Just when you think you’ve seen everything there is to see in a time-only dress watch, Breguet comes up with a new interpretation of the Classique 7147 that is the perfect embodiment of elegance and purity. The new Classique 7147 uses the same movement as the old but has an entirely different dial. It achieves a look that isn’t necessarily superior to its predecessor but is nonetheless a refreshing makeover.
Baselworld 2017: Breguet Classique 7147
The Classique 7147 comes in a 40 mm case – a size that will appeal to many – with Breguet’s signature fluted caseband and welded lugs with screw bars. While the old Classique 7147 came with the familiar Clous de Paris guilloché dial and Roman numerals, the new 2017 version is adorned with a beautiful grand feu enamel dial and Breguet numerals. To create the enamel dial, enamel powder is humidified to form a paste called barbotine. The latter is then 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. We particular admire how the single-piece enamel dial forms a “dimple”at 5 o’clock to make what is the seconds sub-dial; there is no break between dial to sub-dial. It is not only aesthetically-pleasing but also showcases Breguet’s prowess in the art of dial enamelling. The Classique 7147 utilises a unique asterisk minute track with diamond markers at 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock and fleur de lis-style markers on the other hours. The hours and minutes are aptly indicated by traditional blued steel Breguet hands while the seconds are indicated by a baton-style hand. The only inscriptions on the dial are the “Breguet” signature at 12 o’clock and “Swiss Emaille Grand Feu” to denote that the dial is everything but ordinary. Overall, the new Classique 7147 achieves a much dressier, purer appearance than its predecessor.
The Classique 7147 houses the self-winding Calibre 502.3SD, equipped with a silicon balance spring and an inverted in-line lever escapement with horns also made of silicon. The extra-thin (2.4 mm), 35-jewelled movement has a power reserve of 45 hours while operating at a stately 3 Hz beat rate. As one should expect from the House of Breguet, the movement is also attractively finished and decorated. Flip the watch to its back and one will greeted most notably by the fine barley corn guilloché on the off-centre winding rotor, Côtes de Genève on the bridges and perlage on the baseplate.
Whether one prefers the old or the new version is purely down to taste and personal requirements. While at 40 mm, the novel Breguet is at its most diplomatic size, we feel that it would still be better off 1 or 2 mm smaller, if only to become even more of a “classique“. Nevertheless, the watch remains stunning as it is and could very well be the dress watch of the year. The Classique 7147 is available in rose gold and white gold and comes with matching alligator leather straps and gold pin buckles. The prices for the rose gold and white gold variants are USD21,500 and USD21,000, respectively.