Breguet’s Reference 3797 teems with useful information, yet the display is surprisingly easy to decipher.
Slim and easy to un- code annual calendar with tourbillon by Breguet Classique Ref 3797.
ON ANY GIVEN DAY, we’re inundated with a barrage of information. Fluctuations in the stock market, new fiscal/ legal/government policies, the latest in office politics. Oh, and then there’s that thing called work, with its inherent glut of data. It’s enough to make one want to retreat to an ashram and live out an ascetic life. But in this era of information overload, all it takes is some careful planning, and the ability to sieve out non-essential info.
Mindful of the fact that its customers in all likelihood lead hectic lives, Breguet’s new reference 3797, a perpetual calendar watch with tourbillon regulator, offers a well-thought-out, intuitive display of the indications, much like how Apple’s iOS format presents the vast universe of apps in a manageable way. In so doing, Breguet ups the ante on other perpetual calendars on the market.
Housed in an 18K pink gold case measuring 41mm, Ref. 3797 packs in regular timekeeping functions (hours, minutes, seconds), calendar displays (day, date, month and leap year), plus a tourbillon carriage, all on a single dial. In the hands of a lesser manufacture, it could have turned out more complicated than a map of the Tokyo Metro superimposed with that of the London Underground. But here the displays are surprisingly easy to read, and all information can be gleaned within seconds of glancing at the watch.
To achieve this, Breguet designed a multi-layered dial, with the hours and minutes chapter ring (on a sapphire disc) hoisted clear above the other displays—retrograde date at 12 o’clock, month and leap year at 3 o’clock, and day-of-the-week at 9 o’clock. Like a flyover rising above the tangled web of expressways, the sapphire chapter ring appears to hover in mid-air, lending lightness to the whole setting. Note the attention to detail: the retrograde date hand passes under the chapter ring so as not to detract from the hours and minutes indication.
To visually balance the configuration, the dial plate gives way to a cavity at 6 o’clock, in which the openworked tourbillon carriage is set. Beating at a classical rate of 18,000 vph (2.5hz), the tourbillon and its triple-hand indicator rotates in one-minute intervals and offers watch lovers the chance to admire its elegant balletics, deftly suspended by a tapering bridge. For aesthetes, there’s also the multiple guilloche work around the dial to take in, such as engine-turned hobnail pattern at the centre, or the shimmering sunburst motif at 3 o’clock. Along with the tourbillon, they hint at Breguet’s undisputed mastery of traditional watchmaking arts.
Further proof of this virtuosity is evident through the sapphire case back, where the manufacture presents an elaborately engraved baseplate that conceals three-quarters of the movement (Calibre 558 QP2), with only the reverse of the tourbillon and some gearing visible. It’s almost as if Breguet decided it didn’t even need to show off what it could have done.
Or maybe that exquisite pleasure is reserved for the 950 platinum edition, a fully skeletonised version that exposes the watch’s extraordinarily intricate innards. Skeletonising a movement poses two major difficulties: one, structural integrity has to be maintained in spite of the minimalist framework; and two, the resultant framework has to be aesthetically appealing, which involves careful consideration of the layout of movement components. As a marque at the top of its game, Breguet naturally made this seem effortless, endowing the movement bridges with lace-like engravings that give it even more of an ethereal sensibility. Of course this also adds a level of visual complexity that might prove too much for some. In which case, the pink gold version makes a better option.
Top: Breguet Classique Ref: 3797 in pink gold.