Cover story : Breguet Classique 5177 Email Bleu Grand Feu

History updated

Comprising some 30 contemporary references for women and men, the Classique collection undoubtedly best embodies the quintessence of Abraham- Louis Breguet’s original style and expertise. In terms of form, he favored a refined aesthetic that went against the tendencies of an 18th century brimming with baroque style features, and his peers eventually adopted the same approach. With regard to technical substance, the shape of the wheels of Caliber 777Q is a nod to that of creations introduced during the late 18th century, which saw the birth of the Breguet oscillating weight serving to enhance the reliability of his first self-winding watch. Named perpétuelle watches by the maestro himself, the self-winding timepieces he designed increased his reputation, opening the doors of Versailles and other major European courts. In 1780, the Duke of Orléans acquired the first perpétuelle, a watch that was to enjoy a right royal career.

In 2019, Breguet is cultivating the most traditional watchmaking elegance by adding a modern chromatic touch to the neoclassical lines of its most understated watch family. Grand Feu enamel is thus attired in Breguet blue for the first time in a current collection, reflecting with admirable panache the dexterity of the artisans exercising this delicate art within the Maison in the Vallée de Joux. Achieving exactly the desired final color after firing the dial at 800°C is no mean feat. In this case, the shade sought here is none other than that of the signature blued Breguet hands. Even Breguet’s secret signature, equidistant from the center and the 6 hours, is enameled. Striking a pleasing contrast with this mesmerizing depth of the dial and enhancing its legibility, the hour-markers and numerals stand out in silver-toned relief, while the hollow-tipped hands are rhodium-plated. The eminently discreet and functional 3 o’clock date display is perfectly integrated, while its geometry adds a welcome rectangular note to this ocean of curves.

Visible through the back of the finely fluted gold case, self-winding Caliber 777Q complete with a silicon balance spring appears in all its splendor, particularly its oscillating weight in 18-carat hand-crafted on a rose engine. Many other elements of the numbered and signed Breguet movement, whether visible or not, benefit from the rare refined finishes provided by the watchmakers of the Manufacture : beveling, circular graining, fine brushing and Côtes de Genève motifs. Artists, aesthetes, purists : while the Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel is not within reach of all, its circle of influence is truly universal.


Brice Lechevalier is editor-in-chief of GMT and Skippers, which he co-founded in 2000 and 2001 respectively. He has also been CEO of WorldTempus since it joined the GMT Publishing stable, of which he is director and joint shareholder. In 2012 he created the Geneva Watch Tour, and he has been an advisor to the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève since 2011. Also closely involved in sailing, he has published the magazine of the Société Nautique de Genève since 2003, and was one of the founders of the SUI Sailing Awards in 2009 and the Concours d’Elégance for motor boats at the Cannes Yachting Festival in 2015.

Review overview