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BaselWorld 2014: Belles of the Fair: Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-plat Automatique

by Peter Chong on May 28, 2014

A. L. Breguet is the inventor of the tourbillon. And what more famous tourbillon maker today than his namesake brand: Breguet.

 

Now owned by the powerhouse Swatch Group, and a particular special interest of the late great Nicholas Hayek (Sr), and now under the watchful eye of his grandson Marc Hayek, the brand continues to flourish, and in our view, a worthy carrier of the flag of Breguet, who has been attributed to many innovations in watchmaking. The most important, being the Hayeks have decided to keep the visual appeal of original Breguets. The beautiful guilloché dial, the magnificent case with coin edged fluting. Very beautiful. And of course, the tradition of making fine tourbillons.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-plat Automatique 5377. Ultra flat, Breguet claims to be the thinnest automatic tourbillon in production.

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-plat Automatique 5377. Ultra flat, Breguet claims to be the thinnest automatic tourbillon in production. The movement is only 3mm thick, in a 7mm case.

 

The beautifully machined guilloché is present. Brilliant and magnificent. The dial layout is also typical of those made in Breguet’s day, including what was known as the secret signature, and the serial number on the dial. A. L. Breguet was one of the first watchmakers to put a maker’s mark on his watch to fight counterfeight.

 

The Breguet dial. Note the  method in which the tourbillon bridge is attached to the dial.  Typically there would be a screw attachment, but in this case not.

The Breguet dial. Note the method in which the tourbillon bridge is attached to the dial. Typically there would be a screw attachment, but in this case not. The hours and minutes chapter is enhanced by a clou de Paris hobnail pattern edged by a barleycorn motif. The power-reserve indicator at 8:30 is decorated with engine-turned strait chevrons, while each element has a cross-hatched border.

 

The movement is the caliber 581DR, beating at 4Hz, quite high for a tourbillon, and with a power reserve of 90 hours. The extra flatness of a mere 3mm thickness is achieved by the use of a peripheral rotor.

 

The Breguet caliber 581DR.

The Breguet caliber 581DR. The bridges are beautifully shaped, with hand engraved markings. The number of jewels is rather unusually high, with 42, and from just examining the movement from the sapphire caseback, seem like some of these jewels are decorative. But we are not able to confirm until we see the technical drawings of the movement. Note also the peripheral rotor, and the engagement teeth of as the C shaped rotor swings around.

 

The tourbillon case is in titanium with silicon and non magnetic steel.

 

Detail of the tourbillon. Showing the beautiful finishing. Edges are polished nicely and catch the light, providing a sparkle, especially as the tourbillon cage goes around.

Detail of the tourbillon. Showing the beautiful finishing. Edges are polished nicely and catch the light, providing a sparkle, especially as the tourbillon cage goes around. Note also the skeletonized bridges presumably to reduce the weight of the tourbillon carriage.

 

The coin edged fluted sides, showing also the thinness of the case at only 7mm.

The coin edged fluted sides, showing also the thinness of the case at only 7mm.

 

On the wrist the 42mm case feels very nice, elegant.

 

The 42mm case is comfortable on the wrist, and the ultra flat status means the watch is discrete, and perfect as a dress watch.

The 42mm case is comfortable on the wrist, and the ultra flat status means the watch is discrete, and perfect as a dress watch.

 

 

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