Friday, October 23

Review: Where Classic Meets Contemporary – The Breguet Tradition 7067

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Breguet Tradition 7067

When it comes to influencing the history of horology, no manufacturer was ever quite as impactful as Breguet. In fact, the Vallée de Joux brand continues to set the tone in present day watchmaking. Those familiar with Breguet know that the brand has many faces thanks to its significant historical presence. It has a ‘Classique’ face, inspired by the early works of Abraham-Louis Breguet, who happens to be the greatest horologist that ever existed and also the brand’s founder. It also has a ‘Marine’ face, which pays tribute to old marine chronometers made by Breguet for the French navy. Then there’s also the ‘Type XX’ face which takes pride in the brand’s more recent past of designing watches for the French naval air army.

There is one side of Breguet that is perhaps the most striking and different compared it’s other visages: the ‘Tradition’. At first glance, timepieces from the Tradition line appears to be an attempt to appeal to modern tastes. Fun fact: it actually is an homage to Abraham-Louis Breguet’s ‘souscription’ (subscription) watches which were launched at the dusk of the 18th century. The Breguet Tradition collection was first introduced in 2005, but it wasn’t until 2012 that the Tradition 7067 was presented. The Tradition 7067, also known as the Tradition GMT, is arguably the line’s most practical model thanks to its useful set of complications. In the spirit of ‘better late than never’, we bring you the low-down and our thoughts on one of modern day Breguet’s most unmissable timepieces, the Tradition 7067 in white gold.

The Case, Dial, and Hands

The case of the Tradition 7067 – like most other Breguet watch cases – is not your typical Swiss watch case. It is packed with nuance that identifies it as a true Breguet creation. The most notable embellishment on the case is the coin edge fluting on the band, which adds to the visual and tactile experience of the watch. To connoisseurs, it is what makes a Breguet, a Breguet, much like the signature straight lugs. These lugs are welded onto the case and utilise screw-pins to secure the generously bolstered leather straps of the Tradition 7067. Screw-pins, rather than the more usual spring bars, are the more premium approach to holding the straps between the horns, and also the more secure way. Apart from the usual crown at 3 o’clock, there is also a pusher at 10 o’clock to allow for quick setting of the local time. This rather prominent pusher can be screwed down when not in use, to prevent accidental actuation.

One of the most recognisable elements of a Breguet timepiece is the straight lugs. They are welded onto the case for the best aesthetic and security outcome.

The face of the Tradition 7067 is a gear head’s dream come true. Most of the dial has been openworked to reveal the movement in all its glory. Even the remaining parts of what can be considered ‘the dial’ have largely been pared down. The sub-dial for the second time zone at the 8 o’clock position, for instance, is merely a blackened ring with the hour and minute track printed on it. The same goes for the day/night display at 9 o’clock – it, too, is a simple ring with one half blackened to denote nighttime. This has been done to allow for maximal visibility of the movement behind. The sub-dial for the local time, however, hasn’t been stripped bare so as to ensure that the most important time indication of all remains fully legible. The silvered gold sub-dial features Breguet’s signature Clous de Paris finish. The intricate pattern may appear stamped due to its uniform look, but it is in fact hand-guilloched with a traditional rose lathe. Indicating the time (both local and home) are open-tipped Breguet hands that were invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet himself in 1783. The day/night display is indicated by a short sword hand instead, to prevent operator confusion.

Breguet hands in blued steel are yet another signature of the brand.

The Movement

Driving the Tradition 7067 is the 215-part, 40-jewel Calibre 507 DRF. The manually wound movement has a power reserve of just over two days (50 hours) and operates at a stately 3 Hz beat rate. It is a front-loaded movement with a mostly covered up case back. There is a rather clandestine power reserve indicator placed at the back of the watch to allow the owner to check on the power reserve. Placing the indicator at the back also reduces clutter up front.

In the Calibre 507 DRF are some of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s most celebrated inventions including the Breguet hairspring, where introducing an ‘overcoil’ to the spring enhanced precision, and the pare-chute shock protection system, the forerunner of the modern ‘Incabloc’. The hairspring is also made of silicon, rendering it amagnetic and temperature resistant. While the use of silicon in traditional watchmaking remains a somewhat controversial matter, the benefits it offers over metal is undeniable.

The Calibre 507 DRF as seen through the exhibition case back.

When it comes to finissage, the Calibre 507 DRF looks deceptively industrial. A closer look will reveal the fine, immaculate details that truly maketh the movement. The frosted, anthracite grey bridges and plate of the Calibre 507 DRF have been expertly beveled and polished. These polished bevels, along with the black polished screw that secure the movement offer a beautiful visual contrast to the grungy surface of the plate and bridges. It is interesting to note as well that the variable inertia bolts on the balance wheel are made of coloured gold, offering a bit more colour and theatre when they oscillate, to the otherwise monochromatic movement.

The second time zone sub-dial balances out the balance wheel at 4 o’clock.

The Competitive Landscape

When it comes to dual time zone watches, there aren’t many specimens in the market quite as fascinating as the Breguet Tradition 7067. Its openworked design coupled with Breguet’s signature elements is truly a sight to behold. The watch may look industrial (this is obviously intended) but a closer inspection will show that it is finely finished in accordance to what you’d expect from a high end timepiece. The Tradition 7067 is available in rose and white gold. The former is priced at SGD56,200 while the latter is SGD57,400.

The Tradition 7067 will slide under all but the tightest sleeves. Its straight lugs are part of the timepiece’s charm although it could wear awkward on a small wrist.

One interesting though unlikely competitor to the Tradition 7067 is the Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance GMT. Much like the Breguet, it has an openworked dial, a day/night indicator, a dual time display, and power reserve functionality. In addition to these features, the watch also boasts Armin Strom’s patented Resonance Clutch Spring that allows both counter-oscillating balances to resonate with one another. The result is superb timekeeping precision. Other differences include a 24-hour time display, better finissage, double the number of power reserve indicators, and a whopping 110-hour power reserve. Prices for the Dual Time Resonance starts at an eye-watering CHF180,000 and production is extremely limited.

The Armin Strom Masterpiece 1 Dual Time Resonance GMT is a behemoth at 59.0 mm x 43.4 mm x 15.9 mm.

For something more closely priced and accessible, there’s the Vacheron Constantin Harmony Dual Time, a gorgeous tonneau shaped timepiece with a dual time and day/night display. While the Harmony Dual Time has a more classical predisposition compared to the Tradition 7067, it is no less intriguing, with its atypical case shape and sub-dial layout. But unlike the Tradition 7067, it is an automatic timepiece. It also bears the Hallmark of Geneva that in part certifies the high standard of finishing and reliability of the movement within. The Harmony Dual Time is priced at SGD45,100.

The Vacheron Constantin Harmony Dual Time was first introduced as part of a special limited edition series to celebrate the brand’s 260th birthday (pictured). While the anniversary variant is no longer in the catalogue, a regular production version is still available for purchase.

Final Thoughts

The Tradition 7067 is a mirror unto which the ethos of Breguet is reflected. Much like its maker, the watch is contemporary yet deeply rooted in its traditions. It offers so much more to look at other than its displays and, as far as luxury watches are concerned, is fairly priced. To examine the Tradition 7067 is to take a walk down the history of watchmaking. And even if you care not for history lessons, the watch is sure to start more than a few conversations. The Breguet Tradition 7067 is a winner in our eyes – its importance and longevity in the Breguet catalogue is proof of that.

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