By Harlan Chapman-Green

Some of the most sought after and well respected wristwatches are the simple dress watches. 2 or 3 handers, to date wheel or not to date wheel it’s all part of the charm of simple dress watches. Things like the Saxonia and Calatrava and such are in the top echelons of horology, and with them is the Classique line of watches. Now there’s an updated 7147 watch with a new sub seconds complication and enamel dial.

The watch hasn’t changed much at heart, in fact it’s the same calibre 502.3SD found in the version with the guilloché dial. I might be mistaken but I am pretty sure this one is based on an F.Piguet calibre, but I don’t remember entirely. The movement is 2.4mm thick, automatic winding and gives off a heart 45 hours of ticking time. To aid in durability (not a dress watch’s strongest suit by any means) there is a free sprung balance, something you’d find in a tough-as-old-boots Submariner or Seamaster, as well as a silicone hairspring to aid in achieving greater accuracy. Also, did I mention that it’s a really really good looking movement? That hand guilloché automatic winding rotor has been placed off centre and the movement looks all the better for it.

“So, what’s actually changed then?” Well, I’m glad you asked that because it happens to be something that Breguet is particularly good at: the dial. To be more specific, the dial on this one has been changed. The older model has a guilloché dial to it, this being Breguet’s speciality in particular, with basically no one making as good guilloché dials as they do. But over time people can get bored of things, while keeping with the guilloché dial layout wouldn’t harm the sales of the watch too much, it’s good to make sure Breguet isn’t simply designing watches once and then forgetting about them for years at a time.

We like the new dial. It’s known as ‘Enamel Grand Feu’, that is to say, grand fired enamel. What that means is the dial is made of a material that takes a hell of a lot of time to make, not that hand engraved dials do not, but the techniques are difficult to master and one must keep absolute control of temperatures and timings and the like. Not to mention the markings which are painted on by hand as well. Interestingly, the sub seconds hand is located inside it’s own little dip in the dial which one can’t really see if observing head on. That is most definitely a tricky thing to do so hat off to Breguet for making it happen.

Including a thick alligator leather strap with a golden pin buckle and the cold-rolled fluted case-band, this watch is a Breguet through and through despite the new materials introduced. It will cost $21,000 in white gold and $21,500 in rose gold.

Talking about updating watches, will we ever see something new happen to the Type XXII?

For more info, please visit breguet.com

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