Sunday Morning Showdown: The Battle Of The Breguet Classique 5907 Vs. The Breguet Tradition 7027
This is the battle you knew that was coming. Both RJ and Daan fell in love with Breguet at a get-together late last year. It only took them a few months to add the watches they admired to their collection. And now that they’ve had the time to wear them for a little while, it’s time to put them up against each other. Today’s Sunday Morning Showdown is probably more a matter of taste than anything else. And we know RJ has a big following here on Fratello. But let’s see if Daan can persuade some of you to vote for his Breguet Classique, reference 5907, and not for RJ’s Breguet Classique 7027.
That’s right; this story is about how two watch enthusiasts fell into a large pot of Breguet magic potion. And every time they look at their own watch, they feel a little spark of joy deep within. The fact that the same brand made both watches doesn’t mean they’re the same, though. Yes, there are similarities, like that signature coin-edge case, the typical straight lugs, and the magnificent finishing. But just one glance at these watches side-by-side, you’ve probably already picked your winner. Take it easy, though; let our two opponents make their case first, and then cast your votes, please.
Last week’s battle
But not before we take a good look at what happened last week. Which was another single-brand mash-up between the Grand Seiko SLGA019 and SBGA481. The Lake Suwa against the Lion, or to put it in Thomas’ words, Grand Seiko’s version of the Datejust vs. the unapologetic but super awesome Grand Seiko. I’m a bit surprised by the results. Because I very much agree with Thomas that the SBGA481 “is too big, too light, too complicated” but that it’s also “super awesome as a result.” However, that didn’t help because the SLGA019 won by a landslide of 77% of the votes. I guess it still pays off to play safe. But in the end, the Lake Suwa’s dial is a piece of art that is beyond dispute.
Daan: Breguet Classique 5907
I can’t believe RJ and I are defending our own watches today. I still remember that get-together, where we both fell in love with our next watch. What I couldn’t have imagined, though, was that we would both end up buying those watches within such a short time. But I guess love makes you do crazy things. I traded my Blancpain Bathyscaphe for the Breguet Classique 5907, and RJ sold a Rolex from his collection to make the jump toward the Breguet Tradition 7027 a bit easier. In the end, we’re both delighted with the decisions we took.
And that highlights precisely the point I’d like to make today. RJ and I are very different kinds of people. RJ is very pragmatic and tends to act rather than think about something for too long. On the other hand, I’m more of a philosopher who’d like to think things over a couple of times before taking any action. There’s probably something to say for both personalities, but ultimately, they both lead to a happy life. However, I do think that our personalities very much influenced which Breguet we both chose to fall in love with that day.
In-your-face vs. more modest
RJ’s 7027 is definitely the more in-your-face kind of Breguet. I agree that it’s a beautifully made watch and looks impressive from the get-go. And that’s probably the impression many people have when they see that watch for the first time. That open-worked dial is a piece of art to behold, and not many watches combine the same level of finishing and classic style with each other. But to me, it looks a bit like it’s trying too hard. Why would you need that open-worked dial if you could look at a beautifully finished guilloché dial instead?
But again, that concerns the different types of people RJ and myself are. He feels very comfortable wearing his almost obnoxiously big Omega Ploprof on vacation. He also doesn’t mind wearing his full yellow-gold Rolex Day-Date on any given Sunday. On the other hand, I’d rather wear a stainless steel Cartier Santos or a medium-sized Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso Duoface. There’s nothing wrong with either option, but they’re certainly very different choices. I do think, though, that my Breguet Classique, reference 5907, really represents the best of both worlds; let me explain.
The 5907 is the best of both worlds
Breguet is very well known for its hand-finishing on its watches. They apply that finishing to both the dials and the movements. When I look at my 5907, I feel like it’s the perfect combination of both those worlds. That golden dial, which is then silvered, brushed, and finished off with that beautiful guilloché pattern, is just mind-blowing. I wouldn’t want to miss that in return for a better look at the internals. Besides, when I turn the watch over, I can still enjoy that meticulous finishing on the hand-wound movement.
RJ’s 7027 is a whole different kind of beast. It has nothing to hide, and I’m not saying I don’t like the way it looks. But it’s a bit too much for me. I would’ve also opted for the white gold version, to be honest. “Of course” RJ went for the full she-bang with that yellow-gold version. But that one has a little less contrast to it, and the colors in the movement are less obvious than in the white gold version. In the end, though, I wouldn’t mind switching with RJ’s Breguet for a week. However, my 34.5mm 5907 would look odd on his bigger wrist. But other than its size, let’s see what RJ has to say about it.
RJ: Breguet Tradition 7027
I always smirk a bit when people make a wrong assumption about me. I get it, though, as I am very pragmatic regarding daily business. But when it comes to buying watches, especially in the price range of these Breguet watches, I give it plenty of thought. More than one (in this case, Daan) would expect. Breguet has been on my radar for many years, but I could never pull the trigger on one. A few years ago, I did a hands-on review with a Breguet Classique 5157, and that opened my eyes, as well as my visit to the Breguet manufacture in 2019. You could say that’s still quite recently, but I never felt ready for a Breguet watch.
