In a brand lineup dominated by traditional design and finishing, few Breguet lines are as loyal to the watchmaker’s past as the Tradition series. With an overall form that harkens back to the Breguet subscription pocket watches that began production in 1796, it’s fair to say that the design decisions of the Tradition are extremely classical in inspiration. While the distinctive exposed mainplate layout remains constant through the line, the marque continues to expand the lineup with new colors, dial finishes, and unique complications. Summer 2020 has brought about a pair of these extensions, both exclusively available at Breguet boutiques. The new blue dial Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 and black mother of pearl dial women’s Breguet Tradition Dame 7038, while not revolutionary additions to the line, both offer handsome reinterpretations of some of Breguet’s oldest motifs.
The Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 made its first appearance in 2015, and this new boutique exclusive interpretation follows many of the same beats. The 40mm 18k white gold case still takes on the traditional Breguet form, with its distinctive fluted central case and ramrod straight welded lugs. Like its pocket watch forebears, the bezel is mirror polished and extremely narrow, placing all attention on the complex dial.
Likewise, the new Breguet Tradition Dame 7038 follows the classic Breguet case layout but reinterprets it here in a smaller 37mm 18k rose gold form. The Tradition Dame 7038 does go to some lengths to add flash to this conservative shape, surrounding the bezel with 68 brilliant cut diamonds and topping the slightly undersized crown with a large domed ruby.
The major changes to the new boutique edition Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 come courtesy of the dial design. The same exposed gray mainplate as previous models dominates the view here, with a remarkably balanced layout featuring the distinctive shock resistant Breguet pare-chute balance wheel at 4 o’clock countered by large exposed elements at 6 o’clock and 8 o’clock. The main dial itself, placed at 12 o’clock, is finished in a rich steely blue over the characteristic clous de Paris engine turned pattern, printed Roman numerals in white, and rhodium plated Breguet hands. The watch’s other signature dish, the retrograde seconds complication, cuts a wide swath through this main dial every minute with a handsome blued needle hand. The dial changes from previous iterations may be slight, but there’s no denying this blue dial variant adds some masculine flair to this watch in a moment where blue dials are dominating the horological landscape.
The dial changes to the boutique edition Breguet Tradition Dame 7038 are more dramatic than its stablemate, injecting a dose of summery warmth to the classical design without losing any of its imperious elegance. The exposed mainplate and bridges are finished in a deep tropical brown, while several exposed wheels and the 10 o’clock retrograde seconds hand receive a warm rose gold treatment. The exposed central mainspring barrel is also topped with rose gold here, drawing attention to the intricate flower pattern engraving on its surface. The 12 o’clock main dial itself is the real showstopper, however, with a black Tahitian mother of pearl surface that throws off mysterious and captivating iridescence from purple to green and playing dynamically with the guilloche texture. As a final feminine touch, the Roman numerals are replaced with light, airy interpretations of the traditional curving Breguet numerals.
Both new Breguet Tradition models rely on the same movements as previous iterations. For the Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097, this is the in house Cal. 505SR1 automatic movement, offering up a host of classical touches including an antique style gold rotor, alongside technical advancements like a straight line inverted lever escapement featuring silicon pallets and the distinctive Breguet overcoil balance spring in silicon. This blend of old and new is adjusted in six positions and provides a respectable 50 hour power reserve at a 21,600 bph beat rate. The Tradition Dame 7038, on the other hand, uses the manufacture Cal. 505SR automatic movement, providing nearly identical specifications in a slightly smaller package. The power reserve remains at 50 hours here, with the same 21,600 bph beat rate as its larger sibling.
Strap choice is another area where these new boutique exclusives distinguish themselves from previous entries in the series. For the Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097, this takes the form of an alligator patterned leather strap in blue, playing handsomely off the new dial color while providing versatile wearability. For the boutique edition Breguet Tradition Dame 7038, the brand doubles down on summery color with a bright and distinctive orange calfskin leather strap. As a finishing touch, the rose gold buckle here is adorned with an additional 25 brilliant cut diamonds, allowing the piece to sparkle from nearly any angle.
With these two new boutique exclusive models, Breguet takes a conservatively iterative approach that may not be overly exciting, but certainly adds solidly attractive options to the lineup. Both the boutique edition Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 and the boutique edition Breguet Tradition Dame 7038 are available now exclusively through the brand’s boutique retailers, at an MSRP of $36,100 and $39,800, respectively. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.