By Harlan Chapman-Green
When we think of music nowadays we tend to think of Celine Dion, One Direction and should we dare to mention, Justin Bieber. So let me take you back to a time when tuning the voice of your instrument meant adjusting strings rather than pressing some buttons on a machine. When drums were more than just some binary codes on a computer. When Beats by Dr Dre literally meant a doctor called Dre who played the Timpani in the orchestra of his nation’s capital city.
Presumably you’ve read Meor’s article on Breguet’s fantastic Grand Complication, don’t worry if you haven’t, click here to read it. Anyway, if you have read it then you’ll know that it looks stunning. Well, prepare to be amazed by Breguet’s Classique La Musicale 7800.
At a glance this looks just like any other Breguet Classique. A highly decorated dial with Breguet hands and numerals.The coin edging on the side that has become synonymous with Breguet timepieces. Then you look back at the dial. On closer inspection you see that what appears to be the second hand’s counterweight is shaped like a music note, and that the decorated centre insert on the dial doesn’t join properly. But what could these features mean? You pick it up, of course, the gold makes it pretty hefty for a watch. Turning it over in your hand, you notice it has some unusual holes in the case back that don’t appear on any other watches by the house of Breguet. Turning it back over there is a button on the side of the watch. Pressing it reveals this watch’s party piece. You notice that central insert on the dial starts spinning. All of a sudden music is filling your ears, but where is it coming from? You look around for a source, but there’s no speakers in the room and no one walked in and started playing an instrument. Your attention is drawn back to the Classique La Musicale. Holding it up to your ear, you notice it’s playing a musical tune. Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with a watch that plays music the old-fashioned way.
Bach. No, I wasn’t sneezing. Today’s complication plays it on demand or as an alarm. If you did a double take just then, I don’t blame you because I did too the first time I saw it.
Before I continue I recommend you look up the Swiss company Reuge. They make music boxes that range from simple little devices that play a simple tune and had a little clockwork dancer who moved around when the lid was opened, the kind that might’ve been given to young children, to pieces that can occupy whole cupboards with little drums and tubular bells and all kinds of wonders. I recommend you look them up because all their products have one thing in common with the Breguet. It’s the way they make the music.
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