If you recognize completely nothing in regards to the watch trade and that is the very first sentence about horology that you’ve ever learn in your life, know this: watch manufacturers exaggerate, usually making seemingly spectacular claims primarily based on little to no substance.
And it does that very properly.
Custom actually runs that deep on this assortment, however I don’t anticipate you to take my phrase for it. You may determine for your self if I’m exaggerating by this comparability between a up to date Breguet Custom Automatique Seconde Rétrograde and an Abraham-Louis Breguet unique Souscription Pocket watch more than two centuries old, physically and photographically deconstructed by The Naked Watchmaker, Peter Speake-Marin.
Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747-1823) is taken into account by many, if not by most, the best and most influential watchmaker in historical past due to his horological innovations and improvements, lots of which the trade nonetheless cherishes and produces in massive portions in the present day. These embrace the tourbillon, repeater gongs, automated winding (not less than partially), stability shock safety, stability spring overcoil, and sympathetic clocks (although the latter just isn’t produced in any amount in the present day).
However what actually made Abraham-Louis Breguet’s fame was that his technical genius was complemented and matched by each a wonderful sense of design and excellent enterprise and advertising abilities.
Whereas born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, Abraham-Louis Breguet labored and created most of his watches and clocks in Paris. He went to Switzerland briefly in 1793 at the beginning of the French revolution, returning to Paris two years later after the politics had stabilized.
Breguet and The Bare Watchmaker: deconstructions of Custom Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 and Abraham-Louis Breguet Souscription pocket watch
The Naked Watchmaker (TNW), aka Peter Speake-Marin, has not too long ago begun a collection of deconstructions of a broad number of fashionable Breguet watches and actions, beginning with the Classique 5177, a comparatively easy (for Breguet) three-hand, time-only costume watch.
Whereas I very a lot respect and study from the deconstructions on The Bare Watchmaker, I needed to know a bit extra.
With the sort permission of TNW, right here are some things that The Bare Watchmaker didn’t inform us in regards to the Breguet Custom Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 and Abraham-Louis Breguet Souscription pocket watch deconstructions, which I discovered attention-grabbing and thought you may as properly.
Custom is symmetry: Breguet Custom Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 and Abraham-Louis Breguet Souscription pocket watch
Symmetry: the modern Breguet Custom Automatique Seconde Rétrograde and 200-year-old Abraham-Louis Breguet Souscription watch show architectural, horological, and visible symmetry throughout their respective dials and actions; this can be a symmetry that spans greater than two centuries.
Symmetry within the visible motion structure: the central mainspring barrel is flanked by the stability and heart wheel at 6 o’clock and 9 o’clock.
Symmetry within the stepped bridges. Symmetry within the pare-chute kind stability shock safety system. Symmetry within the form of the gear wheels. Symmetry within the frosted motion ending. Symmetry within the technologically superior escapements.
Symmetry, there’s plenty of it.
Abraham-Louis Breguet Souscription pocket watch circa 1805
Abraham-Louis Breguet made lots of his most well-known watches for Europe’s royalty as a result of few others had the cash to afford the event of such costly issues.
It’s price taking into account that Breguet didn’t simply develop his personal tourbillon, minute repeater or perpetual calendar, he first needed to invent a hitherto nonexistent complication, develop it, then produce it. And he then needed to recuperate these substantial invention and growth prices from very small numbers of timepieces, usually only one distinctive piece.
Abraham-Louis Breguet was recognized then, as he’s now, for his costly unique issues, however he determined to create a watch at a worth degree extra throughout the monetary attain of a bigger swath of inhabitants.
It will be a extra inexpensive watch, however it could nonetheless be a watch worthy of the Breguet title.
He additionally selected an progressive financing scheme, which he known as the Souscription (“subscription” in French), that made it simpler for shoppers to pay for his extra inexpensive watches. And it did wonders for his money movement. Shoppers would make a down cost of round 25 % upon affirmation of the fee, with the stability paid in installments over the months, generally the years, it took to make the watch.
This additionally meant that Breguet didn’t should borrow cash to fund growth and manufacturing.
To maintain the price of his Souscription pocket watches low in price, Abraham-Louis Breguet selected a comparatively easy motion structure. This is able to have the profit to Breguet of the watch being simpler, quicker, and cheaper to provide, and the profit to the proprietor of having the ability to have it serviced by any expert watchmaker moderately than one of many world’s finest – and most costly.
