In 2005, Breguet launched its iconic Tradition collection with the 7027 model, the first timepiece to showcase the mechanisms of the movement on top of the baseplate. Much imitated but never equalled, this collection has since filled out and this year welcomes an outstanding new model: the Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097.
The new watch, like the rest of the collection, is inspired by the “subscription watches” and recalls the genius of Abraham-Louis Breguet who first produced these one-hand watches in 1796. They were fitted with a very simple movement and sold by subscription: a down payment of a quarter of the price on order and the balance on delivery. Abraham-Louis Breguet also used the movements of his “subscription” watches for his first tact watches.
The Tradition 7097 pays further tribute to the mechanisms of the “subscription” and tact watches by revealing the bridges, wheels, escapement, barrel and other components of the movement, which are usually hidden beneath the baseplate. Trim embellishments enhance the visual balance displayed by the symmetrical bridges. The bridges and baseplate are peened according to a decorative technique that requires rare skill and faultless execution to achieve a regular and uniform finish. The gold winding rotor borrows its style from the movements of the period while a conventional engine-turned hobnail pattern, done by hand, highlights a dial in silvered gold offset at 12 o’clock. This type of dial can be found on many of the tact watches that Abraham-Louis Breguet made from 1799 onwards.
The new model gets its name from the retrograde seconds hand at 10 o’clock, which supplements the hours and minutes shown by Breguet-style open-tipped hands in blued steel. Breguet’s watchmakers show off the complication with the help of a circular-brushed semi-circle that also makes the other indications easy to read. To maintain the symmetry, the pare-chute is located at 4 o’clock. This Breguet invention, which protects the balance staff from shocks, can be identified at a glance as the emblematic feature of the Tradition collection. It is the forbear of all the shock- protection devices in use today, including the Incabloc system.
Nor does the new reference 7097 lag behind when it comes to the latest technology. Its 40mm case houses a movement with an inverted in-line lever escapement with silicon pallets and a silicon Breguet overcoil balance spring that ensure exceptional stability of rate.
The Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 watch is the result of the technical and aesthetic excellence that Breguet consistently strives for in its modernisation of historical devices. Its austere styling honours the traditions of the brand, while its technical features are the prerogative of a watchmaking company that is resolutely building its future.