By Breguet Blog
July 11th, 2022
THE London Concours is one of the world’s leading, luxury automobile exhibitions, hosted and presented annually by Montres Breguet in the historic City of London. Around 80 of the world’s finest cars gather in the grounds of The Honourable Artillery Company Headquarters, an oasis of calm overlooked by The Honourable Artillery Company Museum. A stone’s throw north of the HAC Grounds one finds the William Blake Cenotaph and Isaac Watts’ Grave, two notable Britons who worked and lived in London.
This year the event took place from Tuesday 28th to Thursday 30th June beginning with a VIP preview day of the several dozen rare and iconic cars of all ages, once again curated and arranged by theme. These included classic vintage cars, supercars as well as novel options to create customised electric vehicles across a range of choice cars.
Presenting partner Montres Breguet
Breguet continues its tradition of presenting the annual Concours while discreetly offering fine watches in the background. The Concours is for car enthusiasts after all, as well as serious buyers, but the allure of a mechanical watch is a natural fit for anyone with a passion for motorcars. Let us take a closer look at some of the watches on offer.
Breguet Tradition 7047PT Fusée-Chain Tourbillon Waltz
First presented in 2005, the Breguet Tradition pays homage to the rich history of the company and its founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet. The Tradition family takes its cues from the Souscription (Subscription) pocket watches which required a down payment and allowing prospective owners to spread the cost of the watch (around 600 livres). The original was a large 61mm pocket watch with a single hand, enamel dial and a relatively thin movement housed in a sleek case. Some 700 Souscription watches (with some technical variations) were made in both gold and silver cases, mostly between 1798 and 1805.
Breguet now presents a new variation celebrating its recent anniversary of the tourbillon (1801-2021) as well as several innovations and inventions, including: Breguet hands, Breguet balance-spring, escape-wheel and lever in silicon, and, of course, the tourbillon.
The highlight of the Tourbillon Waltz is the strong colour combination achieved by having the dial and tourbillon carriage with a blue coating, while the chain is thermally blued. The spectacular fusée-chain tourbillon transmission also serves to optimise the regularity of the watch’s operation by maintaining constant torque, whatever the winding level. Signature finishes include the clous de Paris guilloché pattern on its off-centre gold dial, the traditional Roman numerals and the open-tipped hands. The dial is secured by three screws, another tribute to the pocket watch era.
Marine Hora Mundi 5557
Breguet launched its two time-zone complication in 2011, when the first Hora Mundi (‘Hour of the World’) appeared in the Classique collection. These sumptuous dress watches are generously sized at 43mm and come in three versions showing the continents of the world: gold dial depicting the American continent, Europe-Africa or Asia-Oceania. Those are available in platinum or rose gold. Then there is also a traditional model with guilloché only, available in white or rose gold. Finally, there are three haute joaillerie versions adorned with diamonds and sapphires for each of the world’s major regions.
However, the real ingenuity behind the Hora Mundi lies in its in-house movement. The self-winding movement took three years to develop and has been awarded four patents. It is the first, and so far only, instant-jump time-zone display with synchronised date, day/night indication and city.
Simply put, Breguet conjured up a dual time-zone watch that shows either home time or local time on demand. Select your home time city by pulling the crown-pushbutton at 7 o’clock to position two and turn it to the city you are in or would like to choose. Now push this crown back in and then pull the crown at 3 o’clock to position three to stop the seconds hand when it reaches 12 o’clock. Turn the crown upwards to advance the hands until the date changes at midnight. Continue advancing the hands until you have the correct time in am/pm for the desired city. For accurate time-setting please ensure that this last operation is done with the hands moving clockwise. Then push the crown back to position one to start the seconds hand precisely.
For rapid date setting, pull the crown at 3 o’clock out to position two. Turn the crown upwards or downwards to the desired date and push the crown back in.
To set the watch to the synchronised time zone, press the crown-pushbutton at 7 o’clock to move away from the reference city, then pull the crown to position two and turn it in either direction until you have reached the desired second city.
Once the home city has been set to the correct time and the crown-pushbutton at 7 o’clock is in position one, you simply press the crown-pushbutton at 7 o’clock to change the city. The sensation and result are both glorious to watch in operation as the change is instantaneous for the time, date and am/pm indicator.
Now, the maison introduces the Marine Hora Mundi 5557, extending the pleasure of this novel movement to its Marine line of watches. The watch functions the same but is water-resistant to 10 bar (100m) and, naturally, sports a look and feel that is very much at home in freshwater or at sea.
Fine dress watches were also on display, including the Tradition Quantième Rétrograde 7597 first released in 2020, available in rose gold with silvered dial or in white gold with silvered or blue dial. For movement connoisseurs, there is also the Tradition 7077 independent chronograph, a sophisticated 20-minute chronograph with two separate power reserves for the chronograph and timekeeping function. The chronograph’s balance wheel operates at a frequency of 5Hz and is accurate to 1/10th of a second, while the regular balance wheel operates at 3Hz, with a power reserve of 55 hours. The movement is completely in-house and unique among competitor chronographs. Those looking for a simpler nod to Breguet’s pocket watch era may prefer the Tradition 7097, a superb watch needing no complications.
