Sometime during the late 1990s, when I got into watches, Breguet replica was a brand that I positioned next to Patek Philippe, A. Lange & Söhne, Vacheron Constantin, and Audemars Piguet. To me, it was clear this was a high-end brand. It seemed the pinnacle of watchmaking, with an amazing history. Today I share my experiences and thoughts on the Breguet Classique 5157.
Now, more than 20 years later, I still think of Breguet to be top-notch when it comes to watchmaking. I only pity that this manufacture has not been able to get the right amount of exposure like Audemars Piguet, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin, and A. Lange & Söhne do. Is Breguet too humble perhaps?
Breguet Classique 5157 replica with rose gold case
For a long time, my favorite Breguet watch was the Type XX chronograph model. But as I get older, I noticed I am slightly favoring the classically-styled watches a bit more. Enter the Breguet Classique. Ever since I tried it during our Breguet Manufacture visit, it has been difficult to get it out of my head.
Now, Breguet is well known for its horological inventions. The tourbillon is perhaps the best-known complication from the brand, patented by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1801. An overview of the brand’s inventions can be found here. But, in all honesty, I like my watches simple. And I don’t dare to call this blue hands fake Breguet Classique 5157 a simple watch, but I love the simplicity of just having two hands (although this one is nice too), and more importantly, no date.
This watch is far from being simple. Take the dial, for example. When I visited Breguet last year, they showed me the workshop where the dials are being worked on. We covered it here in our Breguet manufacture visit report. The room is filled with historical looking equipment, that is used to do the engine turning on Breguet dials. I gave it a try myself, but it requires a lot of training and proper eye-hand coordination. Breguet has been mastering this art of engine-turned guilloché dials since 1786, and it can be found on the Breguet Classique 5157 I have here. A beautiful hobnail pattern for the larger surface of the dial, and a brushed finished chapter ring with Roman numerals.
Breguet uses gold dials that are “silvered” after the guillochage. As you can see in the 2nd picture above, the brushed chapter ring has Breguet engraved twice (above the Breguet logo on the plaque just below the “XII”). These two Breguet engravings are hardly visible when the watch is worn on the wrist. The pictures clearly show it here, because I used a flashlight when doing the shoot. In the past, it was an attempt to fight counterfeits, using a pantograph to have this engraving on the chapter ring.
It is very interesting to see that Breguet uses an hour hand almost as long as the minute hand. The hour hand touches the chapter ring and the minute hand goes all the way to the minute track. Breguet has been using their eccentric “moon” tip hands for more than 200 years (since 1783 to be precise) and has come to know as “Breguet hands”. Amazing how so many of Breguet’s inventions made it to the vocabulary of the watch industry. These blued hands give a great contrast on the silvered gold dial, there can be no misreading of time. Simplicity often appears so easy to achieve, but when you add up all these details of this Breguet Classique 5157, you know it is rather the opposite.
Breguet Caliber 502.3
The beauty of this dress watch does not stop with the dial, hands, and coin case. No, there’s also the extra-thin self-winding movement that makes it possible for the Swiss automatic movement copy Breguet Classique 5157 to measure only 5.4mm in height. The self-winding caliber 502.3 is a feast for the eyes, with a 22-karat gold off-center rotor. This movement offers a 45-hour power reserve, an operating frequency of 21,600vph, and a flat silicon balance spring.