5237 Breguet Chronograph in White Gold
They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I’m not so sure. Science has spent a lot of time having people rate faces or physical attributes in order to approximate just what humans find beautiful in others. Product designers of large corporations, too, will ask thousands of potential consumers to rate how attractive they find packaging. Google, Meta, and Twitter are always A/B testing different page and detail layouts to find what most draws attention. We have a pretty good idea of what constitutes objective beauty, even if it is difficult to describe precisely. No one has yet done this in watches. The closest thing we have is Mark Cho’s fantastic survey of watch size preference relative to wrist size. If we had data (someone get on this), I suspect Breguet’s 90s chronographs would come back as objectively beautiful.
This 5237 was released in the 2000s as a continuation of Roth’s 3237 (amongst Roth’s best ever work, period). The only changes were small alterations to the dial and the more major shift from 36mm to 38mm. The base may be a two-register 2310 (2320 to be pedantic) chronograph, but it is elevated to an art form through classic touches such as a dial engine-turned from solid gold, blued steel hands, straight lugs, fluted-edge case, and Roman numerals. Patek didn’t make a chronograph from the 1463 until the 5070, this was as good as chrono-only got in period. Production was not limited but equally not massive as these were quite labor-intensive. Each was numbered in series (a traditional Breguet thing) at 6 on the dial.
I’ve never known quite what to make of the 5237 relative to the 3237. I have a tendency to get a bit too caught up in what a watch means as opposed to what it is. The 3237 was one man’s vision, really, Roth giving the Lemania 2310 one of the sexiest evening dresses it’s ever worn. As someone with a slightly larger wrist, I’m quite glad this exists in both sizes, even if the 36 is more true to Roth’s vision. But the 5237 was Swatch group slightly altering the recipe, continuing that production, and effectively riding Roth’s coattails. It’s no less beautiful, but does that change things? I used to debate this heavily when one would pop up for sale ten years ago. Now, I just wish I’d bought the damn thing, because a lot of people realized this was simply an objectively beautiful watch well before I did. Cue world’s smallest violin for the fact that I still want one.
This example is lovely. Case is untouched, nothing out of place. It comes with a full set and original deployant clasp from a well-regarded Shanghai retailer.