And now for a moment of pure, classical watchmaking, a palette cleanser following the flourish of colors and billionaire-bling that dominated some of the spring introductions. Two new versions of Breguet’s Classique Quantième Perpétuel ref. 7327 is a tranquil departure from the drama of other recent introductions. The design is an homage to Abraham-Louis Breguet’s legacy not just as a watchmaker, but also as a watch designer.
Working in the late 18th century from his Paris workshop, Breguet invented the neoclassical style, with guilloché engraved patterns, his now-signature “moon” tip watch hands, and off-centered subdials. What became the brand’s signature style has endured all these years, but these new pieces come with some refinements designed to make it more readable: The weekday indicator now has abbreviated names, and the ring is thinner to allow for more guilloché; the power reserve indicator has been replaced by a new retrograde month indicator. These changes are more about readability than modernization. In fact, a third tweak takes the watch back to even more classical territory: a new leap year indicator is also abbreviated, with a “B” that stands for Bissextile year, derived from the Latin term “bissextilis” which means “having an intercalary day,” which means literally to insert an extra day in the calendar, another way to describe a leap year.
The 5327 Classique Quantième Perpétuel, which first entered the Breguet catalog in 2004, is also heavily inspired by the founder’s early pocket watches with so-called perpétuelle movements. They had à secousses (moving) oscillating weights, enabling them to be wound by the wearer’s body movements, just like today’s automatic wristwatch movements. They often incorporated calendar mechanisms, and it was also on these models that Breguet experimented with his first guilloché silvered dials.
The decoration of both the dial and movement on the new pieces are pure Breguet. The dial is guilloched with a Clous de Paris hobnail pattern. The moon on the lunar phase indicator has a hand-hammered surface. The sky is coated with blue lacquer, and silver spangles represent the stars. The moon-tipped hands are blued steel, and Breguet’s “secret signature” appears, barely visible, on the chapter ring on either side of the XII. As for the movement, the gold rotor is hand-engraved using a rose engine with a circular barleycorn motif, the bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève finishing, and the other components are finished with chamfered edges and, likewise, with Côtes de Genève decor.
There are two references: one in 18-karat white gold with a midnight blue strap, and the other in rose gold with a brown strap. Both have 39 mm cases, in keeping with this year’s strong trend toward smaller cases. They are equipped with the automatic caliber 502, with a perpetual calendar module and an escapement with a silicon balance spring. They are both priced at $80,200.