When I am asked to identify the end of vintage - or more correctly its beginning - I generally choose the Breguets of the 80s, or those of the Roth era, as a reference. It is true that journalistic practice tends to identify vintage watches with pre-quartz, but the rebirth of Breguet - in the hands of the most extraordinary obstetrician in micromechanical history - represents in my opinion the apex of classic XNUMXth century watchmaking.
I motivate this belief in the awareness that the references signed by Breguet in those years were authentic "renewal". That is the rebirth of the original and archetypal works of the Master through the hand of his most brilliant follower. The copies signed by Daniel Roth - and those immediately following its term - are in fact modeled in the still pulsating material of the AL Breguet pockets by the single hand capable of regenerating their universal inspiration.
Let's be frank: money is scarce these days, the pandemic withers our imagination and onanistic impulses, but the vintage market still allows the lover to play like a child in a gourmandise shop or like a dirty boy in a brothel. Belle Époque; because fashionable enticements and embarrassments follow instincts that the heart of the enthusiast does not know.
We then propose to the readers of Perpetual Passion two sublime Breguet chronographs of the end of the last millennium, which will not be difficult to find a less than 10 thousand euros in excellent condition. Two samples of stylistic understatement and mechanical value, which identify the gentleman with no margin for error. A manual and an automatic, a formal evening chronograph; one for day, sporty. We have chosen them strictly in yellow gold, because for us Breguet it is yellow gold. We are talking about the Breguet Classique Chronograph 3237 and Breguet Marine Chronograph 3460.
BREGUET CLASSIQUE CHRONOGRAPH 3237
Il 3237 è Roth's favorite son and communicates, in its diabolical completeness, something that cannot be amended. Perhaps the most beautiful ever since 3050. This chronograph bears all the noble stigmata of what today we identify at a glance as Maison Breguet and which was, in fact, creative fusion between Abraham-Louis and Daniel Roth: coin case with lateral grooves, straight lugs, finely worked gold dial guilloché à clous de Paris, hands à pomme évidée.
The measure is golden for a chrono: 36 millimeters. Today it would seem small, because the taste is gross. Through the sapphire crystal case back there is then the Lemania 2320, a machine already remarkable in itself, but which, once it left the atelier of the Roth body shop with the name of Breguet 533.2, set in motion the non plus ultra of chronography. And in fact we have not gone much further.
BREGUET MARINE CHRONOGRAPH 3460
Il Marine 3460 it is a specimen that shows how the ceremonial can be disengaged with philological grace. In fact, this timepiece embodies the cclassy sports chronograph. Because he wears an exquisite cut dinner jacket under his diving suit and, when needed, he knows how to make it come out uncorrupted even after a dive. The measurements are paradoxically even more discreet than the 3237, with a diameter of 35.5 millimeters and a thickness of only 10.
Under that graceful waterproof diving suit made of more robust - and anatomical - curved handles - screwed caseback and an oversized crown protected by strong shoulders, there are all the topoi of classicism and three compax that fill the space of the dial with a picaresque look.
The car was also designed for a more intense and sporty use: under the Breguet caliber 576 in fact the Frederic Piguet 1185, that is the supercar of the automatic chronographs of the time. Which for performance, reliability and finishes can ridicule 95% of the contemporary fleet.
The additional and providential wonder of these two pieces is that… it does not arouse the embarrassment of choice. They are in fact complementary in the watchmaking wardrobe of the connoisseur. And they both take home for the price of an industrial product packaged by some questionable testimonial.