An amazing iteration of a beautiful watch.
Introduced in 2005, the Breguet Tradition featured an inverted movement that revealed most of the movement on the dial. It is a modern concept inspired by the 19th century: the movement is inspired by the souscription pocket watch created by Abraham-Louis Breguet.
Since its launch, Tradition has grown into a full-fledged collection, from time-only models to top-of-the-line tourbillons with fuse and chain. The Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597 is the simplest yet most striking, refreshed with an attractive blue dial.
I’ve always found Tradition appealing, especially the earlier models with smaller case sizes, which tended to fit better with traditional color palettes like gold or “pink”. Newer models are more mechanically sophisticated, but they have larger cases and mostly modern grays and blacks, so there’s no retro elegance.
But the latest Quantième Rétrograde is one of the best looking traditional models in the current catalog. It’s mechanically identical to the first introduced in 2020, but now features a higher-contrast two-tone dial, giving it a stronger personality and easily distinguishing it from the more classic legacy models.
The blue-grey finish isn’t new, as it’s been used before on the boutique edition Tradition 7097, a simpler watch without a date. But the date is what makes Quantième Rétrograde special. While date displays often get in the way of good design, retrograde dates contribute to the aesthetics here. The elongated date scale is an elegant detail that gives balance to the dial.
The downside of the date indicator is the pusher at 10 o’clock to adjust the date. Relative to the rest of the watch, it’s not elegant, and I hope Breguet finds a better solution.
While the Quantième Rétrograde isn’t particularly affordable in an absolute sense, it offers good value. The reversed movement and retrograde date mean it’s a unique proposition at this price point. Breguet’s consistent quality and unique movement structure endow it with many inherent qualities. It’s one of the few attractive watches that doesn’t have a long waiting list, something that’s on the market today.
loyal to tradition
The Tradition is modeled after the famous souscription pocket watch of the late 18th century. They were novel in structure, but also in concept: fake Breguet sold them on a “subscription” basis, so buyers had to pay first and then receive them some time later.
The layout of the Tradition movement is similar to the souscription pocket watch movement, but it has been inverted so that the time is displayed on the same face as the balance wheel. While paying homage to tradition, it manages to be creative and contemporary – no pun intended.
The traditional aspect of the watch continues with its decorative detail, the dial. It is a solid gold disc and the engine turns in the traditional way – using a manually operated linear engine – to create a guilloche finish. A modern touch follows: the dial is then electroplated, giving it a dark blue metallic finish.
But the details of the dial are more than just the knurled guilloche. It has several layers of detail that give it the typically sophisticated, expensive look of Breguet. The same goes for the date scale, which is brushed at the top and beveled on its sides, while there are dome pins at the top to separate the date numerals.
While the front is attractive, the back is more austere, as expected of an upside-down construction – although it’s still done to the same standard.
The highlight is the axe rotor, which is modeled after the hammer-winding mechanism found in Breguet’s perpetuelle watches, one of the first self-winding timepieces ever built. But the rotor is completely modern in function, turning 360 degrees to effectively wind the mainspring.
Breguet Tradition Quantième Retrograde 7597
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Carl. 505Q
Functions: hours, minutes, retrograde date
Winding: automatic winding
Frequency: 21,600 beats per hour (3 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours
Strap: Blue alligator leather pin buckle