Breguet at Baselworld 2017: The World Watch and Jewellery show

Creativity, innovation and impeccable aesthetics are once again the keynotes of the prestigious models unveiled by Breguet at Baselworld.

Loyal to its history, the House honours its founder’s broad range of competencies that proved of ample benefit to watchmaking as well as to navigation and astronomy. Elected a member of the Bureau des longitudes in Paris, and then chronometer maker to the French Royal Navy and a member of the French Academy of Science, A.-L. Breguet conceptualised and developed in the course of his career a wealth of spectacular timepieces including astronomical clocks and marine chronometers. Breguet and its President & CEO, Marc A. Hayek are now reinterpreting his unique heritage. The result is a horological marvel extending an open invitation to travel and discovery, in which sophisticated horological complications rub shoulders with stunning finishing.

The flagship model of 2017, this new release redefines and takes the helm of the line it is joining. Breguet offers devotees of Haute Horlogerie an opportunity to discover the fundamentals of this exceptional model through a surprising exhibit combining visual panels and explanations, scale models and interactive modules. Unveiled on Saturday March 25th in a preview showing on the Swatch Group Plaza that will continue until Sunday 26th, this travelling exhibition will then make stopovers in major cities across Europe, Asia and the United States.

In parallel with this exclusive launch, Breguet continues to encourage women’s interest in mechanical watchmaking. The Manufacture is enriching its ladies’ collection with exquisite Baselworld 2017 variations featuring a stunning array of gems, mother-of-pearl and other precious materials, crafted in the purest artisan-style tradition.

BREGUET TRADITION DAME 7038

The Tradition collection from Breguet belongs to the select circle of authentic Haute Horlogerie icons. First introduced in 2005, it has steadily expanded to include a palette of exceptional models now enriched by the rose gold Tradition Dame. With this self-winding timepiece, Breguet has succeeded in feminising a model whose aesthetic essence lies in mechanical horology, a field that many tend to reserve for men. Clearly visible front and centre of the watch, the barrel is decorated with a rosette motif and overlapped at 12 o’clock by a dainty offset dial in natural white mother-of-pearl, finely adorned with hand-crafted engine-turned “Clous de Paris” hobnailing. Although in full view, the main movement gear trains, as well as the bridges bearing them, remain sufficiently discreet to ensure smooth and instant reading of the hours and minutes pointed to by rose gold open-tipped Breguet hands. The sandblasted mainplate and bridges are rhodium-plated to create a pleasing contrast with the rose gold case. The latter’s bezel is adorned with 68 brilliant-cut diamonds, while a watch jewel sets the perfect finishing touch to the crown. The magnificent craftsmanship lavished on this model is also visible through the back on the gold oscillating weight, graced with the same motif as the barrel.

Equipped with Calibre 505SR, it features a lever escapement with silicon horns and a Breguet balance spring also made of silicon. This  new Tradition Dame is set to assert itself as a major player on the scene of feminine Haute Horlogerie.

BREGUET CLASSIQUE 7147

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The new Classique 7147 is one of those emblematic models, imbued with a blend of classicism and tradition, such as only Breguet is capable of producing. It is distinguished by all the refined details composing the identity of the Manufacture since 1775. As on many historical models, the dial of this new creation is made of “Grand Feu” enamel, a magnificent artistic craft. Although known since ancient times, enamelling was only widely applied to horology from the Renaissance onwards. This extremely complex ornamentaltechnique has remained virtually unchanged since. It is based on a colourless vitreous mixture – called flux – composed of silicic acid, sodium borate, nitre and minium. The flamboyant and ageless colours of enamel are achieved by adding metallic oxides to this combination. The result is subsequently crushed to a powder and humidified to form a paste called barbotine (slip). The latter is applied in successive layers to a metal disc repeatedly fired in a kiln heated to more than 800°C. This process continues until the dial has attained a radiant whiteness and glowing texture. Then comes the transferring of the famous slender, dainty yet legible Breguet numerals, embodying an inestimably precious horological heritage and reminiscent of the early watches and clocks from the House.

Hours and minutes are indicated by traditional blued steel Breguet hands with an offset open tip, complemented by the small seconds discreetly sweeping around a 5 o’clock subdial. The splendour of this Classique 7147 is also reflected in its movement, plainly visible through a sapphire crystal caseback and graced with “Côtes de Genève” and “Clous de Paris” hobnailing.

Available in rose gold and white gold versions, this model houses Calibre 502.3SD, equipped with a balance spring in silicon and an Baselworld 2017 inverted in-line lever escapement with horns made of silicon – an extremely light material notably renowned for its non-magnetic properties. It endows the Classique 7147 with remarkable performance and reliability.

