Within the watch space, Breguet is one of the few serial production companies that crafts a product of unique stature befitting an independent brand. Breguet watches all bear the stamp of Breguet craftsmanship, an uncommunicated, defining quality that makes their pieces instantly recognizable. The Breguet Tradition GMT reference 7067, displayed in two different variations in white and rose gold, is a characteristic representation of the Breguet philosophy to watchmaking, and fuses the movement layout of Louis Breguet with a skeletonized dial and modern proportions. The 7067 finally satisfies the collector that has always said about other watches, “I wish I could wear this piece upside-down to stare at the movement all day!”. With the 7067, you can observe its movement without sacrificing the timekeeping utility of the timepiece.
The Breguet Tradition Collection was introduced in 2005 with the reference 7027. Although upon first glance, the Tradition collection appears rather modern with its open dial and visible movement architecture, but these pieces are grounded within the historical heritage of the brand. Specifically, they take inspiration from the “souscription” pieces that Louis Breguet sold in the late 1700s. In 1797, Louis Breguet introduced the souscription model, where clients would pay a percentage of the watch’s commissioned value as a down payment to help finance the creation of the timepiece. Although these watches were made early in Breguet’s illustrious brand history, the pocket watches were absolutely stunningly finished and decorated. The Tradition Collection of modernity has mimicked the movement layout of these souscription pieces, flipped the movement to the dial side, and shrunk the dials to make the movement architecture visible. After the introduction and subsequent success of the 7027, Breguet continued to expand the model line to incorporate new pieces, including a tourbillon, power reserve, chronographs, and much more. In 2012, the Breguet Tradition GMT 7067 arrived, offering a dual time GMT function within the same open dial presentation and foundational layout. This piece is the one we are focusing on today.
The Breguet Tradition GMT reference 7067 has centered its design around the movement, positioning the key components on the dial side. The dial side of the movement is intentionally visible, and its most mesmerizing and kinetic components such as the balance and escapement have been repositioned on the dial side of the caliber. This allows the movement componentry to take center stage, without impeding legibility. The result is a stunning fusion of a Guilloche mini dial with hours and minutes, a GMT dial, and a day/ night indicator.
More typical and fully skeletonized watches have a tendency to sacrifice legibility for aesthetics, the method used here by Breguet eschews this altogether. By simply shrinking the dial down to the size of a traditional subsidiary dial, Breguet has preserved the clarity of an ordinary dial while still allowing for a view of the movement. What’s most beautiful about this piece is the tasteful fusion of “Tradition” (as evoked in the name) and contemporary appeal. This piece preserves the finishing techniques and movement layout of a pocket watch produced by Breguet over 200 years ago, yet in its present configuration, this piece feels entirely modern. The 7067 preserves many of the foundational features of all Breguet timepieces including the stick-like lugs and coin edge case flanks.
The baseplate of the movement, which serves as the backdrop for the dial side of the timepiece, has received a dark, slate-gray sandblasted finish. The pusher at 10 o’clock adjusts the GMT hand after the minutes have been set on both dials. At the center of the timepiece, the mainspring barrel is visible with a brushed circular graining applied to its surface. To its right sits the balance wheel which oscillates freely for all to see. The main time dial is affixed to the base plate with blue fired screws. Similarly the AM/PM indication is artfully executed with a blackened screw on the steel “Day” portion and a brushed steel screw on the black “Night” portion. This detail is easily missed at first glance, but gives insight into the brand’s attention to detail. The rose gold variant is warmer with its brown calf strap, providing more contrast between the rose gold case and gray dial. Conversely, the white gold reference is more subtle and elegant, flying under the radar and leaving the attention trained on the dial.
The 7067 is equipped with the caliber 507 DRF. In addition to its anthracite finish, the 507 DRF is packed with Breguet innovations and contributions to the watch space. At the heart of the movement rests the Breguet balance spring. In 1795, Breguet perfected the balance by lifting its outermost coil, creating what was known as the “Breguet Overcoil”. The overcoil resulted in increased resilience, amplitude, and accuracy within the movement componentry. Due to the superiority of Breguet’s system, the vast majority watchmaking houses adopted the overcoil system and continue to use it to this day.
Additionally, the 7067 displays one of Breguet’s most impactful inventions, the pare-chute. The pare chute, invented in 1790, became the first proper solution to the issue of shocks on watches. Breguet recognized that the pivoting balance spring staff took the bulk of the shock when a timepiece was jolted. In response, Breguet placed these pivots on springs within settings in the movement. This increased the stability of the components and provided cushion in the event of a shock. The pare-chute became the foundation of all modern shock absorption mechanisms and revolutionized the industry’s approach to the problem of movement durability and resilience.
It is clear that the 507 DRF is not only an impressive movement visually, but is equally significant in its celebration of some of Breguet’s most impactful additions to the world of horology. The 507 DRF unabashedly proclaims the heritage and fortitude of the Breguet brand. Through an analysis of these foundational facets of Breguet history, one can truly understand the “tradition” involved in this seemingly modernist interpretation of the classic wrist watch.
Versus the Competition
As has been highlighted above, the Tradition 7067’s interpretation of the open worked dial is unique to the brand. Naturally, the most logical alternatives would exist within the Tradition collection itself. The 7027 is likely the purest interpretation of the Tradition concept, with only a power reserve indication cluttering the dial. This piece sheds all excess functionality and provides the closest representation of Breguet’s original souscription pocket watches.
Outside of the world of Breguet, Cartier’s Platinum Tank Cintree WHTA0009 showcases yet another open worked timepiece with interesting execution. This piece isolates the balance at 6 o’clock and the mainspring barrel at 12, projecting the foundational elements of movement architecture and function.
Finally, the Patek Philippe 5180 is easily one of the most artistic skeletonized watches on the market. Ultra thin at a mere 6.5mm thickness, the 5180 is beautifully engraved by hand, and celebrates the mechanical wonder of the simplest time only timepiece.
Any number of collectors may take interest in the 7067. Any enthusiast who appreciates the visual pleasures of a movement (who doesn’t?) will immediately gravitate towards this piece’s unrivaled aesthetics.
Additionally, a collector of Breguet will likely harbor an intense appreciation of Breguet’s vast history of watchmaking, beginning in 1775. The 7067 is as accurate a recreation of the historical Breguet movement aesthetics and layout as one can possibly find in a modern wristwatch. These collectors likely will have larger collections and will be looking for a stand out, unique piece to round out the collection. Nonetheless, this piece will be equally significant and appreciated within beginner collections and those in the hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
In the modern era, Breguet is sometimes overlooked in popular culture, leading to the erroneous assumption that their timepieces are less impressive or impactful. On the contrary, Breguet has perhaps more historical innovation and heritage to stand behind the manufacturer than the critical majority of other brands on the market. The Tradition 7067 is a charismatic commemoration of the brand’s historical roots, linking the brand of old to the brand of today. This respect for tradition is at the core of the watchmaking industry, influencing the modern marketplace and serving as a reminder of the rich history of horology.