Deep Dive

A look at the Breguet Classique Calendrier Reference 7337 in white gold

The timepiece is powered by the Calibre 502, one of the slimmest movements Breguet makes
Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747–1823) can be counted as one of the people who laid the foundation for modern watchmaking. While many know him today mainly as the inventor of the tourbillon, his legacy extends further than that. A true visionary, he not only had the capability to dream  up what hadn’t been done before but also the skills to make it a reality. Today, that vision is central to Breguet the brand. Many things introduced by Breguet himself, like the guilloché on the dials and the caseband fluting, remain hallmarks of its wristwatches. 

Breguet No. 2784, sold to Empress Marie-Louise

This also includes showing the phases of the moon. While this feature still had somewhat of a function in the time of Breguet, today, it is more a poetic complication. Abraham-Louis Breguet sometimes displayed the phases of the moon as the main feature. This is, for example, the case with Breguet No. 2784, which was sold on September 27, 1813, to Empress Marie-Louise, the niece of Marie-Antoinette. The same goes for No. 3066, which Breguet sold in 1818, and which combined a repeating mechanism with an unusually large window to show the phases of the moon. Breguet found joy in combining different complications. We also see this in No. 4916, a repeating watch with a moonphase window at 12 o’clock flanked by a day and a date indicator.

These distinct features are also present in the new Classique 7337 Calendar, which is part of the Classique collection. With a diameter of 39mm, the watch maintains a classic look without becoming too old-fashioned. The first thing that demands attention is the off-centre placement of the dial, indicating the hours and minutes. By doing so, Breguet gains several advantages. The first is that it can space out the day, date, and moonphase windows in a symmetrical fashion. Just as with the No. 4916 pocket watch, this gives the watch a clean and organised look. Another benefit of this approach is that it leaves additional empty space on the dial, which Breguet fills in hand-engraved guilloché. This demanding technique requires an old-fashioned rose engine, a large, rare and special engraving tool of which Breguet has several in its manufacture. The off-centre dial features a clous de Paris decor, which looks like little hobnails or small pyramids, while the rest is engraved with a barleycorn motif. 

Breguet Reference 7337

For the new Classique 7337 Calendar, Breguet opted to make the background of the day and date wheels blue, like the disc of the moonphase, representing the night sky. This creates a vibrant contrast, evoking beauty but also functionality as all the features can be read with ease.

Hidden Qualities

While Abraham-Louis Breguet is known for revolutionising watchmaking, Breguet as a brand favours evolution these days. However, only in a visual sense, as the movement that powers the Classique 7337 Calendar is far from-old fashioned. With a height of just 2.4mm, the Caliber 502 that powers this watch is one of the slimmest movements Breguet makes in its manufacture. One of the reasons Breguet was able to keep the calibre so slender is because it features an off-centre oscillating weight. This puts the Classique 7337 Calendar also in an exceptional category, as the vast majority of automatic watches are powered by either a centrally mounted oscillating weight or a micro rotor. Breguet fitted the watch with a display back, allowing a full view of this characteristic feature, along with a fine finish of all the parts. The oscillating weight is made out of gold whose higher density offers more efficient winding. Like the dial, it is also hand-engraved on a rose engine, yet here in a handsome barleycorn motif. 

Breguet No. 3066 with an unuasually large moonphase window

While Breguet is a traditional brand at heart, it also pays constant tribute to the innovative spirit of Abraham-Louis Breguet. Caliber 502 is therefore fitted with an inverted straight-line pallet lever with silicon horns and a silicon balance spring. Silicon would for sure have been a material that would have caught Abraham-Louis Breguet’s attention if it were available at the time. It is not only far more resistant to wear and tear, but also insensitive to the influence of magnetic fields, boosting the overall performance of the timepiece to an even higher level. 

The Face of the Moon

Breguet Reference 7337

Abraham-Louis Breguet favoured engraving a face on the moons of his watches. This charming element was later adopted for the brand’s wristwatches, yet the new Classique 7337 Calendar follows the trend set by its closer predecessors. The gold disc that resembles the moon is hammered so that it gets a texture similar to that of the lunar surface. While some might have rather seen a poetic nod to history with the engraved face, the current finish does result in a more contemporary proposition.  

Colour Difference

Breguet Reference 7337 Caseback

Breguet offers the new Classique 7337 Calendar in two varieties. In pink gold, combined with a brown alligator leather strap, it oozes the classic style that Breguet is traditionally associated with. The warm colour of the metal goes very well with the guilloché motif of the dial, while the blue background of the day and the date wheels complement that of the hands and night sky of the moonphase disc. The version with the white-gold case has a more contemporary twist. Because it doesn’t add additional colour, there is more contrast with the blue elements. The blue alligator leather strap further underscores this. It gives each of the watches a distinct character of its own and will most likely appeal to a slightly different buyer. However, it doesn’t matter the version you prefer, there is a clear lineage that goes back to the company’s founder, while offering modern-day features Abraham-Louis Breguet, without a doubt, would have been very keen to see for himself.  

Images: Courtesy

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