BREGUET MARINE ÉQUATION MARCHANTE 5887

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Throughout his career, A.-L. Breguet consistently demonstrated his exceptional mastery of time measurement. His strong involvement and his revolutionary developments earned him significant recognition and numerous honours. Renowned the length and breadth of Europe, Breguet found a particularly active admirer in Louis XVIII, king of France. In 1814, the latter appointed him a member of the Bureau des longitudes in Paris. This body created in 1795 by the National Convention was dedicated to the advancement of the various branches of astronomy and their applications to geography, navigation and geodesy (the measurement and understanding of Earth’s physical properties).

Its tasks included the annual publication of reference documents such as astronomical ephemerides. The Bureau des longitudes was a prestigious organisation whose 20 or so members included geometers, astronomers, seafarers and associate artists. The only representative of his profession that was eminently useful to physicists and navigators, Breguet became the horological authority, notably for the calculation of longitudes at sea. As an extension of this distinction, through an ordinance issued on October 27th 1815, Louis XVIII awarded A.-L. Breguet the official title of chronometer maker to the French Royal Navy.

This was the most prestigious title a horologist could hope to receive, given that the very concept of marine chronometry implied scientific knowledge. It also involved playing a crucial role for the country, as marine chronometers were of capital importance for fleets by making it possible to calculate ships’ positions at sea.

Following in the wake of this unique heritage, the House of Breguet now launches a worldwide exclusive model named the Marine Équation Marchante 5887. This “Grande Complication” marks the start of a new era for the contemporary Marine collection.

The equation of time is one of the rarest and most fascinating horological complications. It serves to display the difference between mean solar time, corresponding to civil or standard hours and minutes, and true solar time, meaning the actual solar hours and minutes. Since Antiquity, the sun has been used as the basis of time.

Nonetheless, the visible motion of the sun – the true solar time indicated on sundials – is irregular. With the improvement of timekeeping precision, watches and clocks became the basis of time and true solar time was replaced by mean solar time, within which each day has the same duration of exactly 24 hours. Mean solar time may show a discrepancy with true solar time ranging from minus 16 minutes to plus 14 minutes. On just four days a year, the two times are exactly the same. Given that the sun’s various positions in the sky are reproduced in an identical manner on the same dates, watchmakers can “program” them by means of a special cam. The latter is shaped like a figure 8 and mechanically reproduces the path of the sun’s successive positions, called an analemma curve. Requiring extremely accurate execution, the cam is coupled with a feeler-spindle that drives an equation lever serving to indicate the difference between civil time and solar time (-16 to +14 minutes). This readoff is generally provided on a sector or subdial. It is then up to the user to mentally add or subtract the difference displayed in relation to mean time in order to calculate true solar time. The new Marine Équation Marchante from Breguet supersedes this principle. It simultaneously indicates civil time and true time by means of two separate minutes hands. The running solar hand, adorned with a facetted golden sun, provides a direct reading of solar time minutes that is both quicker and more user-friendly.

This apparently simplicity conceals an arduous construction process that few watchmakers are capable of achieving. The solar  minutes hand has to meet two imperative demands: it must sweep in a conventional way around the dial, like the civil minutes hand, while also daily moving away from the latter by a distance that varies in accordance with the analemma curve, in order to display the equation. Breguet was able to accomplish this by equipping its running solar hand with a differential gear powered by two rotation sources operating entirely independently: the rotation of civil minutes, and that controlled by the lever in contact with the equation of time cam, which makes one full turn per year. Breguet has developed an extremely slim equation cam borne by a transparent sapphire disc also serving to correct the equation of time by month.

The complexity that the running equation of time brings to this model is naturally complemented on this “Grande Complication” by a perpetual calendar. Two apertures – one between 10 and 11 o’clock and the other between 1 and 2 o’clock– respectively display the days of the week as well as the months and the leap-year cycle. The date appears inside the chapter ring by means of a retrograde hand tipped with an anchor motif and sweeping across an arc running from 9 to 3 o’clock. The dial layout of the information has been carefully designed to ensure simple and intuitive linear reading, along with impeccable visual appeal.

Based on the self-winding 581DR calibre, the new Marine Équation Marchante by Breguet also flaunts a third complication that is noteworthy in its own right: a 60-second tourbillon with a titanium carriage housing a Breguet balance with a silicon balance spring. This innovative characteristic notably enables the balance wheel to achieve a 4Hz frequency, while maintaining a particularly comfortable power reserve for a self-winding model. This 80-hour autonomy is displayed through an aperture between 7 and 9 o’clock.

The ingenuity of this spectacular model is accentuated by theprecious expertise of the artisans exercising their skills within the House of Breguet. The front dial features two types of engineturning, including a “wave” pattern specifically developed for this new creation. The inscription “Marine royale” is engraved on the tourbillon bar, whose execution naturally draws the gaze.

