The Reason

Breguet launched its Tradition collection in 2005 with the 7027 model, the first timepiece to show the mechanisms of the movement on top of the baseplate in the original Breguet style following the design of the early 19th century “subscription watches”. The Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097 continues the theme. The “subscription watches”, were sold by a down payment of a quarter of the price on order and the balance on delivery.

(Launched in 2015) 

Functions: offset minutes & hours with retrograde seconds at 10 o’clock.

Winding automatic Power reserve 50 hours Calibre 505 SR1 Jewels 38 Frequency 3Hz Escapement Swiss straight-line lever / Balance-spring silicon (3 piece) Breguet free-sprung overcoil Oscillating weight 18 Carat gold Case metal red gold Sapphire caseback and bezel Diameter 40mm Case thickness 11.8mm Water-resistant 30m

Each Breguet ‘Tradition’ watch has a unique serial number which is found both on the dial and case back, then recorded in the company archives.

The case back is pushed onto the centre using a case press and the sapphire glass is also a friction fit pushed into the case back, sealed by a nylon seal to guarantee water resistance.

Inclined view of the movement once its removed from the case showing the overall volume and proportions of the construction remaining consistent with the early Breguet pocket watches.

The dial is made in 18 carat gold, the guilloché decoration executed on rose cutting engines operated by hand. The dial below was photographed before the serial number was added. The serial numbers are printed after the dials are made and once the dial is associated with the case, that is already engraved.

Breguet hands, minute, hour and retrograde seconds. Made in hardened and tempered steel, polished then thermically blued.

An exploded view of the parachute shock protection for the balance staff upper pivot, balance and escapement plus balance hack/stop piece.

The surfaces are decorated by hand and the final watch assembled and adjusted by hand.

The lower silver coloured wheel traverses the main-plate, it meshes with the setting gears on the underside and adjusts the hands.

An exploded view of the automatic mechanism.

The movement with the rotor removed.

The 18 carat automatic rotor weight axel pivots in a ceramic bearing. The engraving of the Breguet name is executed by hand and the gold polished by hand. It is extremely delicate hence during the assembly a working/dummy rotor is used.

Once the movement is complete the dummy rotor is exchanged with the definitive gold version shown below. The gold anchor form is gold, the arm made from steel then hardened, angled and straight grained before assembly.

The assembled movement with the working/dummy rotor.

The dial, hour wheel and balance assembly removed. The close up shows the escapement held by the pallet bridge which also holds in place the balance hack/stop.

The balance wheel and cock are screwed onto the mainplate, located by two steady pins. The form of the balance cock follows the original Breguet Subscription style complete with the parachute shock protection. The large central screw allows when loosened, for the beat to be adjusted, altering the position of the balance in relation to the pallets/Swiss lever.

The balance wheel is made from Glucydur and rhodium plated with a 3 piece silicon Breguet over coil. The balance design is free-sprung (no index for regulation of the length of the balance spring, all regulation is made via the timing screws on the balance wheel). Conventional balance spring over-coils are made by bending the spring vertically above the main coil and re-shaping the terminal curve. Silicon can not be bent in the same way, so the two levels of the spring are joined via an ‘H’ shaped plate linking the two together.

The pallet/Swiss lever bridge removed showing the lever and the hack which when the winding in crown is pulled into setting position pushes on the outside of the balance wheel stopping the balance from oscillating.

Conventionaly when a wheel is held in place by a component which is supported on one side it is called a ‘cock’, when held on both sides, it is a ‘bridge’. Early English, German and American pocket watch movements had one large 3/4 plate covering the barrel and gear train. Bar movements with multiple bridges and cocks were associated to French design and later Swiss.

The barrel bridge removed, which also acts as the support for the dial and holds the off-set retrograde seconds pinion upon which the seconds hand is pushed on with a friction fit.

The barrel bridge, still with minute wheel in place.

The seconds retrograde system.

An exploded view of the seconds retrograde system.

Drag your cursor across below image to see the cam operate the rack system for the retrograde seconds hand.

The principle operating lever/rack.

The operating lever/rack spring.

The assembled automatic block with a ceramic jewel in the centre (which does not requiring lubrication). The rotor weight turns through 360 degrees and winds in one direction. The original pocket watches with this design were limited to less than 180 degrees and also wound in one direction. They were not efficient but were the first of their kind and the automatic wristwatch would not be seen for another century.

The automatic block removed, revealing the barrel ratchet wheel.

Recto-verso of the automatic block.

The automatic block opened.

The setting/winding bridge removed.

Recto-verso of the setting/winding bridge. The gears on the underside of the bridge are for manually winding the mainspring, those on the main-plate are for adjusting the hands.

The ratchet wheel and its click allowing the mainspring to be wound in one direction, locking in the apposing against the ratchet wheel and main-plate pin..

Recto-verso of the main-plate completely dismantled.


Second in the series of deconstructions of Breguet time pieces. Very different from the Classique 5177 but equally part of the Breguet family design. Linking more strongly with the original Breguet Subscription watches from the early 19th century. Combining the design elements from the original bridges, wheels, levers and shock protection. The overall finish combines the early peened techniques on the bridge surfaces with modern plating techniques and materials. The animation with the balance and retrograde seconds are simple but hypnotic to watch. As with the first, a congruent and well thought through piece of horology.

Specialised containers

The spring loaded container used for storing and transporting the rotor prior to it being added to the finished movement.

The protective container for transporting the balance wheel assembly.

Dial and hands.

A selection of the tools used to assemble the calibre. 

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