Breguet: Keeping Time
Breguet’s understated new timepiece takes inspiration from its founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, who is credited with inventing the tourbillon 220 years ago.
Breguet’s new Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat 5367 is available for the first time with a ‘Grand Feu’ enamel dial. Incredibly, for every three dials the watchmaker creates, only one makes it through the kiln. The aperture is pre-cut before the enamel is fired so the chance of cracking or breaking is high. As a result, only 100 can be produced annually.
The timepiece is distinguished by its blue Breguet hands, striking a powerful contrast with the immaculate whiteness of the traditional enamel. The watch boasts a slim case measuring a thickness of only 7.45mm, housing a 3mm-thick movement wound. While it is understated on the front, its movement is nonetheless richly decorated. The bridges, barrel and oscillating weight are hand-engraved. Crafted in platinum for greater inertia, the latter rotates on the periphery of the calibre, thus providing a clearer view of the movement, as well as ensuring its slimness. The Calibre 581 powering this timepiece comprises a balance oscillating at a frequency of 4Hz while maintaining a comfortable 80-hour power reserve. This distinctive performance is enabled by a ‘high-energy’ barrel, whose patented construction serves to increase the number of coils of its spring and augment energy storage.
A peripheral rotor allows the wearer an unobstructed view of the engraving work on the movement, entirely crafted by Breguet’s skilled artisans in Switzerland. The chapter ring with Breguet Arabic numerals is off-centred at 11 o’clock and directly facing the tourbillon at 5 o’clock. The display layout with Arabic numerals is reminiscent of the watches created by A-L Breguet, who revelled in transforming the aesthetic conventions governing the timepieces of his era.
Indeed, the new watch is deeply rooted in history and connected to its founder. On 26 June 1801, A-L Breguet patented a revolutionary mechanism that neutralised the effects of gravity, providing incredible precision in mechanical timepieces. This invention was an engineering feat that cemented his standing as one of the most innovative figures of all time.
During his lifetime, A-L Breguet created 35 tourbillon watches, and fewer than 10 of them are known to survive. The Tourbillon precision pocket watch No. 1188 sold to Don Antonio de Bourbon, Infante of Spain, in 1808, is one of the most fascinating pieces in the brand’s heritage. The House of Breguet possesses two other historical Tourbillon pocket watches: No. 1176 sold by Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1809 and No. 2567 sold in 1812, along with original records listing every single historical creation.
Available in both platinum and rose gold set on an alligator leather strap, the Classique Tourbillon 5367 is priced at £121,400 and £110,600 respectively.