What changed my mind is that I got older and developed an appreciation for Breguet watches. I first saw a Breguet watch in my early 20s, when I was only interested in sports watches. When I visited the Breguet manufacture, I was happily surprised to witness that the movement’s entire production, assembly, and finishing took place under one roof. Not only that, but the dial-making was also something magical. Skilled artisans turned the wheels of the machines that engraved the solid gold dials with beautiful patterns.
Convinced to buy a Breguet 5157
I was convinced I would end up with a Breguet Classique, preferably the 5157. No seconds hand or a date aperture, just a large engine-turned (guilloché) dial and the typical Breguet hands for hours and minutes, and all that in a modest case of 38 mm. But, while casually looking at this ref.5157 model in the pre-owned market (they’re a bargain compared to the retail price), I was exposed to a watch I had never given much thought to.
Enter the Breguet Tradition. I knew the later larger models, but I was surprised to see how well-proportioned the 37mm Breguet Tradition 7027 was. It was during the same get-together that Daan also attended, and I remember I kept picking up the Tradition 7027 from the table (which was filled with watches from all sorts of brands). I even had to find out we already covered this exact watch on Fratello in one of Mike’s “Wrist Game of Crying Shame” articles. I remembered his article, but it didn’t stick with me to realize it was a ref. 7027.
Inspired by Breguet’s subscription watches
The Breguet Tradition was introduced in 2005 and inspired by Breguet’s subscription watches. Watches that were in his catalog (of 1797, mind you!) and sold on a subscription basis. Clients were required to make a downpayment of 25% and would receive a very reliable and affordable watch. Breguet made several hundreds of these watches.
Take a look at early Breguet pocket watches (the book “Breguet — Art and Innovation in Watchmaking” is worth ordering, including many pictures of these watches). You will find that the movement construction on those pocket watches looks very similar to the Tradition collection. On top, I love the fact that the Tradition still has that guilloché dial made of solid gold (and then treated with silver). Where in the past, I would agree with Daan that the Tradition’s dial is a bit “too much”, after diving into some Breguet history, it all makes sense, and it’s a great tribute to his watchmaking.
A Tradition 7027, but in which color?
Then, I had the choice to go with either white gold, rose gold, or yellow gold. I wanted the small dial to be silver, as the rose gold has a black coated guilloché dial. I think the hand-work guilloché comes more to life when it is silver, so that left me with either white gold or yellow gold case.
What I love about the yellow-gold version is that the movement is also gold-colored and properly shows the silver guilloché dial and blued screws. On top, it reminds me a bit more of the original Breguet subscription pocket watches. Yellow gold it is, then!
I bought the watch via a dealer in Austria using the Chrono24 platform, and loved it from the minute it arrived. The original brown leather strap makes it a bit conservative looking, so I decided to have a custom strap made by ABP in Paris. A blue lizard strap matching the blued screws visible through the sapphire crystal. With a last known retail price of around €25,000, I can’t wrap my head around the prices of these watches in the pre-owned market. But aside from the tremendous value for money you get with these in the pre-owned market; it’s a watch I thoroughly enjoy and made me appreciate Breguet’s watchmaking even more.
On the one hand, it fills me with sadness that the Breguet brand is not able to fully understand and grasp its potential, as I don’t know a single collector who does not like Breguet for its watchmaking skills and its heritage. There’s such immense potential for a high-end brand like Breguet to create precisely those watches collectors and connoisseurs would love to have. It’s something that LVMH’s Arnault family seems to have understood perfectly well when revamping Daniel Roth (former Breguet watchmaker). On the other hand, it makes it possible to own a beautifully made and finished Breguet watch at an almost meager price. It’s still a chunk of money, of course, but compared to the brands that manufacture watches with the same level of finish, these are a bargain in the pre-owned market.
White gold is ok, but yellow is better
Now, I also like Daan’s watch. It’s a beautiful small Classique; these are pretty awesome if you have the wrist for it. What holds me back is the use of the F. Piguet movement. It’s not designed as a Breguet movement, although later on, it became a Breguet-exclusive movement (I wrote about it here). I also realize that not everyone cares about these things, but to me, it does matter. That’s why if I go for a Classique model, and I probably will in the future, I want one like the 5157, with an in-house developed and produced Breguet movement. When Breguet, then Breguet, I would say.
I love my Breguet Tradition 7027, but I also enjoy seeing Daan wearing his 5907 in the office. It suits him, and I have to agree with him that white gold also suits him well. That said, I also believe that someday, Daan will see the light (and age) and come to appreciate the beautiful warm tones of yellow gold. And Daan, I officially promise you that once you’re back from your holidays, you can wear my Breguet 7027 for a week.
Cast your votes for a Breguet
That’s it! Both of our Breguet watches made it to this Sunday Morning Showdown, a little different than what you’re used to seeing here on the weekend. No new watches, and not even watches that look-a-like or have the same (pre-owned) price. Nevertheless, we thought it would be fun to see which Breguet is more to your liking, the Classique 5907 or the Tradition 7027.