In case you’re wandering, the Tradition collection by Breguet was created in 2005 and thus is celebrating this year its 10th anniversary. The concept of a vintage watch by Breguet is not focused on 1950s or 1960s chronographs or diving watches. Instead, it looks further into the rich past of the manufacture, as the Tradition is inspired by 18th century pocket watches. To pay honor to this attractive collection, Baselworld 2015 was the perfect place to launch what could be one of the most striking modern Breguet, a very complicated tribute to the founder Abraham-Louis: hands-on with the new Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon 7087.
As always with the Tradition Collection, don’t be fooled by the virtually antique architecture, shape and finish of the movement. The new Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon 7087 is entirely faithful to the manufacture’s motto, being respectful of the traditions but keeping its innovative mind. You’d probably think the movement uses ancient techniques but in fact, it’s a complete extract of Breguet savoir-faire and book of innovations. The Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon 7087 is complicated, technical and deserve to be detailed with attention.
The start point of this watch – and of every minute repeater – is of course the gongs springs (invented in 1783 by Abraham-Louis Breguet to become the essential components of a minute repeater). They are the element that vibrates to produce some noise and that are tuned precisely to generate more than a noise but a note, expected to be the clearer and most harmonious possible. Usually, in a repeater watch, the gongs are round wires shaped around the bezel. In the case of the Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon, they are shaped on the top of the movement and go accros the entire watch. In order to favor the transmission of the vibrations, the gongs springs are attached to a radiating bezel screwed to the case-band with three pillars allowing the bezel and glass to vibrate freely.
A second innovation concerns the hammers, usually parallel to the movement. In the case of the Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon, the hammers strike vertically from the movement towards the bezel – for a better transmission of the mechanical vibrations into sounds. They are also fitted with another innovation. Usually, minute repeaters usually have a buffer spring to prevent the vibrating gongs from being struck twice – with the effect to partially reduce the hammer’s force. Breguet comes here with a ‘semi-active buffer‘ described as an articulated damper that is synchronized with the strike of the hammer, which is immediately pulled back by a spring. The result is more force for the hammers and less parasite vibrations, resulting a clearer and stronger sound, exempt of unexpected noises.
On the front of the Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon 7087, we can also noticed another of the Breguet inventions, here not linked with the repeater mechanism: a tourbillon. This anti-gravity escapement (also invented by Breguet) is fixed to a titanium bridge, rotates once per minute, ticks at modern 4Hz (28.800bph) frequency and features an antimagnetic silicon spring and escapement.
The back of the Tradition Minute Repeater also reveals its load of horological sweetness: a self-winding mechanism, a chain (!), the repeater gears but also some hidden but interesting components. Again with the aim of increasing the propagation of sound, the caseback is specific. The gold ring that covers the movement and encircled the sapphire caseback is pierced and hides a vibrating membrane in gold that increase the sound of the repeater. The shape, size and materials of the components of the movements are also chosen in order to facilitate the work of the repeater. The plates and bridges of the calibre 565DR are made in titanium, a material known to be lighter and mainly, a material that interferes less with the work of the gong springs and hammers.
As said before, the Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon 7087 is a self winding watch that relies on a platinum peripheral rotor to wind its movement, just like the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Thin Automatic 5377. Another very cool feature that reminds of ancient pocket watches is the chain, used here to transmit the energy from the strike barrel (visible at 12 on the photo bellow) to the minute repeater mechanism. The repeater mechanism is actuated by a push button (instead of a sliding button).
Finally, the Tradition Minute Repeater comes with a specific magnetic governor that consists of silver weights passing beneath magnets and slowed down by magnetic fields. (The governor is the regulator of the minute repeater, sort of bandmaster that indicates the tempo of the music – here in fact, it regulates the speed of the hammers). The use of magnetism here allows more stability in the ‘tempo’ and less parasite noises (due to lower mechanical frictions). This mechanism is visible on the front the watch, on the right side of the tourbillon’s cage.
The calibre 565DR features a single but high-energy barrel (just like the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Thin Automatic 5377) to deliver 80 hours of power reserve (indicated on the dial through a gauge at 10). As said, the bridges and mainplate are made in titanium (a material hard to machine and to finish). They are adorned with a hand frosted finish and internal polished bevelled angles.
Now that you know all about the technical aspects, lets go back to a simpler subject: the aesthetics. The Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon 7087 is without a doubt part of the Tradition collection, and thus part of the entire Breguet collection. It comes with the classical fluted case (available in 18k rose gold or 18k white gold) that measures a robust 44mm and the typical welded lugs with screw bars. The face is also totally in line with the other Tradition watches, as it shows an off-centered guilloché dial made of solid gold. It exposes all of its technical elements and provides this unique both technical and ancient design, that in the end, looks surprisingly modern – especially when it comes in this combination of white gold and anthracite movement.
The Breguet Tradition Minute Repeater Tourbillon 7087 proves once again that the manufacture can be proud of its history and that it continues to create both innovative and respectful timepieces. It brings a unique vision of creativeness in a traditional context. This edition with minute repeater and tourbillon is impressive considering the specific technical approaches it brings (gong springs, hammers, magnetism, case construction) and, for this reason, you have to expect a price also impressive. This Breguet 7087 will be priced at 419.500 Euros.
More details on Breguet.com