Breguet Classique 7137
Some watches will always be synonymous with its maker. There’s the Calatrava and Patek Philippe, the Royal Oak and Audemars Piguet, the Reverso and Jaeger-LeCoultre, and of course, the Classique and Breguet. The Classique is virtually a line that pays tribute to the legacy of the brand’s founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, who also happens to be one of the greatest horologists that ever lived. Many works of art have been born from this collection, and last year, two more historically inspired novelties were introduced, one of which was the reinvigorated Classique 7137. The design of the Classique 7137 is based on the Breguet No. 5 pocket watch that was first sold by Abraham-Louis Breguet to a nobleman in the late 1700s. It was also one of Breguet’s first ‘Perpetuelle’ or self-winding watches.
Of course, while the Classique 7137 is heavily inspired from the legendary Breguet No. 5, it is far from a mere copy. The two watches have distinct technical profiles, and there are also notable design and aesthetic deviations. The Classique 7137 is, in our opinion, most aptly described as a watch that showcases the best of Breguet’s past and present. It is sternly traditional yet possesses the modern trimmings necessary to be relatable in today’s market. Here, we bring you the low-down and our thoughts on the amiable Classique 7137.
The Case, Dial, and Hands
Measuring just 39 mm in diameter and 8.65 mm in height, the case of the Classique 7137 aims to please both modernists and traditionalists. Its sub-centimeter thickness ensures that the watch will slide under even the tightest dress cuff with ease; the Classique 7137 is, after all, meant to be a dress watch so it must be able to do at least this much. The case is available in white gold (paired with a blue strap) or rose gold (paired with a brown strap). It features the brand’s signature coin-edge fluting on the case band and straight lugs with screw-pins.
But as evocative and iconic as the case is, the star of the show is undoubtedly the eye-catching, multi-textured dial. Depending on the reference, the dial will either be contemporary blue (for the white gold model) or classic silver (for the rose gold model). These dials are some of the most intricate that we’ve seen. Each one is engine turned by hand with three unique patterns: panier maillé, or basket weave, for the power reserve display; damier, or checkerboard, for the radial date display; and clous de Paris, or hobnailing, for the rest of the dial. Even the moon phase display – one of the most evocative we’ve seen – is afforded a great deal of attention to detail. We love how the surface of the moon is given ‘craters’ like on the actual moon, and how the aventurescent backdrop upon which the moon is set mimics a night sky full of shimmering stars.
To contrast the ornate parts of the dial, the hour and minute tracks, as well as the date, power reserve, and age of the moon tracks, are given an industrial brushed finish. For maximal legibility, the hands on the dial are rendered either in white gold for the blue dial or flame-blued steel for the silver dial.
Watch dials just don’t get much more beautiful than the Classique 7137’s. This one is best appreciated under a loupe for its rich detailing. (Bonus points if you can find the secret Breguet signature without one)
Driving the Classique 7137 is the 256-part, 37-jewel Calibre 502.3 DR1. The self-winding movement has a power reserve of 46 hours and operates at a traditional 3 Hz frequency. The hairspring is made of silicon (rendering it immune to magnetism) and features a Breguet overcoil for improved precision. Meanwhile, the oscillating weight that winds the watch is crafted in 22 carat gold and off-centered.
The Calibre 502.3 DR1 is adorned with the classic fare of Swiss fine finishing, including Geneva waves on the surface of the bridges, beveling and polishing on the edges, mirror polishing on the screw heads, and perlage on the base plate. Meanwhile, the semi-circular winding mass has been engraved with a mesmerising barleycorn motif as well as the manufacturer’s marque in block letters. While not exactly the very best when it comes to movement finissage, the Calibre 502.3 DR1 is still aesthetically pleasing, with a level of decoration that matches its price point.
The Competitive Landscape
The moon phase, power reserve, and date are some of the most commonly found (and combined) complications in horology. This is unsurprising given that they are fairly inexpensive for manufacturers to implement, and the end products often offer good value to enthusiast clients. Usually, it is craftsmanship that separate these watches – sometimes mechanics as well. In high watchmaking, specimens like the Breguet Classique 7137 are in a league of their own, combining exceptional craftsmanship with solid mechanics. There are so many reasons to love the Classique 7137; it being historically inspired is one, the drop-dead gorgeous engine turning on the dial being another. Both the rose gold and white gold variants are priced at SGD57,400.
For something that is equally luxurious and twice as asymmetrical, look no further than the A. Lange & Söhne Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase. The Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase has the exact same complications as the Classique 7137, though they are displayed differently. It may not have the ornate engine-turning that the Classique 7137 has on the dial, but the Lange more than makes up for it with superior movement finissage. The Grand Lange 1 Moon Phase has been around for many years and its latest variation is the “25th Anniversary” edition, priced at about SGD67,400 and few thousand dollars dearer than the regular production models.
Another excellent alternative to the Classique 7137 is the intriguing Duomètre à Quantième Lunaire. Jaeger-LeCoultre is well known to the watch community for offering value-for -money haute horlogerie and the Duomètre à Quantième Lunaire is a prime example of this notion. It features the astronomical pairing of a moon phase display and date indicator, along with the addition of a lightning seconds function and not one, but two power reserve indicators. Why two? This has to do with the unique dual-wing movement that drives the Duomètre (read more about it in our review). Of the three timepieces mentioned here, the Duomètre à Quantième Lunaire is unabashedly the most mechanically fascinating (at least in our opinion). We also like the fact that the movement is crafted in maillechort like the Lange, and decorated with heat-blued screws and sharp outward angles. Priced at USD42,700 or roughly SGD56,000, the Duomètre offers immense bang for buck, with more functions than the Breguet and movement finissage second only to the Lange.
If you’re into watchmaking art and history (and even if you’re not), the Breguet Classique 7137 is sure to impress. Thoughtfully designed and intricately crafted, the watch and its stunning guilloched dial holds true to the spirit of the Classique line.