The 7097 has a symmetrical layout, making it easy not only to read the time but also to observe the watch’s workings. The bridges for the gear train and the balance wheel are placed to mirror one another in the lower half of the watch. Above the balance wheel, one can see the pare-chute device, an anti-shock invention designed by Breguet himself. The mainspring is visible at the center, just beneath the bottom of the small dial.
Hours and minutes can be read on the dial at 12 o’clock, which has a classic Breguet design. This dial is made of silvered and engine-turned gold. Hours are marked with Roman numerals, and the interior of the dial has a hobnail pattern. The blued steel hands have signature Breguet open tips. At the bottom of the dial is the number of the edition. (Breguet did not disclose how many watches will be produced in the edition.) Lettering beneath 6 o’clock indicates that the guilloché work was done by hand.
Overlapping this dial from 10 to 7 o’clock is a circular-brushed arc providing the scale for seconds. This feature gives the watch its moniker of “Seconde Rétrograde.” A blued-steel retrograde hand counts the seconds and jumps back at the end of each minute. The hand is mounted on a small bridge that echoes the design of the bridges lower on the watch. When you turn the watch over, you can see the gold rotor through the transparent sapphire crystal caseback.
Breguet has used Caliber 505SR1, an automatic movement of 14 1/2 lignes. It has a 50-hour power reserve and runs in 38 jewels. Its frequency is 21,600 vph and it has been adjusted in six positions. The caliber has an inverted in-line lever escapement. For fine adjustment, it has four gold screws on the balance. In keeping with Breguet’s technological developments over the last few years, it has silicon pallets that make it both hardy and antimagnetic. The balance spring (with Breguet overcoil visible in the image below) is also made of silicon.
The Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 is cased in white gold (as shown here) or rose gold, with a 40-mm diameter. The caseband is fluted. Lugs are welded to the case and have screw bars to hold the leather strap in place. The watch is water resistant to 30 meters.
I find the Brequet designs of the last five years simply the most intriguing and beautiful of all watches. I could spend hours with a loop studying the details.
Thank you for this nice report on this fabulous Breguet timepiece! In fact, you seem to have very few write-ups about Breguet, which, I think, is one of the greatest watch brands on Earth.