Among Breguet’s collections, the Classiques are proud standard -bearers for the company’s traditional values and watchmaking art. They beautifully epitomise its twohundred-year-plus heritage and the standout characteristics that are so original as to have influenced Fine Watchmaking history itself .
The new Breguet Classique 5717 Hora Mundi watch introduced at Baselworld 2011 perfectly exemplifies the spirit of this prestigious collection. It is made of precious materials: 18 -carat red gold or 950 platinum. Three versions of the dial are available, each representing one part of the world: the Americas, the European and African continents, or Asia and Oceania – six references in all. Breguet’s teams needed three years to design, develop and perfect this complication watch.
It is the first example of a mechanical timepiece with an instant-jump time-zone display. This function allows the traveller to easily display the time in two pre-selected time zones, changing instantly from one to the other simply by pressing a button, without disturbing the operation of the watch. Accurate operation during setting is ensured by a stop second system.
Changing the time zone affects not only the time, but also the date synchronised through a “tracking” calendar system - and the day/night indicator.
The new Breguet Classique 5717 Hora Mundi watch features exceptional finishes, such as its translucent lacquered dial, and so seems likely to become a favourite of travellers who value beauty. It is a timepiece that draws its legitimacy from the very history of the brand. Indeed, throughout his life, founder Abraham-Louis Breguet could not imagine his passion and watchmaking genius as being separate from the distribution of his watches across the world. While he founded his company in Paris on the Quai de l’Horloge, and at first sold his pieces only in France, Abraham-Louis Breguet had understood since before the French Revolution that he sim ply had to ensure that his creations would be enjoyed beyond the borders.
Accordingly, during the Napoleonic period and thereafter, he devoted himself to building an international sales network. To accomplish this, he devised a very personal strategy of approaching markets through a network of enlightened friends and professional salesmen.
While Breguet’s timepieces found ardent aficionados mainly in England, Spain and Russia, they also had a following in Poland, throughout the German states and principalit ies, on the Italian peninsula, in Turkey, and even as far away as the United States.
First published in Men's Passion issue #32 June-July-August 2011