The word “timeless” sounds quite like a cliché and yet, when used to describe this Breguet Classique 5177, it takes on a whole new meaning which materializes in the piece. This watch is amazingly timeless and elegantly immune to fashion trends; those fluctuating diktats that render objects attractive for a while and obsolete afterwards. Breguet – whose CEO is today Marc A. Hayek – was the late Nicolas G. Hayek’s cherished project. Indeed, he established the office from where he managed the whole group on the brand’s premises near the Lac de Joux. With this “Classique”, Breguet reiterates that it is not by chance that it has become one of the leading brands of the Swatch Group since its acquisition in 1999.
Unrelated to William Tell
The blue steel hands – hours, minutes and central seconds – provide excellent readability as they stand out on the silvery-gold back of the dial and brush the Roman numerals of the indexes.
They also features Breguet’s signature tip with the hollowed-out apple. The design provokes a lyrical upsurge in one’s patriotism, which makes us want to see William Tell’s arrow pierce the apple. But there’s nothing to look into here. The design saw light in the late 18th century in Abraham-Louis Breguet’s Parisian workshop. The idea came from the watchmaker’s will to skeletonize his watches – case, hands and dial – and is unfortunately unrelated to the myths concerning the founder of Central Switzerland. In any case, the design’s pure French elegance seduced customers and rapidly pervaded the whole watchmaking sector to the point that it now even features on Breguet’s logo.
The 38-mm round case, fluted middle and round attaches evoke a tradition of good quality that explains why the brand seduced several owners – both real and imaginary – from Queen Victoria to Phileas Fogg on his journey around the world. The dial is also proof of unique craftsmanship. This applies both to the version that features a hand guilloché dial with its cross weave or “Clou de Paris” motifs and to the one that sports Grand Feu enamel, which is permanently resistant to any shock after having been heated to 900 degrees. The date aperture at 3 o’clock shows the pink gold crown, which is made of the same material as the rest of the case.
Guilloché art and silicon
Through transparent glass, the watch’s back reveals the successful blend of classicism and technicality. The self-winding mechanical caliber 777Q supports a hand-guilloche gold oscillating mass. When it swings to each of its owner’s movements, it reveals an escapement with a silicon lever and a wheel, a feat the brand owes to its master of contemporary technologies. They provide the watch with exceptional regularity and precision.