With its timeless elegance, the Classique collection by Breguet is certainly among the best choices when it comes to a dress watch with some great horological content – and not only mechanically speaking but also in terms of the beauty of the habillage. Still, some will find them a bit too… classic. For this reason, and based on the brand’s mastery of the hand-guilloché technique, Breguet introduces more contemporary versions of two of its most elegant watches. There’s the ref. 7137 we presented earlier today, and there’s a personal favourite, the Breguet Classique 7337 Calendar & Moon, which now appears with refreshed engine-turned patterns and a brand new “Breguet Blue” edition.
The inspiration, the Breguet No. 3833
Behind multiple modern watches manufactured by Breguet, there’s an antique pocket watch lurking in the background. Knowing the brand’s rich history, this isn’t a surprise. Abraham-Louis Breguet was known as one of the first (if not the first) watchmaker to implement engine-turning in his creations, something he started applying to dials in 1786. This would become a hallmark of his watches, alongside multiple other distinctive signs that helped configure what was possibly the first watch brand (in the modern sense of the word) – a topic we’ve explored in great detail in this in-depth video.
Another major stylistic innovation introduced by A.L. Breguet is to be seen on the displays. As of 1812, Breguet introduced off-centred dials in certain complex pocket watches, playing with the layout of the complications to balance the displays. One of the best examples of this technique is the Quarter-repeating watch No. 3833, a watch sold in 1823 and now exhibited at the Breguet Museum in Paris.
This No. 3833 is easily recognizable with its hour chapter positioned at 6 o’clock and topped by a moon phase indicator at 12 o’clock. A power reserve gauge was also visible at 10 o’clock and echoed by a date indicator in a semi-circular window at 2 o’clock. This resulted in a balanced, supremely elegant watch where the different patterns of engine-turning enhanced legibility no end. This watch would be the inspiration for a modern timepiece, the so-called “La Chinoise” model.
The modern version, the ref. 3330
Back in the late 1980s and early 1990s (when Breguet was owned by Investcorp and when Nouvelle Lemania SA was integrated), the brand started to dig up its heritage and use some of its most emblematic pocket watches to create modern wristwatches.
Based on the display used on the Breguet No. 3833 pocket watch, the brand introduced the now, well-known reference 3330, a watch with an off-centred dial for the time, a calendar with weekdays and date, and a moon phase positioned at 12 o’clock. This 36mm watch was already powered by the automatic calibre 502 (back then under a closed caseback). Later, it was joined by the Ref. 3337, with the same display, the same base movement and the same dimensions, but with a sapphire caseback and an openworked, engraved movement.
Finally, this “Chinoise” watch grew to 39mm and was equipped with a small seconds sub-dial, currently available as reference 7337. And today, new editions are presented.
The evolution of a classic
The Breguet Classique 7337 Calendar & Moon is a discreet beauty. It isn’t the most striking of all the models in the Breguet collection, yet it might be one of the most elegant and balanced. Its display is a perfect representation of this understated eccentricity that makes Breguet watches so unique. Until now, this watch was available in six references, with white, rose or yellow gold, all with silver guilloché dials and with leather straps or gold bracelets.
For 2020, Breguet updates the rose gold model on a leather strap and adds a second white gold version, with a new blue dial. The latter is the main novelty here, with its deep-blue dial contrasted with silvered accents. Dubbed “Breguet blue”, it gives a sharper, more contemporary flair to this watch and provides surprisingly efficient legibility. This version is worn on a matching blue strap.
The rose gold model retains the classic silvered engine-turned dial, yet with new guilloché patterns – which can be found on both editions. While the outer sector, which circles all the indications, is decorated with a grain d’orge barley grain pattern, the rest of the decoration has been updated. The centre part now reveals a Clou de Paris hobnailing pattern and the small seconds has a damier or chequerboard pattern. Another design change is to be found on the moon phase indicator as the golden “Moon face” we are accustomed to seeing has been exchanged for a more realistic silver embossed Moon complete with craters floating in a starry sky.
The rest of the watch is identical to all the previous editions of the Breguet Classique 7337 Calendar & Moon. This means a reasonably sized case, with a 39mm diameter and a 9.9mm height. As usual, the case is entirely polished, with the iconic fluted caseband and the welded lugs with screw bars. It features a sapphire caseback and is water-resistant to 30 metres.
Regarding the dial, apart from the new patterns, there is the hallmark brushed chapter ring with Roman numerals and secret signature, the off-centred small seconds (something only found in the modern 7737) and the open-tipped Breguet hands – which are blued steel on the rose gold edition and silver-coloured on the blue version. Unchanged too are the two calendar indications, with the weekdays at 10 o’clock and the date at 2 o’clock.
Under the sapphire caseback is one of Breguet’s most classic movements, the calibre 502 – here the 502.3 QSE1. This automatic movement is easily recognisable thanks to its slightly off-centred guilloché rotor and its open barrel. It is made of 236 components, with 35 jewels and runs at a 3Hz frequency. The power reserve is 45 hours. It also features modern touches, with a lever escapement with silicon horns and a flat balance spring in silicon. The decoration is, as expected, very clean and includes bevelling, striping and guillochage on the rotor.
Depending on the model, the Breguet Classique 7337 Calendar & Moon is worn on a blue or brown alligator strap with a folding buckle matching the case material. The price for these two new versions (7337BB/Y5/9VU, white gold and 7337BR/15/9VU, rose gold) will be around EUR 38,500 (to be confirmed). More details at breguet.com.