Continuing a recent streak of unusual designs that depart from its traditional formality, Breguet is marking the Chinese Lunar New Year with the Classique “Dragon” ref. 7145BR. Unlike last year’s “Rabbit” edition that was a whimsical ladies’ watch, this year’s Chinese zodiac edition is an ultra-thin men’s watch with a surprisingly vivid and figurative enamel dial in two shades of red.
A dragon-themed watch is not unexpected, and Breguet joins brands like Vacheron Constantin and Blancpain in launching such watches for the Lunar New Year. The watch itself, however, is a radical departure from the usual Breguet style in both colour and execution. Even though there are enough elements on the dial to mark it out as a Breguet, the aesthetic is more elaborate than the average Breguet, which tends towards classical restraint.
Even though it is different, I like this approach because it offers something new in terms of aesthetics. That said, the engraved dragon appliqué isn’t exactly right in terms of design. The creature is too stout and lacks the slender proportions of the dragon as portrayed in Classical Chinese art. The overall aesthetic would have been much improved with a restyled dragon.
The execution is in the high quality expected of Breguet, so the dragon is solid gold and the dial is grand feu enamel. As a result, the price is US$77,800, significantly greater than the standard Classique 5157, but within the ballpark for such metiers d’art watches.
In striking red enamel
Unusual in both colour and style, the dial is grand feu enamel with gold elements, instead of the sedate engine-turned silver that is a Breguet signature.
The enamel is two tone – a dark burgundy base with a brighter red scale for the chapter ring bearing the hours. All of the markings on the dial, including the Roman numerals and clouds, are in gold-powder print, with the exception of the brand name, which is somewhat incongruous in white print.
The centrepiece of the dial, however, is the dragon chasing a pearl. Made of solid gold and engraved by hand, the dragon is an appliqué mounted on the enamel dial, with the pearl appropriately executed in white mother of pearl and inlaid into the enamel at four o’clock.
The Classique “Dragon” is actually slightly larger than the regular production ref. 5157 due to the complexity of the dial. The 18k rose gold case is 40 mm wide and 9.5 mm high, making it 2 mm larger and 4.1 mm thicker than the current Classique 5157 models. It retains the classic Breguet design with a trademark fluted case band and narrow lugs.
The movement is unchanged and it is the cal. 502.3, an ultra-thin automatic with a novel off-centre rotor. Originally a Frederic Piguet movement, it is now made in-house by Breguet and enjoyed several upgrades, most notably with silicon balance spring and pallet lever.
Key facts and price
Breguet Classique Dragon
Ref. 7145BR/25/9WU 05
Diameter: 40 mm
Height: 6.9 mm
Material: 18k rose gold
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Cal. 502.3
Functions: Hours, and minutes
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 45 hours
Strap: Alligator strap with pin buckle
Limited edition: Eight pieces
Availability: At Breguet boutiques and retailers
Price: US$77,800, or 113,900 Singapore dollars
For more information, visit Breguet.com.
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