I have a very strong connection with the name Breguet, both the founder of the brand, Abraham-Louis Breguet, for whom I have the utmost respect and the contemporary side of the brand. The manufacture represents something highly sentimental and personal to me since my first real mechanical watch was a Type XX. Looking at the Classique collection, one of my all-time favourites has always been the Calendar/Moon series (nicknamed the “Chinoise” – references 3330, 3337 and 7337) thanks to its unique and charming display that is unmistakably Breguet. It so happens that there’s a new and modernised edition of the Classique Calendrier 7337. I got to spend some time with the watch and wanted to share my thoughts with you.
To understand the Classique Calendrier 7337 from Breguet, we have to look back at two facets of the brand’s history – explained in detail here. The first involves an important model by A.L. Breguet, and the second is a series of watches that have been instrumental in the modern expansion of the brand.
During his lifetime (1747-1823), Abraham-Louis Breguet contributed enormously to watchmaking. Technically he spearheaded major inventions such as the spring-gong for repeater watches, the first shock-absorber device, the Breguet balance spring, the sympathique watch, the tact watch, and, of course, the tourbillon. But Breguet was also the precursor of an in-house style and is renowned for his aesthetic approach to watchmaking, laying the ground for what would become the ‘unmistakable signs’ of a Breguet watch with features like guillochage, off-centred displays, enamel dials, caseband fluting, Breguet hands and numerals and a host of other Breguet decorative dictates which are rigorously upheld today.
An important watch, typical of the definition of the brand image, and the inspiration behind the 7337, is the Breguet tact watch no. 4579. A delightful gold pocket watch, no. 4579 was sold to Monsieur De Roos (a British Royal Navy commander) on 1 June 1829 for the sum of 5,080 francs. Displaying a moon phase indicator at noon, two lateral apertures for the day of the week and date, a large off-centred hour ring for the hours and minutes, and even a small power reserve indicator, no. 4579 also featured Breguet’s ingeniously simple way of telling the time by touch. Another slightly different but important watch is the no. 3833, sold in 1823, which adds a half-quarter repeating mechanism and some changes on the dial.
Both of these watches were studied by Daniel Roth when he took over the manufacture with the Chaumet Brothers and decided to relaunch the brand during the 1970s. Among his creations was the reference 3330, an elegant watch characterised by its off-centred display with a moon phase and two arched apertures for the day and the date. This 36mm, thin automatic watch was unquestionably inspired by the two aforementioned historic pocket watches and would later evolve to become the reference 3337, with an open caseback and an engraved movement.
Under the direction of Swatch Group, the Classique Calendrier “Chinoise” watch evolved again in 2009, becoming the reference 7337. Larger, with a 39mm diameter, and equipped with a small seconds, but still very much in line with the codes defined in the 1980s by Roth, the watch remained unchanged until 2020, with the addition of a blue edition and some changes on the dial to make it a bit cleaner – new guilloché patterns and a new style for the moon. Although the reference number remains identical, the 2022 Breguet Classique Calendrier 7337 has been rejuvenated with a thoroughly revised and modernised dial.
The new Classique Calendrier 7337 – the facts
The new 7337, technically and specifications-wise, is the same watch as before. It’s all down to the style of the dial, its finishing, its design and above all, the modern facelift. The movement and proportions are the same, the indications are identical, and even the price has been untouched. In the car industry, this would be called a mid-life facelift – except that here, there’s quite a lot to say about the new design, but more on that later.
Starting with the case, no surprises here: classic, elegant and typical Breguet, the case of the updated 7337 is the same as before, with its 39mm diameter and 9.95mm height. Available in 18k white or rose gold, it’s entirely polished and features the signature fluted caseband and welded lugs with screw pins – and, as often with the brand, the lugs are rather long and straight, making the watch slightly larger than the 39mm diameter would suggest. Nevertheless, the proportions are nice, and the case is relatively thin considering the complexity of the display. There are sapphire crystals on both sides and the water-resistance is rated at 30 metres – it’s not a watch that you would take anywhere close to water anyway.
