Recently, Breguet sent a reminder to the world: the manufacture had always been involved into innovation and will always be. This reminder came in early November 2014, as Breguet won the much cherished top prize at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève, a.k.a. the GPHG, with a superb and truly modern watch, the Classique Chronometrie 7727. Another Breguet was nominated (in the tourbillon category), a timepiece that shares the same innovative spirit, the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Thin Automatic 5377. We had the chance to get our hands-on with this stunning timepiece.
This watch may be extremely classical design-wise, it has to be seen as the pure definition of a Breguet. The visuals are indeed typically Breguet – fluted case, engine-turned dial, soldered lugs or open-tipped blued hands are here – and so is the movement. Just keep in mind that some of the greatest inventions in watchmaking are due to Abraham Louis Breguet: the tourbillon, the first wristwatch in 1812, the first use of rubies in watchmaking… This inventive spirit is part of the brand’s DNA and thus, all the new editions are still superb example of tradition mixed with advanced research.
Behind the name ‘Classique’ hides a very intriguing movement. Tourbillon movements are always slightly thicker than usual movements, due to the size of the cage, and this is even more pronounced when it’s an automatic movement. A very good example of an ultra-thin tourbillon is the Arnold & Son UTTE. Its movement measures only 2.97mm and the case 8.34mm. However, the record goes to the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Tourbillon, with a movement measuring only 1.95mm in height while the entire watch is just 5.00 mm. Yes, but keep in mind that the Breguet comes with an automatic movement. Now the proportions are becoming quite interesting, as the movement measures 3mm and the case 7mm. How did Breguet manage to do that?
The solution is quite simple (on paper of course). Instead of having a central rotor and a winding mechanism located on the top of the movement, the Breguet Tourbillon Extra-Thin Automatic 5377 comes with a peripheral rotor and a mechanism located on the side of the movement. The added thickness due to the automatic system is thus cancelled out. From the back of the watch, we can admire an amazing engraving work on the bridges and multiple visible jewels (14 of them to be precise). The finishing is classical, maybe quite loaded for such a technical watch but remains extremely impressive. Of course, the edges of the bridges are angled and all the elements are hand-finished.
Another piece of interest is the Tourbillon. Breguet invented it and now, they have improved it (again). It has a titanium cage (patented) and features a silicon balance spring and other parts of the escapement are made in ‘anti-magnetic steel’. Thus, it has the anti-magnetic properties that modern times demand. It also runs fast at 4Hz – a common beat rate for a classical watch but not for a tourbillon, usually beating at 2.5Hz or 3Hz. In watchmaking, the faster the balance wheel oscillates, the more precisely it can be adjusted (in theory). Combined with the effects of a tourbillon on accuracy, this watch should be quite precise (if well adjusted of course). This fast rate has however a drawback: consumption of energy will be higher, so the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Thin Automatic 5377 has been fitted with a patented ‘high-energy’ main spring barrel, which provides 80 hours of power reserve – impressive considering the thinness of this watch.
Concerning the design of the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Thin Automatic 5377, we can easily recognize it as a Breguet. We told you how it comes with all the classical features of the brand, the ‘Unmistakable Signs’. Besides being extremely traditional, these features create a unique atmosphere imbued with an astonishing elegance. The slightly off-centered dial, the large power-reserve indicator, the iconic hands are mixed with a very modern and technical tourbillon’s cage. It could have been odd but the result is superb. The 42mm are absolutely no problem in this context and the watch remains both very comfortable and discreet. The dial, with its 4 different patterns is, as always with Breguet, a piece of art (hobnail pattern for the hours and minutes chapter, a barleycorn surround, a straight chevron pattern for the power-reserve indicator and a cross-hatching to outline each indication). Last detail: instead of a ruby, in the center of the tourbillon bridge hides a blue sapphire.
The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Thin Automatic 5377 proves that Breguet knows how to keep its (technical) pioneer spirit alive, together with its traditional design clues. Alongside the awarded Classique Chronometrie 7727, this watch represents the future intentions of an iconic brand.
The Tourbillon Extra-Thin Automatic 5377 is available in 18k Pink Gold (Price: around 127,000 euros) and in Platinum (Price: around 140,000 euros).