Concave cap-jewel held on a blade spring holding the pivot, the pare-chute is the ancestor of the modern « Incabloc » and all other shock protection devices.
1790, THE PARE-CHUTE
The shock protection system known as the pare-chute is one of Breguet’s most celebrated inventions. Starting from the observation that, if the watch suffered a blow, the pivots of the balance wheel were the most vulnerable part because they were so fine, Breguet decided to give them a cone-shaped form and to hold them in place with small dishes of matching shape, mounted on a strip spring. It was about 1790 that Breguet started testing this invention, which was to make his watches infinitely less fragile and thereby enhance their reputation even further.
From 1792, his “perpétuelle” watches were all equipped with it. Soon all his watches were equipped, and he presented the definitive version at the national exhibition of 1806. Also sometimes called elastic suspension of the balance wheel, the pare-chute (or parachute) is the forerunner of the modern “Incabloc” and all other shock protection mechanisms.
AN IMPROMPTU EXPERIMENTATION
According to a family tradition, soon after he had perfected this system, Breguet – who had just explained the principle to a “numerous gathering at the home of M. de Talleyrand” – was challenged to demonstrate the validity of his invention. In this age with passion for experiments, which were carried out in every salon, it is not difficult to imagine the improvised scene.
A circle quickly formed round Breguet, and a deathly hush descended as he – not without some apprehension – flung his watch to the floor. Then he asked one of the guests to pick it up and pass it round, whereupon everyone had to admit that it still worked as well as it had before. With his customary sardonic wit, their host enquired, “Does this devil Breguet always have to go one better ?”
Inspired by “subscription watches,” the Tradition 7027 model daringly symbolizes the Breguet art of watchmaking through a subtle play on transparency effects and an eminent contemporary architectural design. It highlights one of Breguet’s most important inventions, the pare-chute, designed to protect the balance pivots in case of impact, it was the fore-runner of all modern shock-absorbing devices.