3357 Breguet Classique Tourbillon
Swatch Group haven’t managed to fuck up every one of their brands just yet. The day a Swatch x Breguet ‘collab’ arrives will be the day I lose faith in modern mainstream watchmaking. Some things weren’t meant to be distilled. Breguet stands for watchmaking quality above all else. Even if a tourbillon has never made sense in the modern context of a wristwatch, it is Breguet’s domain. They did invent the complication. And it took a young Daniel Roth to perfect it in wristwatches.
Anyone who hasn’t heard that it was a young Daniel Roth who single-handedly resurrected Breguet under the Chaumet brothers through great designs like the 3350 has been living under a rock. But here’s something not well known, even before he embarked on that odyssey, Breguet was known for the tourbillon. To quote Roth in an interview ‘It was still a great brand, but Breguet was not very well known at the time. When people asked me where I worked, I would say Breguet, and they’d say ‘ah yes, the tourbillon.’ It was not well known that the brand was still active.’ He went on to state that restarting a brand from nothing proved a challenge, one only overcome by closely studying what Breguet had done and why. Perhaps I’m just cynical, but I get the sense that that attention to detail is starting to slip in favor of getting headlines written at most mainstream brands.
Today, if you want a watch in this same ethos, it goes by Jean Daniel Nicolas. That is the independent name under which Daniel Roth is operating today, because he rather interestingly may no longer legally use his own. The creations we see there are contemporary evolution of this spirit; with obvious Breguet parallels that work. JDN is what I feel the Breguet name deserves today. We’ve seen a few bright lights like the magnetic pivots in the ref. 7727, but on the whole the name lacks the soul and feeling of divine inspiration one absorbs staring at Breguet’s early resonance pocket watches.
Or, keeping it in the tourbillon frame, the King George III, which had the only English dial known from Breguet in 1808. Rather amusingly, Régulateur à Tourbillon is translated into English on that dial as ‘Whirling About Regulator’. Breguet feel like they’re whirling about at the moment, perhaps a bit aimless. I’d recommend revisiting Roth’s approach. With great care, observe what the man did and why. There’s too much there to see it sent to the grave for profit alone, Breguet should own resonance but gave it up to Journe. Perhaps all creativity is the domain of independents; the king is dead, long live the king. I still hope to see the Breguet name on creations as respectful and well-considered as this 3357.
This example has a great case, excellent lugs with full profile and deep engravings. That’s all of note, obviously the dial is flawless. It comes with its deployant clasp from a well-regarded Miami retailer.