Manufacture Breguet’s Tradition collection is the gift that keeps on giving. It has graced us with its modern aesthetics and high complications since 2005. The family of open-worked wristwatches has expanded to glowing acclaim with the Quantième Rétrograde 7597, donning a new retrograde date function. In less than two years, the 7597 model has welcomed a new color variation in regal blue contrasting with its emblematic movement in anthracite.
As architecturally imposing as it is visually enticing, the 7597 carries the torch to embody Abraham-Louis Breguet’s design codes from over two centuries ago. The timepiece is a mechanical reinterpretation of the souscription (“subscription” in French) and tact watches. In those days, the subscription watch would demand a 25% down payment to guarantee its production. In the 1790s, it was a novel business move to widen the company’s clientele with a more affordable series of timepieces.
Retrograde date complication
But of course, the Tradition Quantième Rétrograde is as much about its namesake complication as it is about storied heritage. The 7597 model features a large retrograde date that spans 180 degrees across the bottom of the dial. This semi-circular date scale is blue with contrasting white print to enhance visibility. The date hand in blued steel has an elegant curve so it can avoid hitting the various wheels when sweeping across them. The user can set the date with the pusher at 10 o’clock by unscrewing and pressing it successively to reach the desired date.
When it comes to the rest of the design, it is classic Breguet. A small, matching blue dial sits at 12 o’clock with a Clous de Paris hand-guilloché motif. The hour track features a radial satin finish and traditional Roman numerals. As you’d expect, Breguet’s signature “pomme” hands indicate the hours and minutes.
Modern construction of an old movement
Below the dial is the exposed 505Q caliber. From the layout of the bridges, lever escapement, and barrel to the size of the balance and the wheels, it’s unmistakably an inverted souscription movement. With the same pleasing symmetrical structure, the modern-day construction is now a self-winding movement with 269 parts. It uses silicon, a relatively new material, for the horns and balance spring to reduce wear, corrosion, and magnetic impact. On the other hand, it still carries Breguet’s very own 1790 invention, the pare-chute system for shock absorption.
Visible through the sapphire case back is a sizable rotor. Its shape takes after the one in the perpétuelle watch that Abraham-Louis Breguet created in 1780. The Tradition Quantième Rétrograde oscillates at a frequency of 3Hz and has a 50-hour power reserve. Finishing across the board is suitably impeccable, as one would expect of Breguet.
The regal monochrome style
All this magic is encased in an elegant 40mm white gold case, which measures 12.10mm in height. It looks and feels wonderfully compact on the wrist. The regal blue monochrome color scheme offers a very different feel to its full white gold predecessor, which we have reviewed with a hands-on report here. The new Tradition 7597 is available with a midnight blue alligator strap secured by a white gold pin buckle.
There is no question about how ingenious the souscription watch was, both mechanically and entrepreneurially. The original concept was about offering refined yet minimalist timepieces to a broader audience. The Tradition collection today, however, is and looks anything but minimal. Breguet’s modern reinterpretations demand high-horology levels of appreciation and for good reason. While I am a big fan of that, I cannot help but find the Quantième Rétrograde’s 31-day scale and pusher adjustment somewhat outdated. Nevertheless, there are innumerable details of the 7597 that I can fall for, and I still love how Breguet has turned the whole concept on its head.
As always, let us know what you think of this watch in the comments!
Tradition Quantième Rétrograde in Regal Monochrome
Off-centred, blue, and made of gold, hand-engraved on a rose engine
40mm diameter, 12.10mm height
505Q self-winding calibre, 269 components, Breguet type balance-spring in silicon, 3 Hz, 50-hour power reserve
3 bar (30m)
Midnight-blue alligator leather
Hours, minutes, retrograde date