What can you get with USD$ 460,700? A Breguet Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087. Or quite frankly, about 3 of 6 Horological machines, about 4 Datographs or 40 steel Rolex Daytonas. Pardon the quick jibe at the price. This particular Breguet is indeed on the pricey side for most of humanity, but for those who can afford it, it is one heck of a watch.
In our previous pre-assessment of this Minute Repeater Tourbillon, we were all rave over it. But this time around, we have some varying opinions of this piece. Some of us finds that it is overly done, like a well done steak, and has the propensity of being too flamboyant or ‘showy’, while others thought its dial side was simply too busy for normal consumption. However, I remain an ardent fan of the Tradition collection regardless. The open concept with displaced dial is nothing new. But what makes this piece so special, is how Breguet has put the hammer and striking mechanism on the dial side. What is even more fascinating is that the hammer strikes vertically. For a watch nut, these semblance of engineering ingenuity is almost sufficient to deliver arduous waves of ecstatic pleasure.
It uses a 18K gold dial covered in an impressive ‘Guilloché’. The dial is off-centered at 1:30 and features an hours chapter ring in roman numerals, as well as the signature blued steel Open tipped Breguet hands. There is an 80 hours power reserve indicator in an aperture at 12 o’clock, using a blue disc indicator. Other Breguet inventions include a Breguet balance-wheel on a Breguet silicon spring; both of which are proven to be high performance features which reduces wear and retains accuracy. The balance frequency is 4Hz and the movement can be adjusted in six positions.
Apart from that, the watch is a startling bastion of Breguet inventions. To name a few, a magnetic strike governor, gong spring and Breguet balance spring. Using twin 180° symmetrically deploying balance springs, the minute repeater balances out respective forces exercised on the balance-staff as well as increases the stability of the oscillator and hence improves timing precision. These technological advances are made possible through the use of silicon, which greatly improves watch regulation. The result is a regulating power equivalent to around 830 microwatts, an achievement when one considers that the regulating capacity of the best chronometers is between 300 and 400 microwatts.
Technical expertise aside, the movement in and of itself is a sight to behold. It uses depth, layer construction, and blatant rawness to create a highly theatrical movement set. The gun metal colour and brushed finish of some parts remind the wearer that the watch is a functional machine, but at the same time, there is classical finishing on other parts with anglage. Noticeably there is a juxtaposition of a frosted plate at the 6 o’clock position of the movement with the raw teeth plates on the minute repeater gear mechanism.
All in all, the Breguet Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087 is a well-crafted and highly engineered masterpiece that is not only highly functional, but also aesthetically astute. In particular, its combination of both refined finishing and industrial like functionality creates an aesthetic amalgamation that is unusual but incredibly fascinating. The contrast of metals, a rose gold case and a frosted titanium plate on the dial side further reiterates the harmony of tool and luxury.
Although some may find it pricey, it is nonetheless a top of the line product and the minute repeater is priced to meet its competitors. In fact, compared to similar products in the range, like Vacheron Constantin’s repeaters, or Lange’s Zeitwerk MR, or Patek Philippe minute repeaters, it actually is relatively affordable. In particular, this piece is a must for those who collects minute repeaters. And why? It’s because its hammers are on the dial side, and they strike vertically towards the dial! A first for minute repeaters, and probably a turning point in the history of minute repeaters; putting Breguet at the forefront of inventions, yet again.