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The origins of the Breguet 7077 Independent Chronograph


January 2018

The origins of the Breguet 7077 Independent Chronograph

Starting in 1820, Abraham-Louis Breguet got to work on what he called a “double seconds, or observation” watch. Finally perfected in 1823, it is considered to be one of the forerunners of the modern chronograph.


his “observation” watch is so-called because it can be used to precisely measure intermediate periods or the length of time taken by two separate and simultaneous events.

Moreover, as far back as 1796, Breguet had already finalised his first “subscription watch”, with a very particular feature forming its technical characteristic and aesthetic appeal: a large central barrel with gears laid out completely symmetrically on each side of the barrel.

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This symmetrical layout inspired Breguet’s now famous Tradition collection, which began in 2005. An approach that, by revealing for the first time the whole of the movement, profoundly influenced a number of chronographs - and other mechanical movements - which have since also shown off their ‘innards’. One of the outcomes of the Tradition collection is the 7077 Tradition Chronograph, which is notable for the separation of the hour mechanism from the chronograph. Each of these mechanisms has its own symmetrical escapement with balance and gears.

The two balances vibrate at different frequencies, 3 Hz for the hour and 5 Hz for the chronograph - which gives an autonomy of only 20 minutes but an impressive accuracy of +/-0.04 seconds. This very short power reserve is due to the use of a blade spring rather than a barrel, a technique dating back to 1825 (Breguet model no. 4009) which means the chronograph is engaged instantly and the balance is immediately working at the right amplitude.

The blade spring is wound by simply pressing in the stop push-piece of the chronograph, which also resets it. This makes the chronograph instantly ready to take a new measurement of a maximum duration of 20 minutes. It is therefore quite a unique construction, neither a chronograph with an additional plate, nor a classic integration with a column wheel, and it highlights the perfect symmetry that Abraham-Louis Breguet was always striving for.