In its press notes for the Breguet Classique 7147, the Swiss watchmaker calls the watch a ‘must-have’, a term criminally abused in fashion but blessedly uncommon in watchmaking parlance. Nevertheless, it is strange to refer to some kinds of things as must-haves. Take real estate for example. No one ever calls a house a must-have even though shelter is an actual bona fide must-have.
Don’t get us wrong here because Breguet watches obviously have a powerful appeal, particularly – we would argue – in gold. On the other hand, just as one would never call the Bugatti Chiron a must-have, a watch like the Breguet Classique 7147 should not be thought of in this way. To some, the Chiron will look a dream come to roaring mechanical life but others will see a nightmare of absurdity. Indeed, part of the appeal of the car is in this very divisiveness.
Fine watchmaking has a strong divisive streak and Breguet makes some lovely examples, one of which is the Classique 7147. Proposed by the Swatch Group-owned watchmaker as a dress watch, it is certain to upend the expectations, and upset the constitutions, of some gentlemen. By tradition, a dress watch is meant to be a paragon of subtle appeal. In contemporary times, this often translates as ‘boring’, which unfortunately goes hand-in-hand with the word ‘classic’. Typically, the dress watch sits quietly on the wrist, hidden under the sleeve, a pleasure exclusively for the wearer. The Classique 7147 sure does like a bit of attention though.
The Classique 7147 is far from properly classical, what with its off-kilter small seconds subdial, its 40mm diameter and bold decorative touches. These decorations include an engine-turned hobnail motif in the center of the dial and an angled cross weave guilloche pattern on the subdial. Roman numerals and blued steel Breguet hands complete the look.
By way of comparison, look at the Breguet Classique 5140, which sports a clean and pure dial, although some variations have added more decidedly ‘Breguet’ touches (as the version above does). No, we have not made a mistake, this is not the new 7147. The similarity in the look, right down to that quirky small seconds subdial, is to be expected as the 7147 replaces the 5140, which has been around in one shape or another since at least 2008.
One of the key differences between these two references is actually more subtle though and can’t really be illustrated well. The Classique 7147 is just 6.1mm thick, making it appropriately slim for a dress (it has to fit comfortably under shirt sleeves) and distinctly thinner than the 5140 (the current Breguet catalogue lists it as 10.8mm thick). This of course is a function of the movement within, calibre 502.3SD, which is just 2.4mm thick. The Classique 7147 has an exhibition caseback through which the movement can shine, which is another change from the 5140.
- Diameter: 40mm
- Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds
- Power Reserve: 45 hours
- Movement: Self-winding calibre 502.3SD with pallet fork and balance spring in silicon
- Material: 18k rose gold and 18k white gold
- Water Resistance: 30 meters
- Strap: Leather