One of the most exciting shifts in the landscape of watches is a return to dressy, elegant and — dare I say it — sophisticated timepieces. Don’t worry; no one is coming to take your chronographs and divers away. Rather, we seem to have remembered that our passion for watches isn’t a binary affair and that there’s plenty of room at the table for watches that evoke and honour a seemingly bygone era of precision and poise.
Breguet’s Classique collection is a perfect exemplar of this traditional aesthetic is Breguet’s Classique collection. This should come as no surprise, as Breguet is one of the most classic makers out there, harkening back to the times of the great French watchmaker Abraham Louis Breguet. And it isn’t just the name on the dial that is a link to the past. Everything about the Classique collection speaks to the design codes of the 18th century, pared — of course — with 21st-century watchmaking capacity.
The latest additions to this prestigious family are the Quantième Perpétuel 7327 in white or rose gold. The 39mm case is perfectly sized for contemporary tastes and features the distinctive fluted case band lugs, but at first glance, it’s the dial that steals the attention. The guilloché silvered dial showcases Breguet’s enviable finishing skills, with an exceptionally fine Clous de Paris hobnail pattern that is simplified from previous perpetual calendar models and which contrasts wonderfully with the rich blued hands — especially the ‘moon’ tips on the primary set of hands. Great care has also been take to ensure the dial layout is as clean as possible, and the brand has succeeded; the dial feels spacious and quite restrained for a complicated watch.
There’s an elegance, and a simplicity to the finishings of this Classique, one that continues to the calibre. The automatic Calibre 502.3.P is one of Breguet’s thinnest, measuring 4.5mm thick, thanks in part to the open barrel and off-centred gold oscillating weight, finished with a wonderful circular barleycorn guilloché. The bridges are finished with Côtes de Genève and chamfered edges, living up to the values and principles of high watchmaking. This slender calibre was chosen specifically with the wearer’s comfort in mind, and ease of use is present in the perpetual calendar too. The calendar complications each occupy their own separate dial real estate. The date, day and year occupy three subdials at the bottom of the dial, there’s a charming retrograde month at 10 o’clock, and opposite on the dial is a realistic, hand-hammered moon, with a blue lacquer composed of spangles that, when observed closely, reveals twinkling stars. These complications are all adjusted via five correctors around the case middle, with the crown operating the primary time.
There’s a great charm to the Breguet Classique Quantième Perpétuel 7327, it has an appeal that is at once instantly grounded in a historical period, while remaining timeless. It’s a curious ability and the hallmark of a genuinely classic design.
Breguet Classique Quantième Perpétuel 7327
References: 7327BB/11/9VU in white gold, 7327BR/11/9VU in rose gold
Movement: Calibre 502.3.P, automatic, silicon escape wheel and balance spring, 45 hours of power reserve
Functions: Hours, minutes, perpetual calendar (day, date, retrograde month, leap year), moon phases
Case: 39 x 9.13mm, 18-carat white or rose gold, sapphire crystal case back
Dial: Silvered gold dial, hand-engraved on a rose engine
Strap: Blue alligator on the white gold, brown alligator on the rose gold
Price: USD 80,200