Breguet reinvents “Tradition”

The brand came to Baselworld with three new Rolex replica watches in its Tradition collection, including the Chronographe Indépendant 7077 and the Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087. Both offer further demonstration of what innovation means at Breguet.

In Breguet’s language, “Tradition” means a collection of timepieces whose main movement parts are positioned in full view above the plate, and such a distinctive, not to mention distinguishing, aesthetic naturally implies an unconventional architecture. In upholding tradition, Breguet also expects its loyal “servants” to show the same pioneering spirit as its namesake, one of the greatest watchmakers of all times. Indeed, the simple fact of selling watches under the Breguet name demands no small amount of innovation in the science of time measurement. The late Nicolas G. Hayek orchestrated this vision for the Swatch Group brand which Marc Hayek now leads in complete concordance with the strategy laid out by his grandfather.

Energy supply

Two of the cheap Breitling replica watches in the collection, both presented at Baselworld, offer the perfect illustration. The Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077 is designed to counter one of the main problems inherent to the chronograph complication, namely disturbances to the gear-train when operating the chronograph. Breguet’s solution is to equip the watch with two movements, each having its own balance with silicon balance spring, as well as its own escapement and separate gear-train. The first movement, for hours and minutes, beats at 3 Hz (21,600 vib/hour) and delivers a 50-hour power reserve. The second movement, for the chronograph, runs at a higher frequency of 5 Hz (36,000 vib/hour). At this “speed”, the chronograph gains not only in precision but also in stability of rate, and measures elapsed times to one-tenth of a second. Alain Zaugg, who heads Breguet’s Engineering Division, confirms that the base movement varies within a range of -1 to +5 seconds/day versus -1 to +3 seconds/day for the chronograph.

Nor is this the only innovation. Two movements would normally imply two barrels to store energy. Contrary to expectations, the Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077 has just one. “The idea came from a double seconds observation Rolex replica watches for men that Breguet made in 1825,” says Alain Zaugg. The energy required to drive the chronograph is provided by the zero-reset function: each time the user actuates the pusher to reset the chronograph hands to zero, energy is stored in a flexed blade spring. This explains the chronograph’s short but sufficient power reserve of 20 minutes. Breguet has filed four patents for this new chronograph.

Thinking backwards

The Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087 is a product of the same out-of-the-box approach. This time, the entire creative process was turned around, as Nakis Karapatis, head of R&D at Breguet, explains. “We compiled a databank of the past fifteen years’ research into minute-repeater acoustics and, after studying the different sounds, chose the two notes that we wanted to produce. We then designed the entire mechanism around these notes.”

Major technological advances include the original shape of the gongs which have a rectangular cross-section. They are made from gold and attached to a radiating bezel, which is itself screwed to the caseband by three pillars so that it vibrates at the same frequency as the gongs. The hammers, which hit the gongs vertically, are combined with semi-active buffers that prevent vibrations from causing an accidental double strike. A gold membrane on the back of the case and linked to the bezel forms an acoustic cavity. The magnetic governor that Breguet already uses in its Classique La Musicale returns, to reduce unwanted noise from the mechanism. A tourbillon completes the whole, in the finest Breguet “tradition”.