Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 (Live Pics)
A lesson in the art of thinness, watchmaking and movement decoration...
Back in 2014, Breguet introduced what certainly is one of its best watches, a watch that both sums up the classic design of the brand and its innovative spirit: the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Thin Automatic 5377. Thin, elegant, fitted with a tourbillon (of course, it’s Breguet), complex and equipped with a peripheral rotor… It was followed by an ultra-traditional enamel version, the 5367, truly inspired by the past. This year, we have the third iteration of this watch, and it is both surprising and stunningly decorated (really). Meet the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395.
If you want a watch that makes sense and is truly relevant historically, it is hard to beat a tourbillon by Breguet. And there is a Simple reason: Abraham-Louis Breguet invented and patented it more than 220 years ago. Patented in 1801, its development took no less than 10 years of experimentation and research in the years spanning from 1795 to 1805. At a time when timepieces were worn vertically on the body, the master watchmaker took great pains to devise a way of negating the effects of the Earth’s attraction on the functioning of the oscillator and, on the basis of this, improving the chronometric accuracy of the movement. Then the idea came to him to incorporate the balance wheel and spring as well as the escapement (lever and escape wheel) in a mobile casing rotating on itself. Breguet devised the name “tourbillon” for the double rotation of this cage and its parts. More than two centuries after its invention, the tourbillon complication still generates as much fascination as it did then.
Fast forward to 2014 when Breguet introduced the reference 5377, an ultra-thin, classically designed watch that showed great modernity in its technical solutions. While encasing a complex automatic movement, this watch was extremely thin with a 7.7mm case and 3mm calibre, thanks to the use of a peripheral rotor. Also innovative, the tourbillon beating at 4Hz incorporated modern materials such as titanium for the cage and silicon for the regulating organ.
This inaugural version, with a plain guilloché dial and a power reserve indicator, was followed in 2018 by an ultra-classic version with a white enamel dial and sleek design (ref. 5367), without the power reserve indicator. This collection of two watches (well, three now with the one you’re about to discover) perfectly summed up Breguet’s spirit: elegant, classic, timeless but innovative too.
The latest creation of the brand relies on this same architecture but now proudly reveals its movement with an entirely skeletonized design – and stunning finishing.
The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395
This new Breguet 5395 is basically a skeletonized version of the 5377 and 5367. However, while these two played on the classic codes of the brand, the new openworked model is something different. It has a unique flair that doesn’t sound familiar for Breguet. It has a certain boldness and modernity… But don’t get us wrong, it is highly attractive.
Compared to its two “full-dial” brothers, the Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 retains most of the technical elements. As for the case, we have to note a slight reduction of diameter, from 42mm to 41mm – something we won’t complain about. The profile has grown a bit and is now 7.7mm instead of 7mm for the 5377 and 5367 – mainly due to the skeleton movement. For the rest, we still have this elegant and typically Breguet design, with fluted casebands and soldered lugs with screws. The watch is available in 18k pink gold or 950 platinum.
Dial-side, in order to keep the watch as transparent as possible, Breguet has chosen to display the time on a slightly opaque sapphire ring with printed Roman numerals. This ring is offset, just like on the closed-dial version. The hands are traditional “open-tipped” in blued steel – always a feast for the eye.
Let’s now move to the most important part of this watch: its openworked movement. The architecture of the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 is surprising, with a lot of free space available on the left side. To achieve this level of “openwork”, the gold plate and bridges have been hollowed to the max, following the shape of the technical elements, of the gear train and of the multiple jewels. The beauty truly lies in this play of moving parts and rubies, which are highlighted by an architecture almost as complex as a spiderweb. Only the necessary amount of material has been kept, resulting in a very transparent watch and movement.
This allows a view of some of the technical elements that are usually hidden in such a watch – but also some that do make a lot of sense here. For instance, the components of the peripheral winding mechanism, such as the ball bearings, are now fully visible. The movement has been decorated on the dial side with a guilloché pattern, a tribute to the classic Breguet design.
Beside this beautiful design, what really impressed us about the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 is the level of hand decoration. We’ve seen hundreds of watches here, at MONOCHROME, and this watch is one of the most impressive pieces we have encountered recently. Every single part of this movement has been lavishly finished, with stunning attention to details.
For instance, looking at the bridges on the back of the watch, you’ll see countless sharp internal angles. These can only be achieved by hand-polishing, with traditional techniques. The sharp edges are painstakingly chamfered by hand, using a file until a perfectly smooth and even 45-degree bevel is created. A similar decoration has been applied to the barrel drum, which has been opened with a series of round apertures. Significant engraving work is then carried out by hand for different inscriptions as well as borders to frame the holes. Really impressive work done by Breguet here!
Back to the movement itself, it retains the same specifications as the 5377 and 5367. The watch is wound by a peripheral rotor, visible on the back, which allows for thinness and an uncluttered view of the movement. The single barrel, also mounted on ball-bearing rollers, offers the Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 a comfortable 80-hour power reserve.
The pièce de résistance is, of course, the tourbillon beating on the dial side of the watch. Breguet chose to go for modern technical solutions. First, it beats at a high frequency of 4Hz – most tourbillons retain a 3Hz frequency – which implies better chronometry. This tourbillon is housed in a titanium cage and features modern, anti-magnetic parts, such as a lever escapement with silicon horns and a flat silicon balance spring.
The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 is worn on an alligator strap with a folding buckle matching the case. The pink gold version (5395BR/1S/9WU) will be priced at CHF 220,000. The platinum version (5395PT/RS/9WU) will be priced at CHF 235,000. More details at breguet.com.
Perhaps the photos don’t do it justice, but I think you would probably carry a pocket watch too in case you actually want to know the time. Just can’t see the point of skeleton watches!
I’m with you Phil. I like the IDEA of skeletons but have rarely seen one executed in a way which makes the case for one. This kind of piece needs some serious macro skills. I suspect it is a winner. But…..so much effort for “Ooh! Pretty!”
Skeleton is always “trying” to find more by using less. If you find Corum too clever, you probably won’t appreciate most of the other variants. Most are merely novelties that are just cool to look at. Some, like this Breguet, stand on their own skinny feet. My only minor quibble is that the hands get lost in all the revealed complexity. But what glorious complexity it is!