Ruby and I recently headed over to the Ritz Carlton Kuala Lumpur for Breguet’s “Classic Tour” which made Malaysia its first stop in South East Asia. Following successful campaigns worldwide, Breguet gave a select few VIP guests a peek into its exclusive concept at the cocktail reception in Kuala Lumpur, in partnership with Sincere Fine Watches, a purveyor of Breguet in Peninsula Malaysia.
Through this concept, Breguet honours the way of living as a true gentleman. In each city, the “Classic Tour” celebrates the standards of elegance by inviting prestigious names that perpetuate their refined savoir-faire. From aesthetic to flavours, they share the same passion for excellence that fully immerse the gentleman in a full-sense pleasure.
Focusing on details of each items that he carries, the gentleman is in a continual quest for the finest details, for the true feeling. The perfect combination of a tailor-made suits, jacket or tuxedo with the most refined Breguet timepiece.
The event paid tribute to timepieces from the Classique collection, watchmaking ideals of precision, clarity and elegant lines. They capture the essence of Breguet’s original features that delight the Breguet enthusiasts. Some timepieces named “Grandes Complications” are real superlative artistry and mechanical mastery. Building a “Grande Complication” watch confronts them with a maze of technical difficulties challenging both their skill and their powers of invention.
The “Classic Tour” evening was hosted with Sincere Fine Watches which, over the last six decades, has provided connoisseurs and collectors alike refined designs that continue to fascinate and inspire. The event was also held in partnership with The Macallan – who had a cocktail bar and an expert mixologist serving bespoke cocktails, as well as Wardrobe – which exhibited their latest collection of premium men’s evening wear through their stylish and elegant sartorial designs
At the cocktail reception, a selection of some of Breguet’s finest watches were on display and available for purchase. The models composing the Classique collection are a prime example of the attributes distinguishing the brand, whose innate refinement naturally has been the choice of gentlemen in search of pure elegance since 1775. The new rose gold Classique Extra-Plate 5157 is a perfect example of timeless aesthetic and the ultimate Breguet style.
To create the timeless designs, Abraham-Louis Breguet turned to the classical rules of proportion and order. As in all precious objects, it is the sum of detail that gives a watch its particular presence, and this was exactly what the brand achieved with their contemporary Classique timepieces which capture the essence of Breguet’s original features. The unique Breguet style includes the Breguet hands, the secret signature, an individual number, guilloché dials, the Breguet numerals, special lugs and caseband fluting.
The brand also shared with us the unmistakable signature characteristics of Breguet timepieces.
Today, all Breguet watches feature the famous hollow, eccentric “moon” tip watch hands created over two centuries ago by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Designed around 1783, these sleek hands, made of gold or blued steel, showed Breguet’s flair for combining function with elegance and proved an instant success. The expression “Breguet hands” is a term in the vocabulary of watchmaking.
The Secret Signature
The success of Breguet made their watches a tempting target for counterfeiters. To counter this, Breguet came up with a measure against forgery in 1795 – a virtually invisible signature traced on the dial of watches with a dry-point pantograph. Visible under a low-angle light, the secret signature was engraved either under the figure twelve (on enamel dials) or to the either side of it (on guilloché dials). The “Secret signature” has remained a feature of most Breguet dials down to the present day.
An Individual Number
Following a practice that goes back to Breguet’s origins, every Breguet watch is given an individual number that is recorded in the Maison’s records. Early watches from the 1780s are numbered according to a special system that enables them to be dated. Later it became the custom – continued to this day – to start a new series after every 5,000 or so units. The number was always engraved on the dome (double back cover) of a pocket watch, alongside the signature (or, in the absence of a dome, on the back of the case and the movement), and frequently also appeared on the dial. On contemporary watches, the number always appears on the dial as well as on the back of the watch.
This engine-turning or mechanical engraving technique is used in watchmaking for cases and dials, offering a great variety of decorative finishes. Abraham-Louis Breguet was the first to apply it to watch dials and exploit its full potential, using several types of guillochage on a single dial to provide increased legibility for the various indicators.
Around 1786, Breguet began fitting his watches with engine-turned silver or gold dials of his own design. The brand’s famous dials are immediately recognisable and celebrated for the fineness of their patterns, reflecting the regularity of the movements within. Not only do the decorative patterns selected – clou de Paris hobnailing, pavé de Paris cobbling, sunburst, barleycorn, waves, cross weave, checkerboard, flame and many more – make the dial far easier to read, they also contribute greatly to its unique character.
Today still, Breguet craftsmen continue to use engine-turning lathes designed and built over a century ago. Working with tenth of a millimetre precision, they engrave intricate patterns reflecting their uncommon virtuosity. From start to finish, engine-turning depends essentially on the craftsman’s sharp eye and steady hand, of which the lathe is but an extension. Once the dial plate has been meticulously engine-turned by hand, it is silver coated using techniques developed over two centuries ago: powdered silver is delicately brushed on the plate with circular or linear movements, depending on the type of satin-like finish desired.
Today, the same kind of engine-turned guilloché work engraved on gold Breguet dials is also executed on delicate and brittle plates of mother-of-pearl.
In models with fired enamel dials, distinctive Arabic numerals that are legible and dainty that Breguet designed are still used today, and are commonly known by his name. Breguet numerals first appeared before the French Revolution when they were combined with small stars to mark the minutes divisions and stylised fleur-de-lys to indicate the five-minute divisions.
Although essential only to wristwatches, the lugs that link the strap to the case bear all the hallmarks of authentic Breguet styling. Screw-pins, rather than the more usual sprung bars, hold the strap between the horns, a solution that is not only aesthetically pleasing but also more secure. The lugs have to be welded onto the caseband as much for the technical reasons of rigidity and strength as for aesthetic consistency. The drilling of the hole for the winding stem requires absolute precision to ensure a watertight case.
The fluting (fine striation of the caseband of the watch case) is another of the discreet decorative details that constitute what has become known as the “Breguet style”. The fluted pattern is cold-rolled into the caseband then finished by hand on a mechanical workpieceholder. Developed by Abraham-Louis Breguet two centuries ago, it can be seen on numerous early Breguet watches and is an integral part of contemporary creations.
And here’s a special video created specifically for Breguet’s Classic Tour in Malaysia starring Malaysian MMA fighter, model and local celebrity Peter Davis.
For more info, head over to http://www.breguet.com or http://www.sincere.com.sg/malaysia
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