In the two decades since the Swatch Group purchased Breguet, the storied brand has emphasized its ability to make guilloché dials using traditional techniques. Today, Breguet’s attention to guilloché dial making (which Abraham-Louis Breguet pioneered for pocket watches more than two centuries ago) is unrivalled among luxury brands. At the company’s headquarters in the Vallée de Joux, expert artisans operate an astonishing thirty-five traditional, hand-operated guilloché machines.
This week, Breguet is expanding its mastery of another traditional dial-making technique, grand feu enameling, within its top-selling Classique collection, best known for showcasing Breguet’s extensive range of guilloché dials.
While not the first example of an enamel dial model within the Classique collection, the new Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel is the first to feature a deep blue grand feu enamel treatment. And, to showcase reverence to its history, Breguet is transposing onto the dial the same blue hue it uses to color its famed ‘Breguet hands.’
To match the hand color while making the new dials, the enameller is required to carefully monitor the dial’s pigment development while also ensuring that the enamel is being fired at a consistent 800 degrees Celsius.
And to be sure the wearer can read the watch’s hands as they traverse a Breguet blue dial, the watchmaker has rhodium-plated its historic Breguet moon-tipped steel design. Similarly, the watch’s Arabic numerals, stars, date, diamond shapes and fleur-de-lis on the chapter ring are silvered and sized larger than those seen on other Breguet dials. Look closely at 6 o’clock to see Breguet’s secret signature.
Finally, as with all enameled dials at Breguet, you’ll find that the calligraphy on this Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel echoes that seen on dials designed by Abraham-Louis Breguet, as seen, for example, on the Breguet No. 15 watch launched in 1787.
Inside Breguet retains the self-winding 777Q mechanical caliber it places in past Classique 5177 models. The caliber is thin, which means it fits nicely into the slim 38mm white gold case with fluted sides and lugs that are welded and rounded toward the dark blue alligator leather strap.
The 777Q also utilizes silicon for the lever and escape wheel, while its rotor is engine-turned 18-karat gold, and fully decorated with hand-wrought chamfering, circular graining and brushing.
Price: 23,100 CHF, or about $23,000.
Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel
Movement: Self-winding Cal. 777Q, adorned with Côtes de Genève, numbered and signed Breguet, 55-hour power reserve. 18-karat oscillating weight, hand-engraved on a rose engine. Stop seconds. In-line Swiss lever escapement, escape wheel and lever in silicon. Silicon balance-spring, Breguet balance wheel with 4 regulating screws. 4Hz frequency. Adjusted in 6 positions.
Case: 38mm white gold with finely fluted case band. Sapphire-crystal caseback. Rounded lugs welded to the case, with screw pins securing the strap. Water-resistant to 30 meters.
Dial: Grand Feu blue enamel, with Breguet secret signature. Chapter ring with Breguet Roman numerals. Center seconds and date aperture at 3 o’clock. Open-tipped Breguet hands in rhodium-plated steel.
Strap: Dark blue alligator leather with a pin buckle in white gold.