Inside this case, no changes either, as the Classique Calendrier 7337 is still powered by the in-house calibre 502.3 QSE1. This automatic movement, with a slightly off-centred rotor, has a thickness (for the base calibre) of just 2.40mm. Comprised of 236 components, with 35 jewels and running at a 3Hz frequency, the power reserve is 45 hours. It also features modern components like the incorporation of a silicon balance spring and a lever escapement with silicon horns. The decoration is neat and pleasant, with thin stripes, bevelled edges and a rotor with a barleycorn guilloché motif.
Moving to the dial, the display is also (at least on paper) unchanged. The signature design that consists of an off-centred indication of the time pushed towards the lower edge of the dial, and additional indications on the top of the watch are still present. The small seconds hand has also been kept, again oddly positioned inside the hours/minutes sub-dial at about 4.30 – but ‘odd’ means charming here. The moon phase positioned at 12 o’clock dominates the dial and is framed by two calendar indications: day of the week on the left and date on the right – both using rotating discs.
But there are some new features and these mostly have to do with an alteration of the display, the colours and the patterns used for the guilloché. There’s a resolutely more contemporary spirit to this watch, which can best be appreciated in the day & date apertures. Previously rather small and arched in shape, these apertures are now larger, more angular and boast blue discs, bringing more contrast and modernity. The second notable evolution concerns the running seconds, which gets rid of its brushed chapter ring and differentiated guilloché pattern and now features a simpler printed track.
Other changes can be seen in the indications of the name and the serial number of the watch. Previously placed together in a single arched brushed area on top of the hours/minutes sub-dial, these are now two separate items placed inside rectangular cartouches just about the axis of the hands – again, giving a more modern look and echoing the style of the day-date windows. Also, the moon phase complication has been streamlined and redesigned. The gold moon is hand-hammered, and the clouds surrounding it have been given a fine sandblasted treatment with a matte texture. The sky is coated with blue lacquer with spangles acting like stars. The hands are, of course, still classic Breguet-blued steel hands.
The dial itself also reveals some evolutions. The base, a solid gold plate, has thinner guilloché patterns – something that we first saw in the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365. The motifs are still the same – Clous de Paris in the centre, barleycorn on the outer edge – but with less definition than before, giving it a more discreet and finer texture when viewed from a distance. All in all, the execution and details of the dial are still impeccable, but the look is resolutely different.
Finally, the Breguet Classique Calendrier 7337 comes with an alligator strap – brown on the rose gold version, blue on the white gold version – and is fitted with a folding clasp with the B logo matching the case material.
Personal thoughts on the new 7337
First, I’m going to be objective. The new edition of the 7337 is, just like its predecessor, a typically Breguet watch in terms of design or execution. The display, with its oddly positioned indications, still has that undeniable Breguet vibe and historical relevance, and the overall craftsmanship is of a very high level. The new finesse of the guilloché dial, for instance, adds to the discretion and refinement while being slightly less demonstrative at first sight (which it isn’t, let’s be clear). More contemporary maybe, less old-fashioned.
But this is where the subjective part comes into play. As I said, the previous Classique Calendrier 7337 has long been my favourite Classique Breguet. The older version, with its small, pointy windows for the day-date function, was (in my eyes) loaded with an outdated charm that best represents the brand to me. The new apertures and cartouches, with their angular shapes, are certainly more modern and much cleaner. Also, by making the dial less cluttered, Breguet has removed some of the charm offered by the previously separate small seconds. It feels to me like a bit of a letdown, almost a downgrade… Call me old-school, call me anti-evolution, call me conservative if you want. But this is how I like my Breguet watches: old-fashioned. That being said, I might not be the best client to target, and the brand needs fresh air to attract a younger clientele. Let’s see if this new design direction gets its attention.
And to be clear, it’s a bit of a “tough love” situation here. I don’t want to sound too critical of the updated Breguet 7337, but I have such passion for the brand that I tend to be very demanding. Breguet needs evolution, surely, but I have a hard time seeing some emblematic models being updated.
Availability & Price
The Breguet Classique Calendrier 7337 is available in two editions – 7337BR/12/9VU in rose gold and 7337BB/12/9VU in white gold – and both retail for EUR 45,800, which is the same price as the previous editions of this model. These are now available as part of the permanent collection. For more details, please visit breguet.com.