Tradition Lives On

by Portfolio Magazine
Photos courtesy of Breguet
16 Nov 2020

Drawing from its rich history, Breguet offers an exciting take on timekeeping with the Tradition collection, as well as the new Breguet Tradition Quantième Retrograde 7597

Beyond its structured look, Breguet’s Tradition collection surprisingly has its heart and soul rooted in simplicity. The range draws inspiration from the construction of the souscription pocket watch, which was created at the end of the 18th century.

In the spring of 1795, Abraham-Louis Breguet resumed management of his Parisian workshop after spending two difficult years in Switzerland at the height of the French Revolution. In order to keep the company afloat during this period, on his immediate agenda was attracting a new clientele. What resulted was the creation of a watch that was at once simple, reliable and affordable, but yet highly desirable — a counterpoint to the complicated commissioned watches he was known for at the time.

Breguet soon introduced the souscription pocket watch, where one quarter of the timepiece’s price was “to be paid when subscribing” for it. With its design and inherent elegance, as well as an accompanying document that outlined his intentions, motivations, and technical choices, it went on to become a commercial success.

Three years later, the souscription à tact (“tact”) watch followed, which was a design that evolved from the souscription watch. Aside from being able to discreetly tell time through touch studs, the “tact” watch also featured a small dial on the opposite side, featuring one or two hands. This unique characteristic served as the inspiration for the Tradition collection, which was launched in 2005.

It has been almost two decades since the Tradition collection was introduced and through the years, the originality of the various models from the range have been on full display, exhibiting a wealth of impressive characteristics — from hand **** or self-winding models to others with dual-time or retrograde seconds, independent chronograph, or minute repeater functions, among others.

The latest addition to the Tradition collection is the Breguet Tradition Quantième Retrograde 7597, which is a head turner with a fully visible movement that unveils a perfect symmetrical design. While the timepiece is guided by its rich heritage, it also looks ahead with impressive innovations.

It boasts a retrograde date display, which is a complication that the watchmaker was one of the first to develop. While the retrograde date display, located between 3 and 9 o’clock, is a useful daily complication in telling the date, it is also a fine aesthetic choice that provides overall symmetry and depth.

(Related read: A new decade of watchmaking)

Within the elegant fluted white (or rose) gold 40 mm case is the 505Q self-winding caliber equipped with a reverse in-line lever escapement with silicon horns, as well as a Breguet balance spring in silicon. The gold rotor visible through the transparent caseback is reminiscent of the Perpetuelles, or first self-winding watches, which is a testimony to the ingenuity of the master watchmaker.

Overall, the Tradition 7597 is an impressive timepiece from the inside out. However, it is more than just an instrument. It is a tangible amalgamation of history and ingenuity, where over 245 years of watchmaking know-how meets the rigorous standards of 21st century watchmaking. 

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