The Breguet 7077, with Independent Blade Spring Powered Chronograph and More (Video)

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Breguet Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077 - Perpetuelle

Breguet’s “La Tradition” (Tradition) collection celebrates its tenth anniversary this year — I’ve already shared two of the three new additions to the line unveiled this year at Baselworld, including the Tradition 7097 Retrograde Seconds and the Tradition 7087 Minute Repeater Tourbillon.  Today we look at my favorite, the Tradition 7077 Chronographe Indépendant 7077.   Within its 44-mm white gold case, the 7077 essentially has two entirely independent movements (gear trains, escapements and springs (but not just any spring!)) for its two primary functions – regular timekeeping and chronograph timing.   But the best of this watch is in the details.  I’ll break it all down, starting with a short video which helps set the stage for what’s going on in this watch.

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A Stunning New Minute Repeater Tourbillon from Breguet, the Tradition 7087

The minute-repeater stands alone, even among the more coveted horological complications, and Breguet’s tourbillons are also in a class all their own.    In the new 7087 Minute Repeater Tourbillon Breguet’s watchmakers and engineers made a clean sweep of the usual methods to design their exceptional timepiece around the sound it produces.   The 7087 represents all the company’s latest innovations for watch like this including the extensive research and development effort that leads up to it.

You can immediately see the unusual shape of the repeater gongs which sit on top of the dial.  The gongs are attached to the bezel which is mounted to the caseband in such a manner that enables the bezel and crystal to vibrate along with the gongs.  The gongs are struck by hammers in an upward motion, which is also unusual.  This novel and pioneering approach enabled Breguet to design a product that has exceptional purity of sound and an original tone.  It all comes together in an utterly fascinating minute repeater!!

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First Look: Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097

Baselworld 2015 preview…

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Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097

With 2015 — and the two big annual watch shows — right around the corner, many brands have already taken to pre-releasing a model or two in their 2015 lineup to whet the appetite of watch enthusiasts.  While most sneak peaks have been from Richemont brands attending the January SIHH show, I now have an first look at a spectacular new piece from Breguet which will be officially unveiled at Baselworld 2015 next March.

In the tradition of the collection, the new Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 puts on full dial-side display the bridges, wheels, escapement, barrel and other components of the caliber.  This particular mode also has a retrograde seconds hand — a perfect complication to be showcased in the Tradition collection.  The retrograde seconds arc intersects the offset hours and minutes display at 12 o’clock, its blue hand also nicely complementing the blued steel Breguet-style hour and minute hands. It has a 40mm white gold case (rose gold also to be offered) with fluted caseband typical of the Breguet style.

Full details and high res images, on the click

Enamel Explained: The Art of Cloisonné, Grand Feu, Champlevé, Flinqué & Other Enamel Techniques

  JLC Master Ultra Thin Grand Feu Closeup

You see the terms referred to regularly here at Perpétuelle:  “grand feu”, “champlevé”, and “cloisonné”.    And what are they?  Enamel techniques, of course!  Very often used to create some of the most beautiful watch dials the world has ever seen.  But what exactly do these terms mean?  How are these enamel techniques different?  What distinguishes each of these enamel types from the others?  And what about those other rare occasions where we see the art of “flinque”, & “grisaille” — enamel techniques as well — on display.  I explore these questions and more in this overview of the art of enamel in watchmaking.

In many articles related to fine watchmaking, it is easy to brush past big, fancy (and typically French) words used to describe watchmaking techniques — enamel-related or otherwise.  But given that enamel dials are often the most unique and beautiful of all dials in fine watchmaking, with basically all of the most prestigious haute horlogerie brand producing such pieces (some more frequently than others), the time has never been better to deepen our understanding of what these terms mean.

Because of the organic nature of the material and manner in which it is produced — almost always by the skilled hand of an experienced artisan — I believe that it can be fairly stated that every watch with an enamel dial is a unique piece as well.   But for most, the difference between a cloissoné dial (such as that found on a Patek 5131G) and a champlevé dial (as seen on a Vacheron Metiers d’Art) is but another trivial watchmaking detail.  This naivete, I confess, was somewhat the case for me as well — at least for a while.  But then I became more and more intrigued by the art of enamel and decided to expand my knowledge base, which I share with you now.

This is an article I’ve had in my head for quite some time now, and an admittedly one that only the nerdiest of watch-nerds might appreciate.  But I’m glad to have finally finished it and I enjoyed writing it.  So follow along as I take you through the finer points of enamel and enameling techniques used in fine watchmaking.   And please note — this is not an exhaustive study of the very broad ranging “art of enamel”, but as I say will review the most commonly used techniques fine watchmaking, and a few less commonly used techniques as well.

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