When you consider Breguet , you probably picture a classic watch with elegant extents, a guilloché dial and a beautifully executed development. This is partially evident, however there’s more to be said about the brand. Certainly, it is one of (if not the) most historically important brands, mainly because its organizer, Abraham-Louis Breguet, is behind the greater part of the innovations of the 18th/19th century, and the majority of them are still being used today. As an accolade for this glorious and rich past, the brand still retains its soul of innovation beautifully demonstrated with this Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727. Not another watch, yet one we wanted to explore again.
Breguet, the innovator
We’ve said it in the past and we’ll say it again: Abraham-Louis Breguet (10 January 1747 – 17 September 1823) is arguably the main watchmaker, everything being equal. Enough said. His influence on watchmaking, on chronometry and on anything related to the measurement of time is, still today, a tangible reality. Many of the technical solutions that are being used in our cutting edge watches were developed, created or improved by A.L. Breguet himself, over 200 years ago. That is an incredible legacy to live with, and Swatch Group, the current proprietor of the cutting edge Breguet brand, is simply not allowed to wreck with a name of this stature.
Breguet’s masterpiece is, without question, the innovation of the tourbillon regulator – a small gadget that aims at counteracting the impact of gravity on the regulating organ of a watch (exceptionally useful on a static pocket watch, less on an advanced wristwatch… yet mechanically fascinating). However, diminishing Breguet’s professional life to the tourbillon would be an insult to the virtuoso of this man. A portion of the mechanisms or gadgets that we still use in today’s watches were brought into the world in his brain or improved to the point of becoming functional realities.
Over his career, which led him to Switzerland and to France, Breguet delivered more than 17,000 watches (and no two Breguet pieces are exactly alike…) for probably the most influential personalities of the day. In his constant soul of experimentation, A.L. Breguet innovated and created multiple gadgets, for example, the tourbillon, the perpetual calendar, the equation of time or the gong jumps on ringing watches. A portion of his developments are also considerably more rational, yet no less capital, for example, the creation of the pare-chute (an early stun securing gadget), the Breguet overcoil or the first-since forever wristwatch. He also drastically improved the idea of the automatic watch.
Finally, and this is something that less know, Abraham-Louis Breguet may simply be the first-historically speaking watchmaker to have created a brand, with a clear personality, design codes and clever stunts to shield his creations from duplicating – indeed, hard to believe, yet fake Breguet watches existed in the early 19th century. This particular subject, the purported “unmistakable signs”, is the main focal point of our inside and out video . Let’s get straight to the point… A.L. Breguet’s influence on watchmaking is monstrous and, as such, Breguet may simply be the most historically important name and brand of the industry… and the Swatch Group has to live with this, and to regard it.
Now, many of our readers may know about that, however this prologue to the man behind Breguet was necessary, just to help ourselves to remember what’s important… And because the watch we’re looking at today – which isn’t a novelty, yet one we’ve chose to take a closer look at – has a mission! A major one. Demonstrating that Breguet (the brand) is consistent with the man who created the brand (Abraham-Louis). A serious challenge. Let’s look at the Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727 and check whether the soul of innovation and the design codes are still alive. (Spoiler alert: it does.)
The brilliant technology behind the Chronométrie 7727
For once, we’ll start this top to bottom article with a close look at the mechanics. Despite the fact that the design and execution of this piece are spectacular, what’s covered up inside its development is significantly more important. The Chronométrie 7727 is among those watches that fly under the radar. There’s the surface of the watch, its delicate case and dial, and then there’s what’s really matters, what’s only revealed to connoisseurs, the ultra-present day technology that you’ve imagined in spaceship-like designs however never ready a particularly classic watch.
The Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727 is anything however demonstrative. Its very raison d’être is explicitly stated in its name: chronometry, the art of exactness and accuracy. Such a back-to-basics of what horology really means. As much as we love to see grande complications and incredible displays, the main target of watchmaking was (and should still be) to give the most accurate indication of the time. There are multiple ways to achieve this, by means of decreased tolerances on the parts and insanely exact creation measures (for example Rolex or Omega), frameworks to give constant power, finely regulated escapements or intriguing materials (silicon being the benchmark).
