In 2013, Breguet explored its more technical side with the ref. 5377, the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique. It was – and still is – one of the thinnest automatic tourbillon watches ever created (only surpassed by this 1980s AP) and remains a proper technical feat, with its self-winding movement “charged” by a peripheral rotor. Complex inside, yet sleek outside. As a preview of the Baselworld 2018 collection, the brand introduces a new and even cleaner version, the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367, now with a “Grand Feu” Enamel dial.
Breguet and the Tourbillon, a family affair
It is no surprise that Breguet is a master of the tourbillon complication. It was after all invented by Abraham Louis Breguet, the founder of the brand, and patented on June 26, 1801 (to be precise, the 7 Messidor An 9 in the French Revolutionary Calendar). In his quest to improve the accuracy of pocket watches, Breguet discovered that gravity had a negative effect on the regulating organ. By mounting the escapement and balance wheel in a rotating cage (named the tourbillon), Breguet was able to counter the effect of gravity, even when the timepiece was kept in a static position.
This device, which is now widely used by many Swiss brands, remains more of a technical achievement than a necessity, as wristwatches are, of course, less affected by gravity than a pocket watch. Still, Breguet, as the inventor of this complication, keeps the tradition alive and proposes various watches equipped with this complex rotating cage. One of the latest creations of Breguet was the highly complex ref. 5377, or the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique. Externally clean and simple, this was, however, a technically-advanced piece, which is now offered for the first time with a “Grand Feu” enamel dial.
The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367
The Breguet 5367 is a new iteration of this slim, technical piece, which uses one of the brand’s classical themes, a combination of an enamel dial and Breguet Arabic numerals. Housed in an 18k rose gold case, it shows the signature fluted case bands and welded lugs with screw-secured bars (no evolution here compared to the 5377). What changes is the addition of a glossy, milky-white enamel dial, combined with black numerals and Breguet open-tipped hands in blued steel – again, all signature feature of the brand. One evolution though compared to its guilloched sibling is that the power reserve indicator at 9 o’clock has been removed, leaving only the off-centred display of the hours and minutes to animate the dial.
The 42mm case is still extremely thin for an automatic tourbillon, and measures just 7mm. This has been achieved thanks to the clever winding system of the calibre 581. Instead of a centrally-mounted rotor or a micro-rotor, Breguet chose to equip its Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique with a peripheral rotor, meaning an oscillating weight that rotates on the periphery of the calibre – connected to the movement by ball-bearings. This peripheral rotor, crafted in platinum for greater inertia, ensures efficiency, slenderness and provides a clearer view of the movement.
Indeed, it would be a shame to hide, even partially, this calibre 581, as it is entirely decorated and engraved by hand. It is surprising to see how opulent the decoration of the movement is when compared to the extremely clean dial. The tourbillon, even if it is an ancient invention, is modernised here with several interesting features. Its carriage is made of titanium (lighter to consume less energy), the balance spring and the horns of the escapement are in silicon (thus anti-magnetic) and the frequency is quite high, at 4Hz (compared to the classical 3Hz used on most tourbillon watches). The movement measures just 3mm thick and, despite this thinness, provides a solid 80-hour power reserve.
The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 “Grand Feu” Enamel will be officially presented at Baselworld 2018. Its price is still to be confirmed but expect around EUR 140,000. More details on www.breguet.com.