Despite being invented over 300 years ago, minute repeaters are still among the most challenging feats of assembly in haute horlogerie. Which is why any addition to the limited stable of striking watches out there — however familiar — is cause for commendation. The piece we are highlighting today is the Breguet Classique Repetition Minutes 7637 — a chiming emblem from a brand whose founder may not have created the first repeater, but gave the world a blueprint for modern watchmakers to follow long after.
In 1783, Abraham-Louis Breguet discovered a new way to construct minute repeaters by having the hammers strike a spring blade instead of a traditional bell-type gong. Because the blades could coil around the movement, the overall thickness of the watch could be reduced, and the resulting sound would also be clearer.
(Related: Tradition lives on)
That legacy lives on in the 7637, which first debuted in the Classique collection around 2009. Still available in the current collection, its styling was classic Breguet: Engine-turned guilloche dial with a 24-hour display and double seconds, with Roman numerals and blued steel Breguet hands, and versions in white or rose gold. Last year, the brand overhauled this design to offer something much more modern, but no less elegant, with just a two-hand display against a dark blue enamel dial with applied Arabic numerals housed in a 42mm white gold case.
Now, the 7637 welcomes its newest iteration in rose gold with a black enamel dial, and the effect is sublime. The even sheen of the dial is a result of the laborious process that is Grand Feu enamelling. First, ground silica and oxide powder are dissolved in water and applied to the dial plate. After each application, the dial is fired at a temperature exceeding 800 deg C. It takes numerous applications and firings to get the shade exactly right, which is why a single dial can take several weeks to complete.
The Calibre 567.2, viewable through the sapphire crystal caseback, is also a thing of beauty. All the bridges are elaborately engraved, and the gongs are also crafted in gold — not just for extravagance’s sake, but to match the case material in order to exploit the same acoustic impedance for better performance. The balance oscillates at a frequency of 2.5Hz, and will run for 40 hours on a full wind. The new 7637 is paired with a black alligator strap secured by a gold triple-blade folding clasp.
For more information, click here