Breguet seems to be a brand that requires a deeper understanding of the craft of watchmaking to appreciate. Opting to go for the discreet yet magnificently executed route, many Breguet pieces made today embody the brand’s long and storied history. The Breguet Classique Chronométrie 7727 is an excellent example. To most people, it looks like an “ordinary” watch. But unbeknownst to most people, it actually contains a revolutionary balance wheel that’s held in place by magnets! Like the Chronométrie 7727, the Breguet Classique 7147 “Grand Feu” Enamel Dial watch could be seen by many as an elegant yet unremarkable piece, and they would be dead wrong. Here’s why.
To understand the new Classique 7147 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel Dial watch we need to take a quick look at the watch that spawned it. It was only last year that Breguet gave us the first Classique 7147. Like the new Classique 7147 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel Dial watch, this was a simple time-only watch. The main dial displays the hours and minutes, and there’s a sub-dial that displays the running seconds in between 5 and 6 o’clock. It was notable for its very classic case construction and size. Just 40mm wide and a mere 6.1mm thin, the case has an exquisite fluted middle case section and the dial was magnificently decorated with various types of guilloche finishes. The new Classique 7147 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel Dial watch retains much of its predecessor’s design characteristics but features a new dial that is no less captivating.
The Breguet Classique 7147 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel Dial watch comes with the same case as last year’s Classique 7147 watch. Available in 18k pink gold or 18k white gold, the Classique 7147 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel Dial’s case is 40mm wide and just 6.1mm thick. It is a great size for a dress watch. The bezel is rounded and polished while the case middle is fluted. The lugs are extended and thin, and reminds me of the lugs from watches like the Nomos Tangente and Stowa Antea, only much more refined and organic. These characteristics give the case a very antique and elegant look and feel.
However, it is the dial that steals the show. The dial, as you might have already surmised from the watch’s name, is made out of grand feu enamel. Grand Feu translates directly to “Great Fire” and refers to the process in which the dials are made. It’s a painstaking process which requires the dial maker to repeatedly add enamel substrate to the dial and then fire it in the oven to create the desired effect. Creating the base of the dial alone usually takes up to 6 or 8 firings. This is why enamel dials are relatively rare in watches. They are extremely time-consuming to make and at any time a mistake is made, the dial has to be thrown out and remade from scratch.
That said, the end results can be remarkable. Enamel dials are usually more vibrant and lustrous in their colors and this is certainly the case for this Breguet Classique 7147 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel Dial watch. The white has a purity that I have seldom seen in watches and adding complexity is the fact that the subsidiary seconds dial is slightly sunken. The transition from the main dial to the sub dial is super smooth with no rough or erratic edges. But more importantly, enamel never loses its luster, which means it will remain this shade of brilliant white for decades to come.
Because the dial is so white, the large hand-painted Breguet-style hour markers in black provide incredible contrast. The minute track is painted too and the individual minutes are marked by asterisks, while diamond markers adorn the 12, 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions. The remaining hours are marked with stylized fleurs-de-lis. Also providing great contrast are the flame-blued Breguet-style hour and minute hands as well as the blued baton-style seconds hand.
The Classique 7147 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel Dial watch is powered by an ultra-thin self-winding movement, specifically the Calibre 502.3SD, which can be viewed via the watch’s sapphire display case back. It is a mere 2.4mm thick and it achieves its remarkable thinness by using an off-center rotor. The rotor features lovely guilloche and the movement is nicely decorated with beveled brides, Côtes de Genève, polished wheels, and screws. It’s modern too, featuring an anti-magnetic silicon balance and a power reserve of 45 hours.
If you’re a collector seeking a refined and timeless dress watch, the Breguet Classique 7147 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel Dial watch is well worth a look. Once you take the dial into account, there’s really no question about this. Even though it may not be based on a vintage Breguet watch, its overall styling and construction certainly pay homage to vintage watches and watchmaking techniques, especially with its classic-looking case and Grand Feu enamel dial. Even if you don’t care much for vintage watches, the Classique 7147 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel Dial watch still makes for a great dress watch, especially with its elegant looks and slim dimensions. The Breguet Classique 7147 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel Dial watch is priced at $21,000 in white gold and $21,500 in pink gold. breguet.com