Breguet just announced a new version of one of its most traditional and recognizable dress watches, the Classique Calendrier 7337. Available in 18k white or rose gold and featuring slight aesthetic tweaks from the last time Breguet reworked the reference, in 2020, the overall appearance and technical specifications of the new model remain consistent with the model’s long-running history
The Breguet Classique 7337 has had a long life at Breguet. You can trace a direct lineage of the design all the way back to the early nineteenth century, when Abraham-Louis Breguet first started experimenting with off-centered displays to indicate the various complications on his top-of-the-line pocket watches. One reference in particular, No. 3833, a quarter-repeating pocket watch that was sold to a client named M. Thomas Hawley on May 12, 1823, and can be currently seen at the Breguet Museum in Paris, is considered the originator of the specific dial layout found on the current 7337 family.
In the modern era, the 7337 was officially reborn in the late 2000s, under the aegis of the late Swatch Group co-founder Nicolas G. Hayek, who served as Breguet CEO from 2001 until his death in 2010 and played a pivotal role in expanding the awareness of Breguet’s one-of-a-kind history. But the off-kilter dial architecture of the 7337 actually has an even earlier modern predecessor, dating back to a smaller-diameter model known as the Classique 3337, created during Daniel Roth’s tenure at Breguet in the 1980s.
The two new 7337 models don’t go out of their way to rewrite history, but they do contain a number of modest design updates that result in a sharper, more contemporary appearance. If you compare the 2020 release to those featured in today’s announcement, it’s easy to see that the date and day apertures have been given a stronger rectilinear cut-out that is bolder and more legible. The off-center time display – containing the hours, minutes, and small seconds – has been adjusted, featuring new positions for the Breguet wordmark and number (every Breguet watch is signed with its own individual reference number). The small seconds display has also been significantly simplified, now placed directly on the clous de Paris hobnail guilloché-decorated surface of the center dial and consisting only of a straightforward 60-second track with Arabic numerals marking every 15 seconds.
Outside a light rejiggering of the dial format, the new Breguet Classique 7337 is largely identical to its most recent predecessor. The outer dial area utilizes a barleycorn guilloché decoration, and the moonphase display remains in the traditional 12 o’clock position on the dial. The moon is crafted from hand-hammered gold, the clouds are sandblasted for contrasting texture, and the surrounding blue sky is coated in lacquer that glitters like starlight. Breguet calls on the self-winding caliber 502.3 QSE1 inside the Classique 7337, an ultra-thin movement that can be found in previous 7337 examples. Just 2.4mm in height, the slim caliber 502.3 QSE1 comes equipped with all the technical trappings you’d expect from a contemporary Breguet movement, including an off-center oscillating weight made of solid white gold, a silicon balance spring, and a unique escapement design utilizing an inverted straight-line pallet lever with silicon horns. All the action is visible through a sapphire crystal exhibition caseback, revealing rhodium-plated bridges, delicate chamfers, and traditional Geneva stripes. The case, of course, is quintessential Breguet, measuring a lithe 39mm × 9.95mm and equipped with the expected baroque flourishes of the fluted caseband and welded lugs with screwed spring bars. Available in 18K white gold or rose gold with a silver-tone dial, the latest Breguet 7337 has a list price of $43,000 in both metals.
We don’t talk about Breguet enough.
Sure, the newness of the Breguet Classique 7337 mostly surrounds a dial refresh, but I also think it’s fair to characterize the new Classique as one of the more charismatic and thoughtful dress watches released so far this year. Very few watchmakers are focusing on the formal category these days, but it’s an arena that Breguet has always specialized in.
It’s also hard not to be impressed by the total horological package that the Breguet Classique 7337 represents. The self-winding caliber 502.3 QSE1 isn’t a brand-new release whatsoever (in fact its architecture actually dates back to the 1970s), but its specifications put it nearly in a class of its own when compared to precious metal dress watches from other makers. Seriously, just take a look around – it’s both thinner and more advanced than the movements used in comparable watches, such as the caliber L086.1 inside the current A. Lange & Söhne Saxonia Automatic and the caliber 2450 Q6/3 inside the Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Self-Winding. The caliber 30-255 inside the new-gen Patek Philippe Calatrava ref. 6119 is mighty impressive, but it’s hand-wound, which makes a comparison to Breguet’s caliber 502.3 QSE1 like apples and oranges.
In fact, I wouldn’t hesitate to describe the BREGUET Classique 7337 as an endangered species. It feels like complicated precious-metal dress watches with high-grade, fully specced-out movements are harder to find right now than at any point in the past 30 years. Although I’ll admit I find the minuteness of total changes between the 2020 and 2022 iterations of the Classique 7337 to be a bit silly, I’m still happy to see Breguet experiment and iterate on the 7337 formula as often as it deems appropriate.