Watch brands are now presenting previews of their new products for 2017, which will be fully presented during the two upcoming shows, SIHH in Geneva in January, and Baselworld in March. Breguet’s preview is dedicated to women, a new version of the Tradition Dame, at a very feminine size of 37 mm but with a focus on the mechanics of the watch that is more usual in men’s watches. The piece is hallmarked by the symmetry of the gear train, with the balance on the right and its bridge mirrored by another wheel on the left. The retrograde seconds hand at top left is an unusual and fascinating feature, bringing the watch to life along with the balance.
The symmetrical design of the gear train is taken directly from historic Breguet watches, such as the No. 1498 Souscription watch shown in the photo below. Of course, Abraham-Louis Breguet kept these details well hidden in the movement, with just a white enamel dial visible from the front. For the modern Breguet, the open dial has become an important part of their visual style. It’s very easy to end up with a watch that looks a bit like a miniature frying pan, but Breguet avoids this risk in this piece by means of the powerful symmetry.
The decoration of the front side of the watch is a composition of many diverse elements, with a diamond-set bezel, dial in mother-of-pearl with Clou de Paris machining, rhodium-plated mainplate and bridges with a sandblasted texture, rose gold case, and a synthetic sapphire – the same sort of jewel used for watch bearings – set into the crown. The barrel at the centre of the watch is hand-engraved with a flower motif. The detailing of the balance is a joy to observe.
The view through the sapphire caseback – Breguet has not provided this image, but presumably it will be similar to the previous version of the Tradition Dame – presents an oscillating weight engraved with the same flower motif that appears on the barrel. While the front side of the watch is substantially logical and visually satisfying, the caseback view is less effective. The design of the oscillating weight is based on yet another historical Breguet piece, but it looks a bit contrived, with the central part of the rotor echoing the cantilevered bridge design, and a backdrop bereft of any organizing principle.
The watch combines traditional design elements with state-of-the-art watchmaking technology. The Calibre 505SR movement has a silicon balance spring running at 3 Hertz, silicon pallets, and a mainspring providing 50 hours power reserve. The watch is reference 7038BR/18/9V6 D00D, price as yet unannounced but presumably of the order of $39,000 as per the previous Tradition Dame.