A History Of Heritage: What Makes Breguet Watches So Special & Timeless

We take a look at the four of the pioneering Swiss watchmaker's most exquisite creations.

Breguet Marine Chronograph (ref. 5527BR/G3/9WV) – AU$49,300

The following article was produced in partnership with Breguet.

Luxury watch brands love to talk endlessly about their history, legacy and inventions, but Breguet has more than virtually any other watchmaker on the planet – on all counts.

Founded in 1775 by Abraham-Louis Breguet, widely regarded as the greatest watchmaker of all time, Breguet is in a league of its own when it comes to prestige, refinement and technological advancement. Abraham-Louis Breguet himself was responsible for some of the most important developments in haute horlogerie: the tourbillon, the ‘pare-chute’ shock protection system, some of the very first self-winding movements… But most importantly, Breguet created the world’s very first wristwatch, a commission from the Queen of Naples in 1810.

In 2021, the House of Breguet remains one of the most innovative and prestigious watch brands on the planet. No other watchmaker features such a unique and compelling combination of aesthetic and technical brilliance.

The other remarkable aspect of Breguet is how diverse its offerings are. Each of Breguet’s collections brings something different and new to the table, yet each embodies that unique Breguet philosophy of melding both art and science.

Breuget Tradition Quantième Rétrograde (ref. 7597BB/G1/9WU)
Breuget Tradition Quantième Rétrograde (ref. 7597BB/G1/9WU)

Breguet’s Tradition collection demonstrates this perfectly. Inspired by Abraham-Louis Breguet’s cutting-edge approach to watchmaking – and more specifically, his groundbreaking 1796 souscription watch, the world’s first single-hand watch – these complication-packed timepieces blend technological wizardry with traditional watchmaking elegance like few other watches on the market.

Take the Tradition Quantième Rétrograde (ref. 7597BB/G1/9WU), a true masterclass in contrast. Its stunning exposed movement contrasts brilliantly with its small offset dial; the purity of the dial paying homage to designs of old while the avant-garde movement epitomises Breguet’s modern know-how.

Its mechanisms are both beautiful in their symmetry and impressive in their complexity, with the large retrograde date complication given pride of place. It would be worth staying up until midnight on the 31st just to see that date hand fly back to the 1st on this stunning watch! Its uniquely-shaped rotor, viewable through its crystal caseback, also pays homage to Abraham-Louis Breguet’s first automatic watch designs.

Breguet Marine Chronograph (ref. 5527BR/G3/9WV)
Breguet Marine Chronograph (ref. 5527BR/G3/9WV)

Another collection that reflects Breguet’s respect for tradition, as well as its drive to innovate, is the Marine collection. Abraham-Louis Breguet produced some of the first marine chronometers – invaluable tools that were indispensable for ocean travel during the Age of Exploration and the subsequent Industrial Revolution.

Indeed, Breguet was appointed chronometer maker to the French Royal Navy, the highest distinction a watchmaker could receive at the time. Inspired by this, Breguet’s modern Marine watches feature traditional nautical designs combined with thoroughly modern capabilities.

The Marine Chronograph in rose gold (ref. 5527BR/G3/9WV) demonstrates this. A contemporary chronograph with a water-resistance of 100m, screw-lock crown and a silicon balance spring, this timepiece is hardly enough to withstand adventures, yet luxurious enough to complement more relaxed, gentlemanly pursuits. Its unique lug design and wave-patterned dial give it a purposeful, distinct aesthetic.

Breguet Type XXI (ref. 3817ST/X2/3ZU)
Breguet Type XXI (ref. 3817ST/X2/3ZU)

Sportier still are Breguet’s Type XX, XXI and XXII collections. The Type XX was first released in 1954 and was initially commissioned by the French Ministry of Defence for the French Air Force – demonstrating how Breguet has always been at the forefront of horological innovation, from the 18th century to the 20th and 21st centuries.

The Type XX’s success kicked off a long tradition of Breguet pilot’s watches, which continue to delight watch fans. These sporty, technical flyback chronographs are modern, functional tools: that unmistakable Breguet DNA shines through in every aspect of their design.

The stainless steel Type XXI (ref. 3817ST/X2/3ZU) is an exemplar of this tradition. At first glance, it’s perhaps not the sort of watch you might expect from Breguet, with its tough military aesthetic – but appearances can be deceiving. Its flyback double chronograph function and immaculately lumed raised Arabic numerals make it stand out from the pack. It’s not just any old pilot’s watch.

Breguet Classique Hora Mundi (ref. 5717BR/AS/9ZU) – AU$114,900

Perhaps the purest expression of Breguet as a maison is found in the Classique collection. This collection epitomises Breguet as a brand: unparalleled refinement, traditional values and time-honoured know-how combined with the latest and greatest in watchmaking technology.

One only needs to take one look at the Breguet Classique Hora Mundi in rose gold (ref. 5717BR/AS/9ZU) to know that this is a rare watch. It takes the time-honoured tradition of world time watches and turns it on its head with its instant-jump time-zone display with synchronized date, day/night indication and city.

Classic Breguet ‘apple’ hands and a globe display – which can display either Asia-Oceania, Europe-Africa or the Americas, whatever the lucky owner prefers – complete this superb example of haute horlogerie.

What do these four models demonstrate?

In short, they all demonstrate that owning a Breguet means owning a piece of history. From dress watches to tool watches, traditional looks to avant-garde designs, Breguet is truly a brand for connoisseurs

These watches are more than just time-telling devices: they’re works of art from one of the world’s most influential, innovative and desirable watchmakers. That’s what makes Breguet so special.

Discover these four models, as well as the rest of Breguet’s exquisite range of high-end watches, here.

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