In the new Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367, imagination rules the world
Napoleon Bonaparte, that famous French statesman and military leader who you may recollect rose to prominence during the French Revolution, and who wore watches by a certain gentlemen called Breguet once said, “victory belongs to the most persevering”.
Now as much as he probably wasn’t referring to the watch industry, there is profound wisdom is his words that needs no revolution to translate from military to the horological world with ease.
Victorious imagination of a grand master
Abraham-Louis Breguet can perhaps be called the greatest watchmaker of all time. Or it’s definitely safe to say he is amongst the best.
If we study history, we’ll find that Abraham-Louis Breguet’s horological work not only was par excellence but the above quote fits his work to a T. Any doubts, just remember Breguet patiently persevered over a span of over 20 years to complete his masterpiece, the “Marie Antoinette” (No. 160).
Out of his many horological achievements came one invention that is used by brands everywhere. It is the tourbillon escapement.
So when the namesake luxury watch brand Breguet decides to release a new variation within their Classique collection that features a tourbillon, and the news hits my work-desk, it is with all my might that I restrain myself from leaping in joy, prancing about like a giddy little kid who just discovered the keys to the jam cabinet.
The thing is, as a reviewer, I am lucky enough to be around a large variety of watches on a daily basis. So when something comes up carrying such a historical weight as a tourbillon watch from Breguet, I am bound to get excited.
Excitement and spilt coffee aside, let’s have a look at this new release, shall we?
The House of Breguet was founded in 1775 and is widely considered as the epitome of excellence in watchmaking. Breguet watches have graced the wrists of some of the greatest figures in history, and it was in 1795 that Breguet developed the tourbillon escapement and patented it some six years later.
So the watch we are looking at today is a solid 220 years in the making.
The new Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 takes its design inspiration from this legacy and combines it with the brand’s existing Classique collection design codes. As if this wasn’t enough it then manages to inject in it a sense of modern contemporary elegance that’s resonates more of a young and daredevil aristocrat rather than a stuffed-tie businessman.
What’s unique about this one?
Extra-Thin Self-Winding Tourbillon is not essentially a new watch in Breguet’s range, but what’s new about this release is the use of deep blue grand feu enamel technique that’s adorning its dial.
Imagination of the use of enamel as a specialised craft
The dial on these watches has gone through a substantive amount of labour. In a nutshell, here’s a look at the steps involved in its creation
- First comes the initial stages of grinding and cleaning of the enamel
- This enamel is then applied with a brush to the gold dial while still wet, in a thin and consistent layer
- The combination is heated in a furnace at a temperature higher than 800°C
- Further several layers of enamel are added until the desired colour of blue is reached
- Then the dial is gently polished
- The dial is again placed in the furnace one last time to provide it with its natural sheen
Victorious re-imagination of the Dial
The blue watch face shows the traditional functions of central hours and minutes, and small seconds on the tourbillon axis.
The blue “Grand Feu” enamel dial is signed Breguet at 12’o clock. This blue was first introduced this year in the Breguet Classique 5177. The Breguet numerals, the hours chapter and seconds chapter, and the logo are printed in powdered silver providing them with a granular metallic sheen.
In addition to the blue colour, the dial has a fair few eccentricities that sets it apart.
For starters, it features an off-centered chapter ring with Breguet Arabic numerals that are bold and clean and provide for great legibility. These numerals use the same calligraphy once drawn by Abraham-Louis Breguet for the first time on the self-winding Breguet No. 15 watch launched in 1787.
Next up are the emojis. Well, not really, but darn the decoration looks like emojis.
The Emojis on the Dial >:o
These numerals harp back to the French Revolution era and share the dial with silvered powdered tracings of tiny stars, diamond shapes and stylised fleur-de-lys — latter is a stylised lily that is sometimes used as a decorative symbol on watch faces — at five-minute intervals.
The diamond shapes decorate 12, 3, 6, and 9; the fleur-de-lys decorate 1, 2, 4, 7, 8, 10, and 11; while the tiny stars mark the minutes in between.
Victorious Imagining of the Current Movement
In contrast to the understated and timeless elegant look of the front, the reverse — that can be admired through a sapphire crystal display case-back — is richly decorated.
The bridges, barrel and the platinum oscillating weight are all hand-engraved. Just in case you are wondering why the oscillating weight is in an expensive material such as platinum, well there is an explanation.
The oscillating weight is crafted in platinum for greater inertia. It rotates on the periphery of the calibre, in turn providing a clearer view of the movement and ensuring its slimness.
The Tech Specs
When this model was first released, back in 2013, it used to be the thinnest automatic tourbillon wristwatch. That crown now lies with Bulgari.
Still sleek and impressive, this version is encased in an ultra-thin 7.45mm thick body. Inside beats the heart, the calibre 581.
It is the brand’s thinnest tourbillon movement yet as it is 3mm thick.
The king of this heart is the off-centered tourbillon — placed between 4 and 6’o clock — that is housed in a titanium carriage featuring a made-to-measure escapement and a silicon Breguet balance spring.
The latter oscillates at a frequency of four hertz, which is particularly high for a tourbillon balance spring.
In a nutshell, the reference 5367PT/2Y/9WU uses a 3mm x 36.0932656mm — or 16 ligne or 16‴ as the brand likes to say — self-winding mechanical movement numbered and signed featuring 33 jewels, 334 components, and owing to a Breguet patented high-energy barrel, it allows the wearer an impressive 80-hour power reserve.
Last but not the least, the Case
The above movement is cased inside a 41mm diameter platinum (with a finely fluted case-band) body that offers an okay 30m (3 ATM) water resistance.
This fluted case-band is another Breguet trademark that adds to the charm of this particular watch. The fluting is caused by fine grooves enhanced with double beading on the case-band and is achieved by cold-rolling the fluted pattern into the case-band and it is then finished by hand on a mechanical workpiece-holder.
Another trademark look of this model, and pretty unique we should add, the case features welded straight lugs with screw-secured bars.
Bearing the hallmarks of authentic Breguet styling, these lugs use screw-pins instead of the usual sprung bars to hold the strap between the horns.
Between these lugs features the alligator leather strap with platinum triple folding buckle.
Watch Ya Gonna Do About It
Where timeless elegance meets modern aesthetics, the new Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 exists right about there.
Minimalistic gets a new meaning, and the continuity of over two centuries of legacy, design and craftsmanship is clearly evident.
Our favourite part is the dial and it’s clean look. Providing the wearer with a highly legible dial, the watch face features rhodium-plated steel open-tipped hands, usually referred to as the “Breguet hands”, that contrast well against the blue background.
These slim, sleek, hollow, eccentric “moon” tip watch hands were designed by the man himself, Abraham-Louis Breguet, back around 1783 and are the definition of simple and easy to read hands that visually resemble a hollow apple or a crescent moon.
Another great subtle detail can be found above the tourbillon carriage in line with 3’o clock: the famous secret signature that first came about in 1975.
Coming full circle, again in the words of Napoleon Bonaparte, with the new Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367, “imagination rules the world”.
It is in the combination of the power of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s ability of imagining the tourbillon escapement and the artisans’ imagination in the production of the deep blue grand feu enamel that this watch supremely succeeds.
For more information on this watch and other Breguet watches, head to their website here.