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Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch Watch Releases

If the press release for the Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial watch is anything to go by, it would seem that one of the world’s oldest watchmakers has just discovered enamel. Sarcasm aside, had this been Breguet’s first attempt at this classic dial decoration, it would have been very impressive indeed. Breguet is known for making the simple sublime. This piece stays true to form, with a quiet dial that encourages the viewer to stare into its deep blue hue, and a finish that presents a calm face to the world, despite being born of fire.

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch Watch Releases

The Dial and Functions

The Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial watch is incredibly straightforward. An easy-to-read three-hander with Arabic numerals, applied in silver via traditional pad-printing, this is not a watch that will challenge anyone intellectually. The challenge in its appreciation, however, can be found in the merit one applies to grand feu enameling.

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch Watch Releases

It is an old technique that requires layer upon layer of vitreous enamel powder to be built up in between firings at high temperatures. As a result, an intriguing chromatic depth can be achieved. Breguet claims that achieving this shade of blue took an enormous amount of research. Their aim was to recreate the color of the flame-blued hands that are commonly associated with the brand.

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch Watch Releases

Speaking of the hands, these moon-tipped indicators are made of rhodium-plated steel. As mentioned, the Arabic numerals are highly legible and match nicely to the hands, themselves, while a little bit of playfulness is added to the time-telling experience by tiny diamonds, fleur-de-lis, and stars decorating the chapter ring. The inspiration for these markings can be seen below.

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch Watch Releases

The date window is darkened and positioned at 3 o’clock. It is, despite its practical invisibility, the boldest thing about the dial. A piece for the connoisseurs, the Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial watch is certainly handsome, but does it do enough to justify its price tag?

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Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch Watch Releases

The Case

Breguet timepieces are often aesthetically restrained; this can make guessing their value difficult. A good place to start is identifying if and where precious metals have been used. The 38mm case of the Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial watch is made of 18-karat white gold. The flanks of the case are finished with the maker’s traditional coin edge. This is a decorative technique that took me many years to get on board with. Now, though, I find it to be one of the more elegant ways to add visual interest to an area often neglected.

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch Watch Releases

The Movement

Questioning the operational quality of Breguet’s movements is a waste of time. Years of company know-how, countless inventions and patents under the founder’s name, and the financial clout of the Swatch Group makes producing top-end mechanics a breeze. The question at this price-point really comes down to finish. Wading around the upper end of five figure retail values puts you waist deep in some pretty stiff competition.

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch Watch Releases

For some, the dial will come off as boring. I’m a big fan of grand feu enameling, but I’m not going to argue against its demureness. If you demand more excitement, fair enough. That’s just a matter of taste, as is the design of Breguet’s white-gold rotor weight. Sure, it is engraved with an intricate pattern that takes time, skill, and a rose engine to produce, but to my eyes it is way too big and also covers far too much of the movement.

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch Watch Releases

If I were being really snide, I might accuse Breguet of plumping for this design in order to hide the movement itself. The automatic 777Q movement has a power reserve of 55 hours, an operating speed of 28,800vph, and has been tested in six positions. It is also very dull to look at. Weirdly, for a movement of this style, it uses high-tech silicon components in the escapement. This is good for isochronism, but, if anything, increases the sterility of the piece.

Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial Watch Watch Releases

Conclusion

Certainly this is a well made, beautifully restrained watch that, despite its muteness, does possess the odd flourish. It is, however, just a bit too pared back for my liking, especially at this price-point. In a steel case and for under ten thousand, I could be tempted by a piece like this. A great brand, an inimitable history, and a bucket-load of class. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t stack up too well against the competition. And, to be honest, the press release so shamelessly plugged the specialness of the color blue, I could barely bring myself to look at the sky for a week. The Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel Dial watch retails at CHF 23,100. Visit breguet.com tfor more information.

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Comments

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  • Max Attack

    Why oh why did they decide to put that horribly implemented date window on such a lovely dial. Even if I had the pockets to afford this watch, I would not buy it simply because of that ugly ass date window

  • Raymond Wilkie

    38mm.
    Case width (mm) 38
    Case thickness (mm) 8,8
    Water-resistant (m) 30 / 100 feet.
    l love everything about this watch except the size.
    I’m prepared to go to as low as 40mm for a male person.

    • Lingua Franca

      I happen to like the case size, but how small is that movement?

  • IanE

    Dump the date, then we can talk.

  • aWtchslvr

    Perfect as is.

  • I’m with Ian and Max – the date stick out like a sore thumb (subtle as it is) – it needs to go. Or at least move to the 6 o’clock position for better symmetry. Otherwise, very nice – even if a bit pricey for what you are getting. I do woinder if the flat, rhodium plated hands disappear in some lighting conditions.

  • DanW94

    Nice review Robb. I appreciate your not so subtle digs at Breguet playing up the laborious enamelling process and the amout of research it took to get just the “right shade” of blue. Seiko’s like, hold my beer while I show you the series of Presage watches featuring a fired enamel dial at a fraction of the cost. (allowances for Breguet’s gold case, naturally)

    • Rob Crenshaw

      Uh, have you actually SEEN Breguet’s enamel, and compared it to Seiko’s? The Seiko execution is miserably flawed, and equating the two is like suggesting a 20 layer hand sanded lacquer paint job on a Rolls Royce is the same as a machine sprayed Honda because they’re both painted.

      • DanW94

        I’m not sure what watch you were looking at but I have seen Seiko’s enameled dials and miserably flawed is pure hyperbole. I haven’t seen Breguet’s so I can’t compare them head to head beyond the cost.

    • Aditya

      I own a Seiko Blue Dial enamel, while it is exquisite and a watch I can realistically afford, I have had the pleasure of having actually seen Breguet Enamel dials in person. No ways would I even talk of the two in the same breath or sentence. This case size in a white enamel with 5:00 sub seconds is what I am saving up for, they are bound to release it. May take me a few years but by gosh I will own one some day.

      BTW, Breguet Enamel is second only to Jaquet Droz and maybe actually be on par.

      • DanW94

        Thanks for your reply. Allow me to backpedal a bit here. My post was meant tongue in cheek highlighting the fact that Seiko can perform the same enameling procedure and offer their product at a substantially lower price. I never said they were on par with the Breguet dial. Having never seen a Breguet enameled dial I have no basis for comparison but will take your word and what is surely the general consensus that they are superior. But you said so yourself, and I heartily agree, the Seiko dials are exquisite which is high praise indeed.

  • cluedog12

    Beautiful dial. Nobody’s going to listen to us concerning the date window, so what’s the point?

  • SuperStrapper

    My heart sank when I saw it had an automatic caliber.
    For a classy watch, few could usurp. It has all the prestige and cache of a black dress watch but also has the personality that black can’t achieve. The shade of blue is amazing and would be quite versatile. Lovely display unfettered by needless subsidiary seconds, etc. Very nice date display for a single wheel, the indexed arrangement of the double digits proves if nothing else that no level of detail was considered without the entire rest of the qatch’s appearance in scope. Very thoughtful.
    Even in automatic I’d love to own it but with a more interesting manual caliber I’d be infatuated.

  • SuperStrapper

    Also, aside from colors and numerical languages, they also do little things. Like 10hz.

  • Aditya

    hahaha, haven’t heard that one before!

  • Aditya

    I own the Urushi Anniversary Chrono and one of their Limited edition Blue Enamel dials. Their regular production run dials aren’t nearly as good. I can very honestly say that with premium Seikos you get absolute quality watches. They are expensive and not every one’s cup of tea

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