In two earlier Breguet reviews, we were all rave over the Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087 and the Tradition Chronographe Indépendant 7077. Just when we thought Breguet has done everything right, we meet this Breguet Marine Chronographe “200 Ans De Marine” 5823.
But before we cast our opinions, here’s the official story: On October 27th 1815, Abraham-Louis Breguet was appointed chronometer-maker to the French royal navy by King Louis XVIII. It was not only a prestigious honour but also an essential state function. At that time, marine chronometers were of vital importance to fleets as they could determine the position of ships at sea. They had to be accurate and resist the constant movement of a ship. Involved in this task, Breguet designed a number of outstanding marine chronometers. They were mounted on special boxes made of mahogany or walnut wood. A gimbal suspension system kept the chronometers level whatever the circumstances. The Marine collection recalls that period of the company’s history and meets the demands of today’s clients. The tough and dynamic looks of the Marine watches are the result of a contemporary design that retains some of the brand’s stylistic features. To mark the bicentenary of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s appointment as chronometer-maker to the navy, the Manufacture has produced a most exclusive chronograph — the Marine Chronographe reference 5823 “200 ans de Marine”. This self-winding watch is limited to 200 copies and is distinguished by its platinum case. Furthermore, its hand-guilloché gold oscillating weight features a two-tone black and rhodiumed exterior. The gold dial, in matt black, indicates the hours and minutes, with the chronograph seconds and minutes hands in the centre. This limited edition is further equipped with two subdials, one at 9 o’clock for the running seconds and the other at 6 o’clock for the chronograph hours counter. A dates aperture, also at 6 o’clock completes the indications. The 42mm-diameter watch is delivered on a black rubber strap.
Breguet does extremely well in watchmaking and we are firm believers of its abilities. As loudly proclaimed in our two earlier articles, we are highly fascinated by this brand’s ability to combine modernity and classicism. Modernity in advanced engineering and classicism in finishing, traditional aesthetics and a penchant for history making. In its own rights, this Chronographe is a respectable timepiece. It uses a lemania based movement, although not with a column wheel variant. Movement finishing is adequate for the price range. However, this Marine Chronographe seems lackluster in comparison to the earlier two.
Although we strive to be objective, here are some reasons for our prejudice. The Marine line comes across as a hybrid between sports and classic. While it tries to retain Breguet’s identity as a master watch brand, its hybrid state of mind confuses many. The first problem is the long angled lugs, second, the overtly decorated case. The side decoration and the wave shaped pushers maybe appealing to some but exaggerated to others.
That said, it’s redeeming features lie in its quality of movement and after all we have to understand that it is a product meant for a market segment known as Divers watches. Our first thoughts were of strange dislike, but after some pondering, we thought it unfair to compare a Marine line with the Tradition line. Although our predilection to Breguet’s Classic line is apparent, we must give some credit to it for managing a hybrid luxury divers, but ultimately, we would gladly choose the Tradition over a Marine anytime.
Case in 950 platinum with a delicately fluted caseband. Sapphire-crystal caseback. 42mm diameter. Welded lugs with screw bars. Water resistant to 10 bar (100m).
Dial in gold with a matt black surface, engine-turned. Individually numbered and signed Breguet. Hours chapter with luminescent dots and Roman numerals. Central chronograph seconds and minutes counter. Date at 6 o’clock. Breguet open-tipped and faceted hands 18-carat gold with luminous material.
Self-winding movement, numbered and signed Breguet. Cal. 583Q/1. 133/4 lignes, 24 jewels. 48 hours power reserve. 18-carat gold engine-turned rotor, two-tone black/rhodiumed. Inverted in-line lever escapement with silicon pallets. Annular balance on a flat spring. Balance frequency 4Hz. Adjusted in six positions. Rubber strap.
Limited-edition watch of 200 copies