Heritage Revisited: Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Retrograde 7097 and Tradition 7038

Established in 2005, Breguet’s Tradition collection pays tribute to the one-handed “subscription” pocketwatches invented by founder Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1796, and their successors, the so-called “tact” watches, by placing major movement components on top of the mainplate alongside an off-centered subdial. As part of its new offerings for 2020, Breguet has unveiled two new timepieces in the collection, one targeted at ladies, the other at gents, both exclusive to Breguet boutiques.

Both new Tradition models are exclusive to Breguet boutiques.

To start with “ladies first:” The latest version of the Tradition 7038 features a Tahitian mother-of-pearl subdial, a diamond-set bezel, and an orange leather strap. Its highly technical face is dominated by the movement, finished in a deep brown color, its central barrel hand-engraved with a rosette motif. Overlapping the barrel and displaying the hour and minutes is the small off-center subdial in Tahitian mother-of-pearl, with a hand-crafted, engine-turned Clou de Paris hobnail motif and a chapter ring with Arabic numerals swept over by Breguet’s signature open-tipped gold hands.

The Tradition 7038’s Tahitian mother-of-pearl subdial is framed by brown movement bridges.

A fine retrograde hand counts the seconds at 10 o’clock, while a large balance wheel oscillates between 4 and 5 o’clock, under a bridge protected by a pare-chute antishock mechanism, invented by Breguet in 1790. Opposite this mechanism, between 7 and 8 o’clock, we find the center wheel and its bridge. The 37-mm rose-gold case has the Tradition collection’s hallmark fluted caseband; welded, rounded-edge lugs; and a bezel set with 68 brilliant-cut diamonds. Inside the case, visible through a clear caseback, is Breguet Caliber 505SSR, a self-winding movement that is equipped with a lever escapement, silicon pallets, and a silicon balance spring, and which offers a 50-hour power reserve when fully wound. Its gold rotor is engraved with the same rosette motif as the front-facing barrel. The watch comes with a very special handcrafted clutch bag, in orange grained calfskin leather to match the watch’s strap, and is priced at $39,800.

The rotor’s rosette engraving echoes the motif on the barrel.

For the gentleman, Breguet offers a new version of its Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 in a 40-mm white gold case and an engine-turned, blued gold dial. Like the 7038 and other models in the Tradition collection, the 7097’s symmetrical, openworked dial layout enables easy reading of the time and also a front-row seat to the watch’s inner workings. The bridges for the gear train and balance wheel are positioned opposite one another in the lower half of the watch, while the pare-chute anti-shock device overhangs the balance at 4 o’clock. The mainspring is visible in the center, beneath the bottom of the hours-and-minutes subdial, with a hobnail motif in the center and open-tipped, rhodium-plated Breguet hands.

The Tradition 7097 has a blue subdial intersected by a retrograde seconds scale.

Overlapping this off-centered blue subdial, from 10 to 7 o’clock is a circular-brushed semicircle displaying the seconds scale that gives the watch its name. A blued-steel retrograde hand, mounted on a small bridge that echoes the design of those on the lower part of the front-facing movement, counts the seconds on the scale and snaps back at the end of each minute. On the opposite side, through a sapphire crystal, is a view of the self-winding Caliber 505SSR1, with its white-gold rotor fashioned in the style of antique pocketwatches. The movement has a frequency of 3 Hz and a power reserve of 50 hours.

The movement’s rotor takes its cues from those in antique Breguet pocketwatches.

The Tradition Automatique Seconde Retrograde 7097 is presented on a blue leather strap and priced at $36,100. Both new models will be available exclusively at Breguet boutiques.

For more 2020 novelties from Breguet, click here.

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