In the case of the Breguet 7727, it’s all about exploring new domains, increasing the recurrence of the regulator and utilizing magnetism, one of the most exceedingly awful adversaries of a watch, to improve exactness. The idea behind this watch was to increase the recurrence of the regulating organ; the faster the balance and escapement beat, the better the accuracy can (theoretically) be. Most present day watches beat at 4Hz or 28,800 vibrations/hour, regarded as the best compromise among accuracy and weight on mobile parts. A few watches push it somewhat further, with a 5Hz recurrence of 36,000 vibrations/hour, like the Zenith El Primero or Grand Seiko, still with relatively traditional technologies.
With the Classique Chronométrie 7727, Breguet duplicates it to achieve a 10Hz recurrence, or 72,000 vibrations/hour, which could theoretically enhance the overall accuracy of the watch. Because it oscillates with a higher recurrence, it has a superior capacity to compensate for its own blunders. The main issue with high-recurrence is that it creates more weight on the moving parts, more grinding and subsequently less reliability – erosion is great at destroying the performance of a watch over the long haul. The solution lies, obviously, in silicon.
Silicon is a material widely known for its anti-magnetic properties, yet it has a lot more to offer. It very well may be created with incredible exactness, it is lighter than most metals, it is self-lubricating and eliminates the requirement for oils (which will inevitably degrade). All of these factors allow the regulating organ to run faster. In the Classique Chronométrie 7727, the pallet lever, the escape wheel and the double hairspring are made of this material – the latter can be seen from the back, with its openworked architecture and its purple-blue colour.
Still, Breguet didn’t stop here. The huge innovation in this 7727 is the manner by which it relies on magnetism to achieve greater exactness. Magnetism, as you may know, is to the regulating organ what kryptonite is to the man in red underwear. For quite a long time, escapement parts were crafted from ferrous alloys… No requirement for a drawing here. Bring a magnet close to watch and you’ll see the result immediately and over the long haul. Solutions were discovered, like delicate iron cages and recently, silicon – which is anti-magnetic and is one of the vital elements behind Omega’s 15,000 gauss magnetic-resistance . Having a large portion of the regulating organ parts made in this cutting edge, anti-magnetic material, Breguet chose to take considerably greater strides, not by counteracting magnetism yet utilizing it as an ally to enhance the performance of its watch… That was in 2014 and is still a genuine revolution today.
The Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727 features “magnetic pivots”. In a traditional watch, the balance wheel is held in place by a vertical axis known as the “balance staff”. It is situated between two lubricated jewels named end-stones (more often than not with a safeguard) to lessen grating. The mechanical contact at this point generates a great deal of grinding. The virtuoso of this Breguet lies in two miniature magnets (one on each side of the balance staff) to stabilize the balance wheel and hold it in place. As such, the regulating organ is suspended by magnetic gravity.
As you can find in the technical drawing above, the balance staff isn’t entirely liberated from mechanical association, as one of the two magnets (the one on top) is slightly more grounded than the other, meaning that the two parts contact. Despite the fact that, erosion is dramatically decreased, allowing the regulating organ to oscillate almost freely – which, incidentally, improves the movement’s proficiency by diminishing the energy utilization. In addition to that, these magnets act as safeguards. At the point when a stun happens, the balance will be automatically re-focused by the magnetic fields. Finally, as it is practically liberated from mechanical contact, the impacts of gravity on the balance are also greatly diminished (should help you one to remember Breguet’s best inventions…).
This was possible only because all the critical parts of the watch – escape wheel, pallet lever, balance spring – are made from anti-magnetic silicon. Most awesome aspect all, this isn’t an idea, however a real-world watch, which can be purchased in stores. No big surprise why this watch won the Aiguille d’Or at GPHG in 2014 . It is simply impressive!
The Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727 as a timepiece
Now that we’ve looked in details at what’s covered up underneath the sapphire caseback of this 7727, the time has come to look at everything else… And here, no debate, this Classique Chronométrie is 100% Breguet. It features all the fixings that make it both easily recognizable and historically relevant with Abraham-Louis’ creations – the alleged unmistakable signs.
Despite being innovative and present day (not to say avant-garde) mechanically speaking, the Classique Chronométrie 7727 is all about elegance, timelessness, eminent execution and that slightly outdated design that makes Breguet watches so desirable. In the first place, the case of this watch is on the large side for a dress watch, with a 41mm diameter – mainly because of the large development and the quantity of indications on the dial. Still, it retains a slim profile of 9.65mm. The lugs are traditionally welded to the case and feature the screw-pins to hold the strap in place. The case, available either in 18k white gold or 18k rose gold (both having the same dial), is entirely polished and, as you would expect, is adorned with a fluted decoration on the sides (the purported cannelures). The lugs are straight however not too long.
