After a prolonged search, my new dress watch arrived yesterday. It is a Breguet Classique 5177BR/29/9V6. It is really quite special and I thought that I would share it with the forum with a short photo essay.
The case is made from polished, 5N rose gold. 5N rose gold has a higher percentage of copper than 3N and 4N rose gold (12%, 16% and 20.5% copper respectively) which is used by some makers today . All are marketed as "pink" or "rose" or "red" gold, because yellow gold has only 6% copper typically. After looking around in the shops, I found that I preferred the redder hue of the 5N alloy.
The case is classically sized at 38.0 x 8.8 mm, which while large by historic standards, is small relative to plethora of 40 mm watches that seem to be the standard of today, by many makers. It has a simple and narrow, polished bezel and the watch are visually dominated by the enamel dial and wears larger than the numbers might suggest. Here it is on my 18.5 cm wrist.
The case band fluting (fine grooves enhanced with double beading) adds visual interest to contrast the plain dial. The fluted pattern is cold-rolled into the case band then finished by hand on a mechanical work piece-holder.
The case back is engraved and has a sapphire display back to see the caliber within. The lugs are thin and are finished with screw pins and the fluted crown is decorated with a raised company logo.
The dial is made from grand feu enamel or high-fire enamel in English. It is simple, white dial with hand painted Arabic numerals and subtle and diverse chapter ring symbols. The hour, minute and second hands are done in Breguet's signature blued eccentric moon tip. The hands are sized to reach the corresponding symbols on the chapter ring perfectly for easy reading. A trapezoidal date window is located adjacent to the 3 o'clock.
Post-Swatch Group Montres Breguet has developed a reputation among watch collectors for being a bit surreptitious regarding declaring the origin of the movements housed within their watches. While all are very nice movements; many are either historic Nouvelle Lemania (pre-Breguet) or Frederic Piguet (Blancpain) movements that are used by other watch brands. These are very fine movements but in a collector's World driven by exclusivity and its use of vague product literature have created a "bad taste" among collectors.
The Calibre 777Q housed in this watch was commissioned by Mr. Hayek Sr. to Montres Breguet (Lemania) in 2001 shortly after the purchase of both companies (Breguet and Nouvelle Lemania). So it is a 100% in-house automatic base calibre used exclusively by Breguet. The movement was introduced by Breguet five years later at Baselworld 2006.
It is a 12 ligne, 26 jewels, single barreled, automatic calibre that winds with counterclockwise rotation. The watch operates at 28,800 bph and has a 55-hour power reserve. The barrel is coated with DLC to reduce friction and provide a more consistent power curve. An 18 carat, 5N rose gold rotor decorated with guilloche and rotates on ceramic bearings to provide winding power. The balance is free-sprung, with four adjustment weights and incorporates a new Nivarox-FAR shock protection system (also used by Omega I believe) called Nivashoc® that is supposed to allow for better centering of the balance pivot than Incabloc. The movement's balance is coupled to a Anachron®Breguet over-coil hairspring for superior isochronism. Both the escapement wheel and Swiss straight lever are fabricated from silicon to reduce friction, mass and magnetic sensitivity. The movement is finish is understated, with both Cotes de Genève striping and perlage decorating surfaces. The bridges are hand finished with anglage, and are rhodium plated with gold engraved gilding. The screws are chamfered and black polished as is expected in a finely finished movement.
The Strap and Clasp:
A well crafted 20 mm x 18 mm, dark brown alligator strap to complement the hue of the case with a simple 18 carat 5N rose gold clasp.