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Breguet - Breguet's Back

Breguet Breguet's Back

To those who deem Breguet have been making themselves scarce of late : have patience

Walking along the vast corridors of the Breguet manufacture in l'Orient, Vallée de Joux, one cannot but reminisce. How powerful and glaring a brand this is. How wide its skills are. How incredibly high its level of quality and finishings. Reminisce because this all feels a little distant, pre-pandemic distant. Skills and quality are still there. The glare, not so much.

Manufacture and History

One of two storage spaces for Breguet's press-tools © Worldtempus/David Chokron

But the times are changing, all the time. And there's a renewed energy here. New products are around the corner. The brand's new CEO, Lionel a Marca, won't go into detail. He'd rather smile an enigmatic smile, because he knows what's under the hood and in the pipeline. He knows when it's all going to start showing up again. In the flesh, in the metal, in the news sections, new things. Oddly enough he's able to reveal nothing yet say a lot. 

Manufacture and History

Inside the engine-turning workshop : the cams that drive the engraved pattern © Worldtempus/David Chokron

He joined Breguet at the end of 2019 and got the keys to the truck (on fine truck, that is) in August of 2021. He's still working a bit with Blancpain, where he made the most part of his career. He's also helping at Harry Winston's. And since he can't possibly be everywhere at once, he'll soon be one hundred percent dedicated to Breguet, whose future he's already forging. For the man is a smith, a watch smith, a trained and seasoned watchmaker. He went from assembling workshop to prototyping workshop to Frederic Piguet, which was later to be renamed Blancpain Manufacture. 

He's the kind of man who knows what cannot be done, what can, what must, how much time it takes to do it and how much resources that requires. In a group (the Swatch Group) that is industrial at its core, one that never skimped on industrial means, it makes total sense to choose a man who knows how manufacturing works. It also makes sense to choose a man who has a vision for the brand. And that vision is wholesomely based on product. Not Instagram, not influencers, not brand ambassadors, not red carpets, not B- or C-list actors. Watches.

Manufacture and History

Inside the engine-turning workshop : rose engines © Worldtempus/David Chokron

Breguet has a lot going on for itself. Let's skip the obvious, History, stories, heritage, design... because the true difference and value of a brand lies within unseen details. It's hard not to be amazed at the number of press-tools present in the tool storage area. These small mechanical tools, designed to cut out components that could otherwise be machined, cost a small fortune and require huge outputs to make sense financially. And Breguet doesn't do huge. That's more not skimping for you. It's even harder not to be amazed when mainplates that have been machined (by very good machines that is) are then stamped to reach a level of accuracy that makes you think Breguet likes to give new meaning to quality.

Manufacture and History

The Breguet Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597 © Worldtempus/David Chokron

More amazement at the number of rose-engines in the workshop where they're used to engrave patterns onto dials, cases and rotors. At the number of work stations in the engraving workshop, where more patterns and sophisticated decors are applied onto movements and dials. At the sheer size of the beveling workshop, where the square edges of movement components are turned into perfectly polished slopes. At the sheer size of the complications workshop where they're capable of basically everything watchmaking has to offer. At the trade secrets housed and honed behind those large windows, which include very high frequency movements (10 Hz), long power reserves, double silicon hairsprings, magnetic end-stones, rotating mainplates, minute repeaters, hour strikers, retrograde display, sapphire bridges, peripheral rotors, extra slim calibers (2.4 mm for an automatic, 3 mm for an automatic tourbillon), worldtimers able to switch display on demand. After reading such a menu, one cannot but be hungry, ask for more of everything and be very impatient that Breguet bring out the goods again.

Manufacture and History

Inside the engine-turning workshop : dials for the Classique 7137 © Worldtempus/David Chokron

 

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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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