Breguet is a classic watchmaking brand, and its many claims to fame include a mention in Pushkin’s novel Eugene Onegin, written between 1825 and 1832. It describes the St. Petersburg dandy Onegin whose life consists almost exclusively of parties and balls. Here is an excerpt from Charles Johnston’s translation:
“Some days he's still in bed, and drowses,
when little notes come on a tray.
What? Invitations? Yes, three houses
have each asked him to a soirée:
a ball here, there a children's party;
where shall he go, my rogue, my hearty?
Which one comes first? It's just the same
to do them all is easy game.
Meanwhile, attired for morning strolling
complete with broad-brimmed bolivar,
Eugene attends the boulevard,
and there at large he goes patrolling
until Breguet's unsleeping chime
advises him of dinner-time.”
So his pocket watch was apparently a Breguet minute repeater. Today, Breguet is highlighting its watches ideal for the modern gentleman with a touring event named “Classic Tour.” The first occasion was held on 4 October 2017 at Mark’s Club in London, where Breguet invited a bespoke shoemaker, a tailor, a barber and a distiller of rare spirits, evoking a portrait of the perfect gentleman who is getting ready for the day.
The watch that Breguet proposes for the modern gentleman is the Classique 7147, a watch that is well described by its name: classic. It is a triumph of guilloché, with the central part of the dial in Clou de Paris, and the small seconds subdial with a cross-weave pattern. Guilloché or engine-turning is one of the features that makes a Breguet watch immediately recognizable, along with the fluted caseband and the characteristic Breguet hands. Breguet’s in-house artisans engrave the solid gold dials using engine-turning lathes over a hundred years old. It requires a sharp eye and a steady hand, and each dial can be considered as hand-made. The last step is coating the dial with silver, using a technique in which powdered silver is carefully brushed onto the metal surface. The result is a satin finish that makes the dial supremely legible, but above all unique in appearance.
Each watch and movement is individually numbered and signed Breguet, and there is a dual secret signature on either side of the Roman numeral XII. At 40 mm in diameter, it is very wearable, available in two case variants, rose gold or white gold.
The sapphire caseback provides a view of the movement, which is self-winding, and has a power reserve of 45 hours. For further information, see the Breguet website.
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