For many, the 18th century watchmaker represents the forefather of Haute Horlogerie. A visionary who, albeit was not born into a watchmaking family thanks to his stepfather picked up the trade and revolutionized it.
In 1775, after marrying his fiancée, Cécile Marie-Louise L’Huillier the newlyweds set up their home and watchmaking company in Paris, at the Pont Neuf – a stone throw away of the Notre Dame. Since that date, Breguet has been creating some of the most exquisite timepieces the watch world has seen. They are constantly breaking boundaries while keeping the elegance of each timepiece. Whether it’s a highly complicated watch with tourbillon and perpetual calendar like the Classique Complications 3795. Or as simple as the Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel. You will always find something special in a Breguet timepiece, but admitted, they could need some more exposure in order to be discovered.
Today Breguet launches a new piece in their Classique collection; the Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel. An elegant time-only watch with date, central second and amazing deep blue Grand Feu (Great Fire) enamel dial. The 5177 is not a new model, as a matter of fact, it has been in the collection of the Swiss watch manufacturer since 2006. It is one of “the most recognizable Breguet” models their collection. While the watches evolved over time, the key features like the coin-edged case, straight lugs or the typical Breguet hands stayed the same. The Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel has a beautiful deep blue dial, instead of the lighter dials the previous 5177s mostly had. The inspiration for the color comes from the blued steel hands, the brand loves to use on these – and many other – timepieces.
Creating a blue Grand Feu enamel dial sounds much easier than it is. Finding the perfect shade of blue that resembles the tone of the steel hands is no small task in its own. To create it with the Grand Feu process is even harder. For those of you who are not familiar with the method here’s a little run-down. Grand Feu is an enamel technique where the artisan applies a thin layer of enamel powder to a base disc (mostly copper). The disc needs to be cleaned in the acidic bath beforehand. The dial then goes back in the oven which is over 800 degrees Celsius. When the power melts the dial is taken out, flattened and a new layer of powered is applied. Then it goes back into the oven. With each layer, the enamel gets a different shade until it reaches the final color. It’s a very meticulous process.
The blue enamel serves as the perfect base for the Breguet Classique 5177 but having this beautiful deep blue dial disc is only half the charm of the timepiece. Due to the dark blue tone, clear readability is very important. To ensure this, the classic Breguet moon-tipped steel hands receive rhodium coating to stand out even more against the background. On the dial the Breguet numerals, the logo the diamond and fleur-de-lis shaped indexes are silver and large, again for the same purpose. To create the numerals and indexes the company uses powdered tracing. Lastly, the barely visible signature of Abraham-Louis Breguet appears on the lower side of the dial, just above the 6. It is also enamel, a detail that one can find on every Breguet enamel dial. The calligraphic is after the master’s own design, he used on the No. 15 that he launched 1787 for example.
Such an exquisite timepiece like the Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel deserves a movement of the same order. The self-winding caliber 777Q is the perfect marriage of high technology and refined aesthetics. This mechanical caliber has simple and useful functions, matching perfectly to the idea of 5177. A time-only piece with central second hand and date at 3 o’clock. The movement received Cotes de Genéve decoration. The 18k gold oscillating wheel has engine-turn finish. To benefit from new technological improvements the caliber uses silicon for the lever and escape wheel to optimize reliability. The 777Q has a power reserve of 55 hours, hacking second, 12 lignes and 26 jewels. Various aesthetic elements of the movement, such as the form of the wheels, are reminiscent of the 18th century Breguet creations, keeping the heritage of the brand alive.
As with all Breguet watches, skilled artisans decorate the watches by hand mastering many techniques from chamfering, circular graining and brushing to Côtes-de-Genéve and beyond. You can admire the movement through the sapphire crystal display case back. The case shape is elegant, round with straight lugs and fluted sides. The lugs are welded and rounded toward the strap. An individual number is engraved on the back of each Breguet Classique 5177, making it a unique piece. The new owners, using this number, can have their names recorded in the Breguet registers that the company has been keeping since 1780. Such a watch deserves a precious metal, so the case is made of 18-carat white gold. The 38mm case is classy and neat. The water resistance is 3 bars (~ 30 meters). Screw pins secure the dark blue alligator strap with white gold pin buckle to the case.
If you would like to visit Breguet’s website please click here.
Balázs joined Fratello Watches in 2014 and he has been a fan of watches as long as he can remember. His passion for watches really took off in 2007 when he purchased his first fine Swiss timepiece. From 2007 up... read more