conventional engine-turned hobnail pattern, done by hand, highlights a dial in silvered gold offset at 12 o’clock. This type of dial can be found on many of the tact watches that Abraham-Louis Breguet made from 1799 onwards.
The new model gets its name from the retrograde seconds hand at 10 o’clock, which supplements the hours and minutes shown by Breguet-style open-tipped hands in blued steel. Breguet’s watchmakers show off the complication with the help of a circular-brushed semi-circle that also makes the other indications easy to read. To maintain the symmetry, the pare-chute is located at 4 o’clock. This Breguet invention, which protects the balance staff from shocks, can be identified at a glance as the emblematic feature of the Tradition collection. It is the forbear of all the shock- protection devices in use today, including the Incabloc system.
Its 40mm 18K white gold case with case band fluting houses a silvered 18K gold dial that is engine-turned and offset at 12 o’clock. Individually numbered and signed Breguet the dial features hours chapter ring with Roman numerals and retrograde small seconds at 10 o’clock, all rounded out by Breguet open-tipped hands in blued steel.
Nor does the new Breguet Tradition Automatic Retrograde Seconds ref. 7097 lag behind when it comes to the latest technology. The Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde ref. 7097BB/G1/9WU watch is the result of the technical and aesthetic excellence that Breguet consistently strives for in its modernization of historical devices. Its austere styling honors the traditions of the brand, while its technical features are the prerogative of a watchmaking company that is resolutely building its future. The Breguet automatic calibre 505SR1 features an 18K white gold winding rotor borrowing its style from Breguet antique watches, straight-line inverted lever escapement with silicon pallets, Breguet overcoil balance spring in silicon, 38 jewels and which provides a power reserve of 50 hours when fully wound.
This new Breguet with retrograde seconds is fitted with an elegant black alligator strap with folding clasp and the watch is also available in 18K rose gold. On the wrist, the watch wears bigger than its actual size with exceptional comfort and formidable wrist presence.