Visible through a sapphire caseback, the bridges have been delicately chased to depict in meticulous detail the Royal Louis, a first rank vessel in the French Royal Navy. The barrel is adorned with a windrose motif, in reference to astronomical navigation. Thanks to the carefully chosen positioning of the oscillating weight on the rim of the calibre, the self-winding movement deploys the full splendour of its decoration.

A truly magnificent timepiece, the new Marine Équation Marchante by Breguet sets the tone. It features new aesthetic signature codes giving it a modern and dynamic appearance: central lugs combining polished and satin-brushed surfaces; more open fluting, with visible flanks; a crown topped with a polished “B” against a sandblasted background; as well as a crown adorned with a chamfered and satin-brushed wave motif. This “Grande Complication” comes with a 43.9mm-diameter case in rose gold or platinum. The rose gold version frames a silvered dial and an anthracite movement, while the platinum interpretation has a blue dial and a rhodium-plated movement. Elegance, legibility and aesthetic balance are the keynote features of these two equally sumptuous models.

BREGUET REINE DE NAPLES PRINCESSE 8965

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Inspired – like the rest of the collection – by the first wristwatch created by A.-L. Breguet for Caroline Murat in 1810, the new Reine de Naples Princesse 8965 is the epitome of femininity and boldness.

The gentle, subtly cambered design of its rose gold oval case makes a pleasing contrast with the clean-cut, resolutely graphic lines of its engine-turned dial. Breguet wished to play with shapes and materials in order to attract the eye and draw it into the fascinating dimensions of time. The extremely pure white mother-of-pearl dial follows the curve of the case, thereby creating an unusual depth effect highlighting the two large, equally rounded rose gold hour-markers appearing at 6 and 12 o’clock.

The Reine de Naples Princesse 8965 is fitted with a sapphire crystal caseback providing the opportunity to admire its mechanical selfwinding movement, Calibre 591C. Crafted in keeping with the finest watchmaking traditions, its oscillating weight is in solid gold, hand engraved on a rose engine.

This new 43 x 34.95mm model joins the 8968 references, available with a silvered gold or anthracite dial. Its now diamond-set bezel enhances the radiance of the crown and the ball-type lug, respectively set with an inverted diamond and with brilliant-cut diamonds. Fitted with a leather strap, this elegant and sophisticated model is also available with a rose gold link bracelet, secured by a medallion buckle.

BREGUET REINE DE NAPLES 8918

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This year, Breguet is revisiting one of the bestsellers in its ladies’ collection, the Reine de Naples 8918 model, a mesmerizingly beautiful model leading the distinctly larger Breguet numerals into a merry dance. A lively and joyful blue script mingles with the warm shimmer of rigorously selected Tahitian mother-of-pearl. The handguilloché natural white mother-of-pearl dial offset at 6 o’clock naturally draws the gaze to the striking sparkle of a pear-shape diamond. Delicately framing this face is a rose gold case set with brilliant-cut diamonds on the bezel and flange, as well as a briolettecut diamond on the crown. The new Reine de Naples 8918 comes in two versions: one with a midnight blue satin-finish leather strap; and the other with a chain bracelet that closely resembles a supple rose gold ribbon. This curvaceous creation, housing a mechanical self-winding movement, ensures unique wearer comfort. It admirably embodies the innate elegance and creative spirit of Breguet.

BREGUET REINE DE NAPLES MINI 8928

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The year 2017 also sees the arrival of a new addition to the Reine de Naples Mini line, now available in six additional variations. The famous mother-of-pearl dial and its off-centred 6 o’clock chapter ring remain the principal characteristics of this model, alongside its dainty 33 x 24.95mm size. The chapter ring is now graced with generously-sized graphic Arabic numerals designed to match the unique case shape. The six references unveiled this year pick up the aesthetic codes of the Reine de Naples collection, including the “ball-type” lug – in this instance paved with diamonds, as well as a winding crown topped with a briolette-cut diamond at 4 o’clock. The sense of opulent prestige continues on the bezel, flange and folding clasp in gold, finely set with brilliant-cut diamonds.

Continuing the tradition of equipping Breguet ladies’ watches with exclusively mechanical self-winding movements, the new Reine de Naples Mini houses Calibre 586/1 with a silicon balance spring. It has a 38-hour power reserve and beats at a frequency of 3Hz. This refined model is a true watchmaking gem available with a black satin strap or chain bracelet in rose or white gold. Clients wishing to opt for the white gold version can also choose a dial with pink-rimmed numerals, complemented by a pink leather strap matching the colourful details on the chapter ring.

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