Breguet, the 239-year-old Swiss watchmaker best known for elegant masculinity, is clearly looking toward the future and to local upstarts like MB&F and HYT for inspiration. The brand’s new Tradition Automatique Seconde Rétrograde 7097, which is set to be the talk of the early 2015 trade shows, is traditional in the sense that there is a watch face on it. The timepiece – with its visible components and unexpected arc sundial - looks like it walked out of a Blade Runner reboot directed by Michael Mann. There is a lot of shining metal here and an emphasis placed on dynamism: Everything moves.
But this isn’t a cuckoo clock; it’s the latest evidence that Switzerland has gotten the message about the future of watches: Adapt or die. The alpine craftsmen are getting less neutral, creating pieces that both enliven and dissect tradition. Sure, smart watches can do more that the Tradition Automatique, but they’ll never look cooler doing it. Breguet is selling something from the past that looks more like the future than the real future ever will. That’s smart thinking.
Photos by Breguet