We can’t review a Breguet watch without looking at the dial. And this Classique Chronométrie 7727 is no special case for the rule with its incredibly detailed decorations. The dial is hand-guilloché by specialized craftsmen, internally at Breguet, on a solid gold plate. On this watch, no less than six patterns have been applied, to create differentiated areas for each of the indications.
- Waves in the centre
- Clou de Paris for the small seconds sub-dial at 12 o’clock
- Sunburst pattern for the 2-second running counter at 1 o’clock
- Chevrons for the force save indicator at 5 o’clock
- Cross-hatched for the hours chapter
- Barleycorn pattern for the external edge of the dial
In addition to that, the rings with numerals or markers are brushed and the (not so) secret signature is engraved on each side of the small seconds. This description could easily make you feel that this dial is a mess… On the contrary, it helps to separate the capacities and enhance legibility – one of A.L. Breguet’s main targets when he started to utilize guilloché. The execution is simply wonderful and the result, which may be unbalanced, is full of charm. The blued steel hands are classic Breguet with the supposed unusual “moon” tip.
Two things are to be noted on this dial, besides the classic indications for the hours/minutes, the small seconds and the force save indicator. The first is a running indicator (on the correct side of the small seconds), which rotates once like clockwork. Useful? Not really, however it animates the dial and helps us to remember how fast the regulating organ is beating. The second is a triangular extension situated at 2 o’clock, which is the converse side of the magnetic rotate that holds the balance in place – and suggestive of antique pare-chute spans. Indeed, maybe not entirely necessary yet not something that would alter my overall assessment of this watch.
To end up with the dial, you’ll note a cartouche at 9 o’clock with the exceptional number of the watch – which can help trace it in the brand’s archives – and below it, the 10Hz mention… Probably the least persuading point on this watch. Not only is the notice of the recurrence unnecessary, however the text style utilized is way too current compared to the overall look of this Classique Chronométrie 7727. Apart from that, this Breguet is all that you would anticipate from the brand: elegant, classic, slightly old-fashioned (positively) and despite the revolutionary mechanism, easily wearable – much the same as any other dress watch by Breguet.
Turning the watch over and you’ll see a development that is beautifully executed and decorated. The shape of the extensions is complex, despite the fact that it doesn’t reveal a lot. The scaffolds are decorated by hand, with Geneva stripes and polished bevels, the main plate is circular grained and the wheels are adorned with soleillage. The two barrels, which give a stable flow of energy, allow for a comfortable 60h force save. As we referenced previously, the abundance of technology isn’t only for our pleasure: the accuracy of the development is rated to – 1/+3 seconds/day.
I have been genuinely dazzled by the Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727, not only because of its boss technology (which is still, to date, the only watch on the market relying on this idea) but since it manages to combine it with a restrained, elegant habillage. Everything in this watch is Breguet, regardless of whether its design or its soul of innovation. In this instance, it is a great recognition for the name of its organizer. It isn’t a watch with a name randomly imprinted on its dial, however one that has been finished with all due regard to quite possibly the main watchmakers in history.
Now, is this watch awesome? No, however I’m talking minor flaws that won’t change my final assessment. I’d love to see it in a more compact case of 38mm or 39mm. Men with larger wrists won’t have any issue with the Classique Chronométrie 7727 however for me, 41mm is altogether too much. Second, the 10Hz notice on the dial should be eliminated. That is all. Finally, I figure the decoration of the development could be slightly improved and be more demonstrative, despite the fact that it would mean an alternate value range. And with a cost just below EUR 40k, this watch feels entirely reasonable when you consider the amount of technology that it packs and the execution of its dial…
By all means, the Classique Chronométrie 7727 is a game-changer, a watch that relies on technology for the correct reasons and clearly not to flaunt. What shocks me is that it isn’t always fully perceived, and the fact that no other watch has been created around this technology yet.
Price and availability
The Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727 is available at stores and retailers in two renditions, only differentiated by their material and strap – white gold on black strap as introduced (ref. 7727BB/12/9WU) and estimated at EUR 39,400, and pink gold on earthy colored strap (ref. 7727BR/12/9WU) valued at EUR 39,000.
More details at breguet.com .