A blue wave continues to roll over the luxury watch industry, as more and more brands strive to put forward their own distinct shades of the popular color. One of the latest to do so, and in a rather interesting way, is Breguet, whose new Classique 5517 is fronted by a dazzling grand feu enamel dial in so-called Breguet blue — a hue achieved by painstakingly re-creating the color of the watchmaker’s emblematic blued steel hands.
The Breguet Classique, among the most elegantly simple in the manufacture’s portfolio, is inspired by 18th-century pocketwatches created by brand founder and namesake Abraham-Louis Breguet, which stood out amongst the “baroque exuberance” (to use Breguet’s words) of other timepieces of that era. This is the first in the collection to feature a blue dial in grand feu enamel — a material characterized by the kiln-firing of its pigments at temperatures exceeding 800 degrees Celsius (hence, “grand feu,” or “big fire”). This particular shade of blue, arrived at after extensive research to ensure its stability during firing, mimics that of Breguet’s classically shaped hands, which is also wrought by a delicately controlled firing process. The open-tipped hands on this model, however, are made of rhodium-plated steel for legibility against the deep blue face, while the Arabic numerals, stars, diamonds, and fleur-de-lis on the chapter ring silvered, and larger in size than those of previous Classique models, also in the service of greater readability. The numerals in the trapezoidal date aperture at 3 o’clock are executed in the same process as the hour numerals (both use calligraphy used by Abraham-Louis Breguet himself on the No. 15 pocketwatch from 1787) and the Breguet “secret signature” appears in enamel relief at 6 o’clock.
The case of the Classique 5177 is made of 18k white gold and measures a relatively modest 38 mm in diameter. It features the finely fluted caseband that has become a hallmark of the collection and attaches to a leather strap by means of welded, rounded lugs and secure screw pins. Inside is Breguet’s self-winding manufacture Caliber 777Q, which stores a 55-hour power reserve. The movement combines modern technical advances, like the use of silicon for the lever, escape wheel, and balance spring, with classical horological decorative arts, such as chamfering, circular graining, brushing, and côtes de Genève on the bridges and plates, and wheel forms reminiscent of those used by the founder in his late 18th-century calibers. The 18k gold winding rotor — visible, along with other elements, through a clear sapphire caseback — has been engraved by hand on a rose engine, and each caseback features an engraved individual number. The dark blue alligator strap harmonizes with the dial and closes with a white-gold pin buckle. The price is 23,100 Swiss francs.