Breguet’s watchmakers and engineers made a clean sweep of the usual methods to design their exceptional timepiece around the sound it produces. Using simulations they first synthesised about a hundred thousand sounds, which they classified into categories according to psychoacoustic criteria. These sounds were listened to and evaluated to identify the two desired notes with the aim of revolutionising sound perception by modern harmonies and tuning. The construction of the timepiece was then undertaken to reproduce the selected sound mechanically. This unprecedented approach determined the choice of every aspect of the watch, the innovations inherent in the shape of the components and the materials used for decoration. The brand’s characteristic styling was therefore carefully planned so as not to interfere with the desired sound.

The gong springs, invented in 1783 by Abraham-Louis Breguet to become the essential components of a minute-repeater, have been entirely reworked and attached to the bezel to favour the transmission of vibrations. The radiating glass is here replaced by a radiating bezel screwed to the caseband with three pillars allowing the bezel and glass to vibrate freely. This innovation results in improved sound emission, particularly at low frequencies. While the exterior parts of the watch generally transmit mostly the higher frequencies, the radiating bezel offers a wider range with several frequencies below 4,000Hz.

Breguet - Tradition Répétition Minute Tourbillon 7087

Tradition Répétition Minute Tourbillon 7087 (ref. 7087BR/G1/9XV). © Breguet

Unlike many minute-repeaters in which the travel of the hammers is parallel to the movement of the watch, this Breguet Tradition 7087 has hammers that strike vertically from the movement towards the bezel. Thanks to this technique, the mechanical vibrations are very efficiently transformed into sound waves. The hammers entailed a supplementary innovation that has been patented: a semi-active buffer. Minute-repeaters usually have a buffer spring to prevent the vibrating gongs from being struck twice. However, because the buffer spring comes into play before the hammer strikes the gong it partially reduces the hammer’s force. The company’s watchmakers have therefore invented a so-called semi-active buffer that maximises the hammer’s energy while eliminating the risk of a double strike caused by the vibration. To achieve this they devised an articulated damper that is synchronised with the strike of the hammer, which is immediately pulled back by a spring.

In addition to all these innovations is the use of a magnetic governor in this Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon model. Unlike a traditional governor, this patented system consists of silver weights passing beneath magnets and slowed down by magnetic fields.

Apart from the many innovations improving its acoustic qualities, this watch incorporates other already proven developments, such as the a peripheral rotor, a high-energy barrel and a silicon Breguet spring.

In terms of styling, this unique piece has a contemporary design, which, like the entire Tradition collection. The many decorative features cherished by the company are also present. The hours and minutes are shown by open-tipped hands in blued steel, while the dial is engine-turned by hand. The case is decorated with fluting on the caseband and has welded lugs The model comes in a white gold or rose gold case with a gong made from the same material.