Once the chronograph’s beginning pusher is engaged, the pillar wheel under the cap moves, thus dropping this arm between the column wheel’s columns, therefore shifting the second of the two driving wheels slightly so that it starts to mesh with the wheel at the center. The distance traveled by this arm needs painstaking fine-tuning, something this limit is to assist with — though I would still like to see a well-working chronograph having an exposed column wheel. I think that is enough column wheel discussion for the day.The attractiveness of a hand-wound chronograph is that you get to have all of the eye-candy. There isn’t a fiddly rotor always in the way. Power reserve of the CH 29-535 PS is at least 65 hours, permitting the Gyromax balance and Breguet-style hairspring to perform their 4Hz ballet for well over fourteen days. Sixty-five hours is sufficient to produce the 5170P final from Friday evening until Monday morning — a feat every luxury watch wider than 36mm should provide.All the performance aside, the 29-535 is so beautiful, I would go so far as to say it’s a must have in every collector’s career. Not necessarily a lifetime keeper, but a benchmark for every contemporary high-end chronograph. None should be a copy of this, don’t get me wrong, but any changes done to this design and these proportions must be encouraged by solid reasons — improved functionality, greater performance, etc.. Few motions bother with proportions, let alone proportions contrary to case dimensions, but things are just right. The huge balance wheel found in Patek chronographs of older surely add a more customary flair, but if you would like contemporary frequency and balance wheel layout, you need to accept a smaller balance as a reasonable compromise.Returning into the dial side only for one more serious passing, the Patek Philippe 5170P is an interesting beast. The watch market since it’s suffers no shortage of platinum-clad, diamond-brazen watches — but something is telling me no one at the hippie-hoppie music industry is going to be viewed rocking the 5170P in almost any of their videos anytime soon.
First published in 1997, Breguet, Watchmakers since 1775. The life and legacy of Abraham-Louis Breguet was written by Emmanuel Breguet, a seventh generation descendant of Abraham-Louis and now curator of the Breguet museum. With the original edition long out of print, the book has just been published in its second edition, and made available by Breguet for an affordable price.
Corporate vanity coffee table books are rarely worth attentive study, but Abraham-Louis Breguet is such a significant figure in watchmaking that the updated Breguet tome is definitely worth a read. Add to that the Breguet museum’s impressive collection and the book is hard to turn down.
Measuring 27cm by 29cm and weighing 2.6kg (or 5.7lbs), the second edition is a weighty piece of reading. At 452 pages, the second edition is over 60 pages longer than the first, to accommodate the new images, illustrations and historical timepieces acquired by the Breguet museum since 2000 (like the Bugatti Royale clock purchased last year).
Necessarily, the new edition also includes a chapter covering the Swatch era, after the Swiss watchmaking conglomerate took over Breguet in 1999. It details Swatch founder Nicolas Hayek’s leadership of the company until his passing in 2010, during which its turnover grew 10-fold.
Price and availability
Breguet, Watchmakers since 1775. The life and legacy of Abraham-Louis Breguet will be available at Breguet boutiques worldwide, priced at SFr130 or €120, equivalent to US$130.