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Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Retrograde 7097 – Hands-on Review (live photos, specs & price)

| By Brice Goulard | 5 min read |

This edition of Baselworld was the celebration of the Tradition for Breguet. Inspired by Breguet’s historical ‘subscription’ watches, the Tradition collection was launched in 2005 and could be seen as one of the most vintage-inspired watches. We’re not talking about 1950s or 1960s re-issues here but watches that could have been made in the late 18th century. Even if historically close to its ancestors, the Tradition collection is surprisingly modern. One of the newest editions comes with new and interesting features. Here is the Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Retrograde 7097.

A Breguet is easily recognizable by its typical features: engine-turned dial, soldered lugs, Breguet numerals, a secret signature, Breguet hands and a fluted case. All of that creates a unique design with a very classical appeal, not vintage inspired but much more historical. However, there are watches in the collection that go even further in the historical approach, watches that pay tribute to the very first creations of Abraham Louis Breguet: the Tradition. Inspired by the ‘subscription’ watches, the modern interpretation utilizes (almost) the same conception of the movement and the same overall approach. Furthermore, Breguet achieved to create watches that look totally 18th century and combined this with its usual innovative spirit, as we’ve seen with the newly introduced Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon 7087. The Breguet Tradition watches look old but the technology used is, without a doubt, from the 21st century.

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For Baselworld 2015, Breguet chose to introduce several novelties in the Tradition collection, including a chronograph, an impressive minute repeater and an automatic edition of the classical Tradition (launched in 2005) with an extra retrograde second indicator. This watch that we believed brand new is actually not a pure novelty, as in 2006, Breguet already had in the collection an automatic Tradition, with the 37mm case (instead of 40mm here) but also with the retrograde second – the reference 7037. However, this watch was at that time quite confidential and the new execution done by Breguet this year is certainly more attractive – it’s more modern, cleaner and less ‘shiny‘ (the previous one was available in full yellow gold – case + movement). The 2015 Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Retrograde 7097 is slightly different and way more appealing.

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Available in 18k rose gold and in 18k white gold, the case measures here 40mm (remember that the normal Breguet Tradition manually-wound exists in 37mm and in 40mm), leaving more space to the dial and allowing a cleaner view on the technical elements. This case is typically Breguet with a thin bezel, fluted casebands and thin soldered lugs. There is no proper dial in this watch and the movement is mounted up-side-down, revealing the bridges, wheels, escapement, barrel and other components of the movement, which are usually hidden beneath the baseplate. The decoration is cleaner than on the previous editions, as Breguet chose to go for a completely grey scheme. The bridges and the base plate are coated in anthracite while the technical elements (wheels, screws, barrel) are rhodium plated.

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The dial of the Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Retrograde 7097 remains very close to the classical (non-automatic) edition of the Tradition except for one feature: the retrograde second hand. Located on the left side of the hour-minute sub-dial, this portion of the dial usually hosts a power reserve indicator – something that is less important on a self-winding timepiece. The second hand runs on a quarter-of-a-circle track that (unfortunately) step over the main sub-dial. However, considering the speed of the movement of this second hand – and together with the ballet of the balance wheel – the Breguet Tradition Automatique is really pleasant to look at. This dial is lively and really animated.

The face of this Tradition is impressive and full of details: the several patterns of the hour-minute engine-turned sub-dial (3 different ones), the blued open-tipped Breguet hands, the symmetry of the bridges, the frost finish of the bridges and main plate (done by hand), the polished bevelled angles on the bridges, the (fake) antic para-chute on the top of the balance wheel (a modern Incabloc system is located underneath the bridge)… All of these details are reminiscent of antique pocket watches but the final result remains surprisingly modern to look at – and in fact this movement is technically modern.

The main novelty of this watch can easily be spotted through the sapphire caseback: a large rotor on the top of the movement, shaped like a bumper mass. Even if the shape is (once again) reminiscent of antique watches, this rotor is a classical one that rotates all over the movement at 360°. However, we have to notice the finish of this gold rotor: a black polished mirror finished but on a curved surface, something extremely hard to achieve. The arrival of a self-winding mechanism brings several advantages: a more practical watch on a daily basis, a cool antique look and a more attractive view on the movement, as the back of the manual edition looks somehow empty. However, it also has the typical default of the automatic watches, meaning a greater thickness.

Despite its historical look, this movement is a modern one, with its straight-line inverted lever escapement with silicon pallets, its Breguet overcoil balance spring in silicon and it’s free-sprung balance wheel. It boasts 50 hours of power reserve and it is adjusted in 6 positions. The strength of Breguet here is respected, as once again, they are bringing a modern movement together with a very classical – not to say ancestral – construction that feels like having a piece of horological history on the wrist.

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The price for this Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Retrograde 7097 is 29.800 Euros, making it approximately 5.000 euros more expensive than the manual edition – the Ref. 7057 (40mm case) in rose gold with anthracite dial is priced at 25.100 Euros.

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