Breguet Souscription pocket watch: progressive ruby cylinder escapement
Whereas Breguet’s échappement naturel (one other of his ineventions) was a extra exact regulator over an extended interval as a result of it has much less friction (so was much less depending on good lubrication), it had the drawback – particularly in a look ahead to a extra common public – of simply stopping attributable to shocks or bumps. And, worse, it could not mechanically restart.
For his Souscription watch actions, Breguet selected utilizing the comparatively easy cylinder escapement; nonetheless, it had the drawback of comparatively excessive friction, which made good lubrication important. The escape wheel of the cylinder escapement locked in place by pushing straight on the stability workers in such a means that its oscillations have been always disturbed, which adversely affected timing.
Sadly, good lubrication didn’t exist on the time: watchmakers used animal oils and greases. Breguet – as with all watchmakers of his time – was hampered in his makes an attempt at greater precision and higher reliability by the poor high quality of the then-available animal oil that was significantly detrimental to the efficiency of the cylinder escapement.
Moderately than settle for the limitation of poor accuracy from the cylinder escapement as quickly because the escapement oils degraded because the tradeoff for lower cost, Breguet optimized it with a ruby half-cylinder that transmits impulses to the escape wheel with comparatively minimal friction within the escapement, making it much less affected by quick degrading oils.
In his deconstruction of the Abraham-Louis Breguet Souscription pocket watch, The Bare Watchmaker reported having seen no hint of damage on the ruby, and this on an escapement that has seen a lot use over greater than 200 years!
Breguet Custom Automatique Seconde Rétrograde: progressive silicon stability spring with Breguet overcoil escapement
In symmetry with Abraham-Louis Breguet’s progressive improve to enhance the comparatively easy escapement on his Souscription watch, greater than 200 years later the trendy Breguet firm fitted the Custom with an progressive Swiss lever escapement that includes a silicon stability spring.
And going one step additional, not as a result of anybody will discover, however as a result of it’s the appropriate factor to do (the “Breguet” factor to do), the silicon spring has been fitted with an overcoil (one other Abraham-Louis Breguet invention) that allows the spring coils to breathe out and in extra concentrically, thus extra isochronically.
Symmetry: then and now
1805: regulator of the Abraham-Louis Breguet Souscription pocket watch incorporates a then state-of-the-art bimetallic stability wheel to enhance precision.
2005: regulator of the Breguet Custom Automatique Seconde Rétrograde incorporates a modern state-of-the-art free-sprung silicon stability spring with Breguet overcoil to enhance precision.
1805: stability protected by absolutely practical pare-chute shock safety system (one more Abraham-Louis Breguet invention).
2005: stability protected by a contemporary absolutely practical pare-chute shock safety system (updating Abraham-Louis Breguet’s unique invention).
The Breguet Custom Automatique Seconde Rétrograde’s automated winding rotor
Whereas the distinctive form of the automated winding rotor on the Automatique Seconde Rétrograde wasn’t impressed within the slightest by the key-winding Souscription featured on this article, it was impressed by Abraham-Louis Breguet’s personal invention of a self-winding system with rotor.
Its uncommon form happened as a result of within the two-century-old motion, the rotor couldn’t/didn’t rotate by 360 levels. Being comparatively slim elevated the angle it was capable of swing by.
After I noticed my first Breguet Custom again in 2005, I cherished it. I cherished the open motion and it simply clicked for me. I needed one. However . . .
The look of the Custom was so distinctive, so other than anything on the time in mixing the previous with the brand new that I nervous that it was a method which may change into rapidly dated moderately than evolve right into a traditional. And that’s one thing that can not be judged contemporaneously; turning into a traditional takes time.
However right here we’re almost 15 years later, and the Breguet Custom is wanting simply pretty much as good to me because it did then. It might not be a traditional simply but (I feel that we’d like greater than 20 years to reply that), but it surely’s actually heading in the right direction.
For extra info, please go to www.breguet.com/en/timepieces/tradition/7097.
For way more on The Bare Watchmaker’s deconstructions, please go to www.thenakedwatchmaker.com/land-decon-breguet-7097 and/or www.thenakedwatchmaker.com/decon-breguet-souscription.
Fast Details Breguet Custom Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097
Case: 41 x 16 mm, 18-karat white gold, crimson gold and platinum
Motion: automated Caliber 505 SR1, silicon free-sprung stability spring, 50-hour energy reserve, four Hz/28,800 vph frequency, 241 parts, inverted straight-line lever escapement
Features: hours, minutes; energy reserve indication
Value: from €32,700
*This text was first revealed March 1, 2019 at Breguet Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 And Abraham-Louis Breguet Souscription Pocket Watch Deconstructions: What The Naked Watchmaker Didn’t Reveal.