In the category of slim dress watches, nothing could be more elegant than the Classique collection. Whether you are looking for extra-thin models or complicated watches, there is a wide variety available. A few choice examples are shown below:
Breguet’s Reine de Naples Ladies Collection
This collection is inspired by an early bracelet watch A.-L. Breguet created for Bonaparte’s sister Caroline, Queen of Naples. Inspired by tradition but not without contemporary flair, ladies are able to choose from a stunning range of jewellery watches and ladies’ sports watches are also available in the Marine collection.
Breguet also had on hand a watchmaker who was able to speak to everyone at length about Breguet and watchmaking. This made for a very rewarding and interactive experience. The watchmaker was also happy to show the various movements under a microscope, with images relayed on a video screen for convenient viewing.
Rounding off the day’s watch experience, we take a quick look at the famous magnetic pivot before we turn our attention to the cars. Below is an enlarged, desk-sized model of the patent of 9th November 2010 that protects the magnetic pivot, an invention by Breguet that allows the balance staff, which holds the balance, to be held in part-suspension between two powerful micro-magnets. It was lovingly described as a paperweight and actually comes from the Breguet manufacture in L’Orient. For further information on the magnetic pivot, please see: https://breguetblog.com/m-z/.
Motorcars of distinction
Many exceptional cars were present and vintage cars jostled with contemporary style icons for our attention. The following photos trace some of the highlights of The London Concours 2022 and represent nothing less than a feast for the eyes.
Always innovative and in tune with the Zeitgeist of everything mechanical, Breguet designed a chronograph dashboard clock for Lamborghini’s famed “Diablo”, offered as an upgrade option for the sum of 13,500 CHF. Out of the 60 pieces that were made, Breguet was recently able to acquire one for its museum, exhibited for the first time during the London Concours.
Finally, it would seem fitting to close with an unassailable icon of the world of classic cars: the 1932 Bugatti Type 55 Supersport Cabriolet. These cars have attained mythical status among enthusiasts and collectors. Vintage Bugatti’s are a rare sight and attendees of this year’s Concours were treated to the following star attraction, which is expected to be auctioned at Gooding & Company’s Concours of Elegance sale, at Hampton Court between September 2-4th of this year.
To put this car in perspective, it is necessary to consult no less an authority than historian Hugh Conway, who describes its achievements in his book Bugatti: Le pur-sang des automobiles (1974): ‘Unquestionably, the most spectacular feature of the [Type 55] is its acceleration, which is really terrific; when the first car was imported into this country and was road tested by a contemporary journal in 1932, figures were recorded of 10 to 80 mph in 18 seconds and 10 to 100mph in 40 seconds; these cannot have been surpassed by very, very few standard sports cars ever produced, irrespective of engine capacity and price.’
The Bugatti Type 55 represents an exceptional climax to an already outstanding event that never fails to impress. The car curators at the London Concours are to be applauded for their dedication and ability to put on a world class display.
Connoisseurs and fans will know that the cars are judged by experts led by members of the London Concours Steering Committee, who award an overall winner and a winner in each class. The winners this year are:
Best in Show – Toyota 2000GT
Chairman’s Award – Ferrari 250 GT California SWB
Pursuit of Speed – Sponsored by Montres Breguet – Koenigsegg Agera S
Highly Commended – Jaguar XJ220
Fins and Chrome – Sponsored by Adrian Flux and American Classic Magazine – Cadillac Sedan de Ville
Highly Commended – Chrysler 300F
Japanese Jewels – Sponsored by Concours of Elegance – Toyota 2000GT
Highly Commended – Mitsubishi Evo 6 Tommi Mäkinen Edition
Great British History, Sponsored by Engine Notes – Jaguar SS100
Highly Commended – Invicta S Type
The Italian Spiders, Sponsored by London Concours – Ferrari 250 GT California SWB
Highly Commended – Fiat-Abarth 2200 Allemano
Great Marques – Mercedes, Sponsored by Moss Automotive – Mercedes-Benz 300SL ‘Gullwing’
Highly Commended – Mercedes-Benz 600 LWB
For more information and a full breakdown of the days’ events, please visit: https://londonconcours.co.uk.
Breguet Blog would like to thank Montres Breguet for hosting us and for presenting this world class annual event. The London Concours 2022 was outstanding as always and car connoisseurs as well as admirers of high horology were in their element. For those that could not make it this year, we hope to have captured the magnificent show for you in this article. Nous espérons vous voir l’année prochaine!
We would like to offer a sincere debt of gratitude to Montres Breguet for presenting one of the most unique automobile shows in the world and The Honourable Artillery Company for providing this very special venue including all the dedicated staff who make this event happen every year with great élan.
All photos in this article © BreguetBlog.com 2022. All rights reserved
© BreguetBlog.com 2022. All rights reserved