Real Masterpieces!BASELWORLD 2014: The Classique Tourbillon Quantième Perpétuel 3797 and 3795
Breguet watches convey the passage of time in the most considerate way. It is thus quite natural for the company to apply its expertise to extend the usual hours, minutes and seconds of the day to the days themselves, and to the dates, months and years. Since its beginnings, Breguet has produced a number of perpetual calendar models, each as complex as it is fascinating.
Today as in the past, the manufacturer’s code means that it can never be satisfied with what already exists and decrees that it must modernise in technique and design. Although the Classique collection already includes several perpetual calendar models, Breguet’s watchmakers set about creating a new version, the reference 3797. In it, they have paid particular attention to the styling for a more intuitive display of the indications without compromising the charm of the watch. The amount of information displayed on the dial can be confusing, so Breguet has added a third dimension. By lifting the hours and minutes chapter to the foreground, the timepiece draws attention to the essential information. A further glance takes in all the other indications. The reference 3797 does this with an offset sapphire disc. The opaque chapter ring with its metallic Roman numerals reveals the time instantly with the aid of the Breguet open-tipped hands in blued steel. Beneath the disc, an engine-turned hobnail pattern decorates the dial, overarched by the semi-circular scale of the retrograde dates.
The one-minute tourbillon at 6 o'clock nicely complements the chapter ring. This complication proved particularly difficult to construct because it is mounted on a slight dome. Despite the curve, its bridge is delicately chamfered and surmounted by a triple hand for the seconds. The subdial for the days at 9 o'clock is engine turned in waves. In the movement, a snail cam makes the days hand jump instantaneously. At 3 o'clock a blued steel hand points to the months on a dial engine-turned in a shimmering sunburst pattern. At its centre a blue sun shows the leap years.
At the back of the watch, a sapphire-crystal glass reveals the movement and the way the baseplate has been designed to throw the maximum light onto the tourbillon. Once again, the talents and experience of Breguet’s craftsmen and women were applied to achieve these remarkable decorations by hand. The engravings thus give life to a sumptuous trellis that seems to jump out of the movement, while the tourbillon’s ballet sets the tempo.
Even though the reference 3797 can already be considered as a masterpiece, Breguet’s watchmakers chose rather to compound the difficulties by making an even more spectacular version: the reference 3795. The dial vanishes to make room for a skeleton version revealing all the sophistication of the movement’s construction. The Classique 3795 is authentic mechanical haute couture with its lace-like engravings on the bridges, a well-rehearsed display of Breguet’s delicate workmanship and experience.
Apart from their achievements in technique and design, the Classique Tourbillon Quantième Perpétuel 3797 and 3795 have all the identifying attributes of a Breguet timepiece. The cases, in rose gold or in platinum, are finely fluted around their sides and the lugs are welded on. The engine-turned patterns, the unique number, hands in blued steel and the secret signature complete the features that identify a Breguet watch.