3057 Breguet Classique Perpetual Calendar
The dial says Breguet, but really this QP is a Daniel Roth, the first creative project he undertook after working for JLC and AP. And this ref. 3057 is indicative of truth that is not logical but seems to hold: the very start of a creative career is often where the most magic occurs. Einstein invented the theory of relativity at 26 while working in the Swiss patent office. Frederick Banting and John Macleod figured out how to remove insulin from a dog’s pancreas and made hundreds of thousands of diabetic’s lives better and longer at 29. Kurt Cobain wrote Smells Like Teen Spirit at 24. Around the same time Nirvana was taking off, Daniel Roth was in charge of his first ground-up creative project, bringing Breguet back. The watches Roth created for Breguet before his eponymous brand in ’88 are widely regarded as some of the most beautiful, finely finished, elegantly designed ‘Daniel Roths’ ever, even if not in name.
The Classique collection rivaled any 90s Patek Philippe in design sense and there isn’t higher praise. Perpetual calendars in 1980 were a niche interest and still quite uncommon, certainly nothing like as proliferated as they are today. Perpetual calendars were a last bastion of the highest order watchmaking when quartz crystals were causing chaos. Roth wisely recognized this early, and in the late 70s Breguet debuted the 3050, a wristwatch whose movement and layout were both directly taken from a pocket watch made in his studies at Le Sentier and applied to a wristwatch format. This 3057 is the exact same deal, but with a display back and finished to an insane standard. It’s often parroted in watch media that Audemars Piguet brought back high-level mechanical watchmaking in the 5548 Perpetual Calendar. However, Roth was there right alongside AP in the very earliest days of Switzerland’s resurgence and is often, even admittedly by us, overlooked. This is the start of what you’d call neo-vintage, and as we just learned some things are best right out of the gate.
Its proportions are bang-on at 36mm, with a respectably thin 8mm height. The dial is made from a plate of solid gold with a galvanized silver surface, sporting a full clous de paris guilloché. Perhaps the most beautiful aesthetic touch, though, is the handset: characteristically pomme with elongated stems. Each watch was numbered in series in the classic Breguet tradition, viewable on a plaque applied to the right hand date subdial. And the 3057’s exhibition back is a view few QPs can rival where even the fine anglage is secondary to a distinct engraving style.
Breguet’s director at the time, Francois Bodet, was quoted as saying that only 2 or 3 perpetual calendars left the maison’s doors each year, as they required about 30 distinct watchmaking professions to create a single watch. All of this history and watchmaking effort, yet still 3050 & 3057s will trade hands at or about 30K USD today. Think of it as a 3940, but more classic and half-off. Maybe we’re all just getting more entrenched and lazy as we get older. This would suggest so.
This example has a great case with light surface wear and full lug profile, no significant bashes visible. Dial equally excellent. It is said to be running well and comes from a well-regarded Singaporean retailer.