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Breguet - The Breguet Classic Tour

Breguet The Breguet Classic Tour

Breguet gets more active and targets younger customers with its Classic Tour.

Breguet’s efforts to draw in a younger customer base have been noticeable since late last year. There has always been a special kind of veneration for the jewel in the Swatch Group’s crown, which no doubt comes from the special regard in which Nicolas G. Hayek held Breguet. Any change of direction or strategy, however slight it may be, was therefore never going to be easy. So how does Breguet’s effort, the Classic Tour, shape up?

The Breguet Classic Tour has already been held in a number of cities around the world and introduces customers and friends of the brand to independent artisans producing luxury goods that fit perfectly within the brand’s environment. On a recent trip to Paris I discovered the driving gloves and shoes designed by Christophe Fenwick (coincidentally the grandson of Louis-Charles Breguet, the aviation pioneer who was the great-great grandson of Abraham-Louis Breguet), and the Maison Tamboite, which produces bespoke bicycles. Unlike the large watch factories in the Vallée de Joux, these artisans work in tiny workshops hidden away in the lesser-known areas of Paris. Yet the similarities between the worlds can be surprising, with the craftsman who makes the bikes at Maison Tamboite by hand using a jewellery saw to “skeletonize” certain components, a welding torch to flame blue certain steel components and a mirror-polishing technique for all steel parts in a time-consuming job that takes over three months to produce one bicycle.

The Breguet Classic Tour

Maison Tamboite produces hand-made bespoke bicycles. © WorldTempus / Paul O'Neil

The Paris tour is the most complete of all, since you can also have lunch in the Maison Breguet, on the rue Bréguet*, visit Breguet’s home, pay tribute to the master craftsman at his grave in the Père Lachaise Cemetery and round the trip off with a visit to the Breguet museum and archives above the Breguet boutique on Place Vendôme. Nevertheless, other cities have found equally original artisans worthy of attention that fit so well with the philosophy of the brand. Since the Breguet Classic Tour was launched in London late last year, shoes and leather goods have been a common element in a number of cities, because of their obvious connections with Breguet watches (which, with the exception of the Type XX – XX1 – XXII Ref. 3810, all have leather straps). But the organisers in each city have also gone to great lengths to bring out the best local artisans, from distillers in London to a perfumier in Madrid.

The Breguet Classic Tour

A visit to the Breguet museum and archives © WorldTempus / Paul O'Neil

The Breguet Classic Tour can be hailed as a success. Not only has the brand grasped the fact that millennials are increasingly looking for experiences and authenticity just like that on offer from Breguet, the very fact that is organizing such events adds a new level of openness to the traditional brand that is much appreciated. 

*) Having noticed the accent in Bréguet on the street signed, I asked Emmanuel Breguet why this was so. As a direct descendant of Abraham-Louis, he insists of the “Breguet” spelling without an accent, regretting the local authority’s decision not to respect this. The mistake comes from the tendency of those in France to pronounce the name as if it had an acute accent with an “eh” sound, rather than the “uh” sound used by the Swiss. 

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Breguet’s archives, kept in Switzerland and in Paris, record the developments that have sustained Breguet watchmaking for more than two centuries. The firm is committed to remaining ahead of its time with a flow of inventions and improvements.

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