3230 | rose gold
Powered by the venerable Lemania 2310 ébauche, this Breguet Chronograph BR 3230 combines a classic rose gold case with a hand-finished guilloché dial. It was one of the first models introduced by Breguet following its resuscitation by the Chaumet brothers and their Master Watchmaker, Daniel Roth.
The Breguet Origin
Born in Neuchâtel, Abraham-Louis Breguet would go on to pioneer significant technical and aesthetic innovations during his career, with his influence carrying through to the present day. The watchmaker spearheaded a number of inventions, including the over-coil hairspring and the tourbillon, which he first invented in 1795 and patented in 1801. It is no coincidence that he remains the most cited reference point for accomplished watchmakers centuries later, from George Daniels to François-Paul Journe.
The brand bearing his name enjoyed success during the 18th and 19th century, producing pieces for distinguished European figures, from King Louis XVI to Queen Marie Antoinette. As it moved into the 20th century, the brand dramatically changed its focus, principally producing pilot’s chronographs for the military. Though they occasionally made more classical timepieces - such as one of only three retrograde perpetual calendars from the 20th century - their focus was decidedly more utilitarian than Abraham-Louis Breguet had initially intended.
The Rebirth of Breguet
In 1970, Jacques and Pierre Chaumet took over Breguet, in the hopes of reinvigorating the brand and renewing the connection between the Breguet name and high-end watchmaking. Shortly thereafter, the brothers closed the French factory and moved production to the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland, the epicentre of Swiss watchmaking.
In order to restore the brand to its former glory, Jacques and Pierre would need a Master Watchmaker to help. They approached Daniel Roth, who’d demonstrated his talent over seven years working at Audemars Piguet, which he’d joined as the only watchmaker who didn’t come from Le Brassus, the brand’s historic home. Inspired by the work of the famous watchmaker, Roth agreed to help resuscitate the manufacture, though only after going back to school to further study Breguet’s archives and techniques.
François Bodet, the director of the brand, and Roth worked together to define the Breguet aesthetic in wristwatch form, as well as introduce a range of new models and complications to their collection. The engine-turned dials, coin case and distinctive Breguet hands have become signature features of these pieces. From perpetual calendars to tourbillons, they embraced the high-end complicated watchmaking first personified by Abraham-Louis Breguet.
Classic ref. 3230
The Chronograph ref. 3230 was one of the earliest pieces introduced by Breguet after it was resuscitated by the Chaumet brothers, integrating many of the design codes from the past, whilst also introducing new details. This manual-wind chronograph was powered by the venerable Lemania 2310 ébauche, which is also at the heart of other notable pieces from the period, such as the Patek Philippe ref. 5070 or Roger Dubuis Hommage Chronographs. It’s telling that, years later, when Roth established his own independant brand, he kept using the Lemania 2310 base. This example was sold in 1990, shortly after Roth and Bodet left the brand.
Most examples of the ref. 3230 and 3237 are housed in yellow gold, with this piece featuring a more unusual rose gold case, as confirmed by the "BR" section of the reference number marked on the paperwork. The case is typical of the Breguet style of wristwatches which Bodet and Roth helped cement. Classically sized at 36mm, it features straight lugs and a distinctive fluted middle section, reminiscent of a coin. The caseback displays the watch’s serial number, which matches the one displayed on the dial.
The design is that of a two-register chronograph, with contrasting textures and tones throughout. Made out of solid gold, the dial features a sharply executed Clous de Paris pattern in a silvery grey colour. Meanwhile, the chronograph counters feature a contrasting guilloché pattern, surrounded by a brushed contour. The chapter ring is executed in a brushed silver, with Roman numerals printed in black. The subtle contrast in colour and finishing, as well as the layout on several levels, gives a satisfying depth to the design.
The dial is signed “BREGUET” at 12 o’clock and “N. XXXX” at 6 o’clock, where the watch’s unique number is displayed. The tradition of numbering watches on the dial appears to have been carried over from earlier wristwatches by Abraham-Louis Breguet. The Breguet hands, another visual inspiration from the watchmaker, are rendered in blue steel. As is typical of Breguet pieces from the period, the dial is also hand-finished.
A Venerable Ébauche
Assembled by hand in the brand’s Vallée du Joux workshop, this Breguet Chronograph ref. 3230 is powered by a finely-finished Lemania 2310 ébauche, which can also be found in the Patek Philippe 5070 and Roger Dubuis Hommage Chronographs. At the time of production of this piece, Breguet actually owned the Nouvelle Lemania manufacture, which they’d purchased in 1991.
The movement features a 21 jewel, straight-line lever escapement, a monometallic balance adjusted to 5 positions, a self-compensating Breguet spring and swan-neck micrometer regulator. Aesthetically, the calibre is finished to a very high standard. It features exquisite chamfering on all angles, polishing and decoration, in the form of Geneva striping.
The watch comes with an outer box, green leather Breguet box and Certificate of Origin. It was first sold in 1990, by Les Ambassadeurs in Geneva. It comes on one of our taupe Zürich straps, alongside its rose gold Breguet buckle.
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|Model:||Chronograph ref. 3230|
|Movement:||manual-winding calibre, based on Lemania 2310|
|Functions:||chronograph, hours, minutes, sub-seconds|
Clous de Paris dial, rose gold case
|Crystal:||sapphire front and back|
|Strap:||Zürich strap, rose gold Breguet buckle|
|Box & papers:||outer box, green leather inner box, Certificate of Origin|
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