Pre-Baselworld 2015: Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097

Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097

Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097

Breguet has just announced the Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097, the latest model of their Tradition collection that will be unveiled next year at Baselworld.

The new watch, like the rest of the Tradition collection, is inspired by the “subscription watches” and recalls the genius of Abraham-Louis Breguet who first produced these one-hand watches in 1796. They were fitted with a very simple movement and sold by subscription: a down payment of a quarter of the price on order and the balance on delivery. Abraham-Louis Breguet also used the movements of his “subscription” watches for his first tact watches.

I think a little explanation is required, the name tact watch, comes from the French montre à tact, it is also known as the “blind man’s watch”. A tact watch is equipped with a mechanism invented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1799, that enables the wearer to read time even in complete darkness, by touching the side of the case where a pointer echos the position of the hour hand.

While the Tradition 7097 is not tact watch, it pays tribute to the mechanisms of the “subscription” and tact watches by revealing the bridges, wheels, escapement, barrel and other components of the movement, which are usually hidden beneath the baseplate. Trim embellishments enhance the visual balance displayed by the symmetrical bridges. The bridges and baseplate are peened according to a decorative technique that requires rare skill and faultless execution to achieve a regular and uniform finish. The gold winding rotor borrows its style from the movements of the period while a conventional engine-turned hobnail pattern, done by hand, highlights a dial in silvered gold offset at 12 o’clock. This type of dial can be found on many of the tact watches made by Abraham-Louis Breguet.

The new model gets its name from the retrograde seconds hand at 10 o’clock, which supplements the hours and minutes shown by Breguet-style open-tipped hands in blued steel. Breguet’s watchmakers show off the complication with the help of a circular-brushed semi-circle that also makes the other indications easy to read. To maintain the symmetry, the pare-chute is located at 4 o’clock. This Breguet invention, which protects the balance staff from shocks, can be identified at a glance as the emblematic feature of the Tradition collection. It is the forbear of all the shock-protection devices in use today, including the Incabloc system.

The 40mm case, available in white gold or rose gold, houses the automatic Cal. 505SR1 movement with an inverted in-line lever escapement with silicon pallets and a silicon Breguet overcoil balance spring that ensure exceptional stability of rate.

The 7097 is another fine example of Breguet the brand follows the spirit of its namesake by combining tradition with the latest technical innovations.

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