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Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel


Breguet, the Breguet Manufacture and the House of Breguet inhabit a world of watches and watchmaking that seems to appear in parallel with that of Omega, Seiko Tokyo, Lemania, IWC, Jaquet Droz, Jaeger-LeCoultre and indeed, the Swatch Group. Breguet were able to manage the launch of the Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel men’s self-winding automatic dress watch without even making an appearance at Baselworld. 


Unlike those other names of the watchmaking world, Breguet news spreads far and wide as only Breguet news can, with share after share of every titbit of information among industry insiders and worldwide bloggers like Rob Nudds, a gold mine of information, as much as the public in a hushed, reverential whisper. The Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu with Blue Enamel Dial, in white gold, is as one would imagine, about as far from the average Omega as it is possible to be, and everything a Breguet should be. 


There is the fluted white gold case, extremely fine hands, grand feu enamel to the dial, suitably antique script and trademark straight strap lugs. Baselworld or no Baselworld, as long as a Breguet exists in this form, everything is as it should be with the world. Perhaps it’s time to take a closer look around and inside the case, and discover if time has stood still for Breguet, or whether Breguet has moved with time itself. 


The heart of the Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel is of course, the Grand Feu blue enamel dial. Here the term Grand Feu refers to the time worn process by which the enamel is applied, using a great deal of heat, to the watch face dial itself, creating the typical Grand Feu deep luster. The application of the level of heat required for the Grand Feu enamel process used for dial in the Breguet manufacture of the Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel dial self-winding men’s automatic from Breguet is as high as it ever was. Abraham-Louis Breguet may have known the Grand Feu Enamel techniques in Paris, perhaps even the technique required for a Grand Feu enamel dial, but in the modern era, the Breguet 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel is the first Breguet 5177 to wear this lustrous blue enamel watch dial decoration. 


They key to the entire Grand Feu Enamel Process, a least insofar as it relates to the blue pigment and watch dial application, is the precise length of time for which the heat must be applied. Apparently, so the story goes, the only way to measure this time accurately is to recount the names of the months of the year in English in reverse order: December, November, October, September, August, July, June, April, March, February, January, and then, the words December and November once again followed by a shout aloud of “Blue Grand Feu”. Only using this precise system every time, and each of these words in this precise order will the blue grand feu enamel dial like that used on the Breguet Classique Grand Feu blue dial be formed correctly. This was the information that was contained in the share, but it has never been confirmed, at least not on any public website or channel or blog like that of Rob Nudds or by an expert or technical wizard such as Roger W. Smith, who appears content to quote Breguet himself on occasion. 


Only time will tell, but in the meantime, rest assured that the result achieved by the modern Breguet Manufacture with its application of the Grand Feu Blue Enamel o their Breguet Classique 5177 suggest that they are either repeating all the months of the year in English in reverse order, “December, November, October, September, August, July, June, April, March, February, January”, and then, the words December and November once again followed by a shout aloud of ‘Blue Grand Feu’”, or are using another equally satisfactory system. 


While the Grand Feu Blue enamel decoration to the Breguet Classique 5177, complete with ‘secret’ signature near the 6 o’clock position, is the aesthetic heart of the watch, and certainly one which would have pleased Abraham-Louis Breguet no doubt, it is the combination of this beautiful display of craft with the other elements of the watch that really make it shine and have prompted all those users of twitter and Facebook to hit the ‘share’ button. The white gold case is exquisitely executed, the classical, vertical fluting to the white gold case sides reminiscent of an earlier time, and a time of pocket watch as well as clock and timepiece manufacture, while inside, the self-winding mechanical movement is another work of art. The Caliber (caliber to some) 777Q movement, perhaps with a little nod to the watchmaking industry’s Tokyo, Japan based friends in the form of Omega and Seiko, relentless innovators with an eye on tradition, so the cal.777Q movement of the Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel fuses heritage, in the form of that very Grand Feu blue enamel process, a process truly from an earlier time or age, with modern components in silicon such as the hairspring and escape wheel. The quote from Abraham-Louis Breguet, “Give me the perfect oil and I will give you the perfect watch” which Roger W. Smith has recently reminded us of clearly indicates Breguet’s knowledge of the importance of lubrication for his watches, and there can be little doubt that in line with Omega and Seiko, Breguet himself would almost certainly have approved of the use of silicon in modern Breguet watches, however many other details may appear to be from another time, not least the Cotes de Genève decoration. 


The Breguet Classique 5177 Grand Feu Blue Enamel, combines ‘secrets’ and classic techniques from another time with the very best in modern componentry of a type that Seiko or Omega might be proud. Equally at home anywhere from the streets of Chicago to Paris, a beautiful, timeless piece from Switzerland. 

Technical specifications

Case round in 18-carat white gold with finely fluted caseband. Sapphire-crystal caseback. Rounded lugs welded to the case, with screw pins securing the strap. 38mm diameter. Water-resistant to 3 bar (30 meters) 
Dial in « Grand Feu » blue enamel, with Breguet secret signature. Chapter ring with Breguet numerals. Centre seconds and date aperture at 3 o’clock. Open-tipped Breguet hands in rhodium-plated steel. 
Movement mechanical self-winding, adorned with “Côtes de Genève”, Cal. 777Q. Numbered and signed Breguet. 55-hour power reserve. 18-carat oscillating weight in 18k gold, hand-engraved on a rose engine. Stop seconds. 12 lignes. 26 jewels. In-line Swiss lever escapement, escape wheel and lever in silicon. Silicon balance-spring. Breguet balance-wheel with 4 regulating screws. 4Hz frequency. Adjusted in 6 positions. 
Strap in dark blue alligator leather with a pin buckle in white gold. 

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