By Nancy Olson
When it comes to beautiful watches with a serious history in watchmaking, Breguet is high on my list of favorites. The name calls to mind thoughtfully crafted timepieces, a long and stellar history, and a founder—Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747 – 1823)—known worldwide for his notable contributions to watchmaking. His credits include literally dozens of inventions, including the tourbillon, and he made timepieces for such notables as Marie Antoinette, Napoleon Bonaparte, the Duke of Wellington and Alexander I of Russia.
Breguet Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597
One of the pillars among Breguet’s watch collections today is the Tradition, launched in 2005. It is inspired by the Breguet souscription (subscription) watches of the past, thus the line is said to simultaneously hold the spirit of years long gone and a vision of the future and all its possibilities. The Tradition is the first Breguet timepiece to feature the movement on the dial side of the watch. And today the collection comprises numerous variations, each with an offset dial to illuminate the gorgeously rendered movement.
The Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597 is welcoming a new variation to the family. This year’s 7597BB ($38,600), displays an arresting blue offset dial and retrograde date, which colludes with the anthracite gray movement to create elegantly bold contrast not seen in other variations. The dial is secured by three screws and features hand-rendered guilloche in a Clous de Paris motif. Roman numerals mark the hours, while Breguet-style hands point the way.
The retrograde date arcs across the bottom half of the dial, and silver-toned numerals and gold cabochons span the curve. Setting the date is a simple affair: unscrew the pusher at 10 o’clock then press successively until the desired date is reached. A stepped blue hand points to days one through 31.
The 40mm elegantly minimalist white gold case, fitted on a blue leather strap, is water resistant to 30 meters. Inside, the self-winding caliber 505Q keeps things running smoothly. The movement is understatedly finished and features 45 jewels, an inverted lever escapement and power reserve of 50 hours. It also features a pare-chute shock-absorber system—another of Breguet’s inventions and the forerunner of the later Incabloc system. The sapphire caseback offers a great view of the singularly shaped gold rotor.
There are two other (earlier) variations within the Tradition Quantième Rétrograde collection. One is cased in rose gold and features a silvered dial. The other is in white gold, also with a silvered dial. Both are fitted on leather straps: the former on a brown strap with a rose gold buckle and the latter on a black strap with a white gold buckle.