The reference 7800 Classique “La Musicale” watch aroused a great deal of comment when it first came out, because apart from telling the time, it also houses a remarkable patented musical mechanism. Today the Breguet manufacturing company is happy to introduce a new version of this outstanding timepiece. This rose-gold watch is still fitted with Breguet’s self-winding 777 movement with a silicon escapement and balance spring. Yet when the button at 10 o'clock is pressed or when a set time has come, this Classique model plays Badinerie, composed by Johann Sebastian Bach as the final movement of his orchestral suite N°2 in B minor. This has been achieved with a mechanism similar to that of a musical box, except that instead of the traditional cylinder it has a disc with pegs that act successively on the 15 blades of the keyboard. A second innovation amplifies the sound so that the tune can be heard without sacrificing water resistance.
It is an engine-turned membrane in metallic glass fitted under the movement. Constant developments in acoustics at Breguet have enabled the intense research into the materials for the keyboard and membrane that would produce the best sound. The membrane allows the gold caseback to have a number of openings so as to create a Helmholtz resonator to broadcast the sound, while maintaining water resistance at 3 bar (30m). Finally, research progress in magnetism has led to Breguet fitting a magnetic governor for the melody. This patented system, which consists of isolated magnets in a cage, reduces unwanted sound while avoiding the wear found in conventional centrifugal governors. Above all it ensures that the melody proceeds at the right tempo.
The dial of this “La Musicale” Classique model shows the hours, minutes and seconds in the centre, with a power-reserve indicator at 3 o'clock and a visible indicator that the melody is playing between 9 and 10 o'clock. Such a work of art has to be immaculately turned out. Which is why the hands in traditional blued steel are open tipped in the Breguet style for the hours and minutes, while the seconds hands are in the “key of G” pattern. The dial is diamond-polished by hand to capture the light at different angles. While the music is playing, the dial, which is connected to the disc of pegs, rotates completely. During the 20 to 25 seconds of music, the engine-turned finishes make the dial come alive in shimmering colours. Furthermore an ingenious blocking system developed by Breguet ensures that there is always enough energy to play the entire tune.
As it did for the previous model, Breguet supplies the reference 7800 with a special box made of resonant wood. The alpine spruce, selected as the ideal tonewood by makers of stringed instruments, acts as a vibrant soundboard. This wood, which is found in the Risoud forest in the Joux Valley where the Breguet company is located, noticeably amplifies the music played in the watch.
As a work of art the “La Musicale” Classique model is in perfect keeping with Breguet’s values of elegant understatement, innovation and advanced methods. In addition, Breguet has been involved for a number of years in musical events such as the Geneva International Music Competition or New York’s Carnegie Hall. This timepiece thus underlines the brand’s connexion with music in particular and European art and culture in general.