Few complications are as prestigious as the tourbillon. While many brands have one in their collection, there is still something special about getting it from the brand that invented it: Breguet, especially when it is not just a tourbillon, but they add something to it!
Over the years, and especially since the brand is under the care of the SWATCH Group, Breguet has honored not only the tourbillon but also the memory of its creator, Abraham-Louis Breguet, by continue to innovate. I am pretty sure that if the master himself were able to handle one of the modern watches by the brand that bears his name, he would be very pleased, especially in the case of the Breguet Tradition 7087 Minute Repeater Tourbillon.
One of the strengths of Breguet is that they can innovate within the DNA of the brand. In essence, this is very classical, but given the technical nature of all Breguet’s watches, past and present, there is room for a modern touch. With the Tradition 7087 Breguet did this by layering innovations within some typical Breguet hallmarks.
It starts with the case, round with relatively straight lugs, and a decorated sides. Next, you need to have a guilloche dial, with Roman Numerals, Breguet’s “secret” signature on it, and Breguet hands. This is present as well but in a small version. As Breguet nowadays does more often, does the actual dial of the watch only cover a small portion of the overall space. This gives the opportunity to show the insides of the watch. Breguet’s original watches always had a very clean movement design, nothing overcrowded. This is maintained in the modern watches, to the extent that you sometimes wonder how all the different parts are connected and function.
While Breguet has no problem making a flying tourbillon, they fitted one with a bridge. This gives the watch more the sentiment of the original Breguet tourbillons. Although the concept is the same, and they look alike, they are a world apart. In the spirit of their founder, Breguet continues to innovate, and therefore this watch has an escape wheel and lever in silicon and a tourbillon bridge made from titanium. That is by the way not the only part of the watch that is made from titanium, as also the main plate and the bridges are crafted from this material.
However, with the Tradition 7087, it is actually the minute repeater that gets center stage. Breguet does this by wrapping the two gongs like a monorail above the rest of the movement. They accent the dial and the tourbillon while being a vital part of the watch themselves at the same time.
At the back of the watch, you can see the complicated gears and levers needed for the minute repeater to function. With the Tradition 7087, this includes a tiny transmission chain, and all these parts you can see do their job when you activate the minute repeater. Also in this area, Breguet continued to innovate. To strike the gongs, quite a bit of energy needs to be passed from the spring barrel to the hammers, yet at a constant pace. In most minute repeaters this causes noise that interferes with the clear sound of the gongs. Breguet solved by creating a magnetic strike governor, which eliminates this problem completely.
Two things are also surprising about the Tradition 7087. Although you might not expect it, this watch is, in fact, an automatic! Breguet uses a platinum winding rotor that moves around the movement, instead of being mounted in the middle. It can wind up the watch to a generous 80-power reserve, which can be monitored at the power reserve indicator at the 12 o’clock position on the dial side. The second surprise is that this watch has, in fact, a diameter of 44mm. Quite large for anything that we would regard classical, yet the Tradition 7087 doesn’t look, or wears, this large because Breguet puts all that horological real estate to good use!