Thursday, October 22

Introducing the new Breguet Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge Ref. 5345 with insider commentary

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Breguet refreshes its Double Tourbillon connection with pure virtuosity in the new Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge Ref. 5345. Here is the release information, including prices and our insider commentary.

The new Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge Reference 5345 retails for CHF 628,000 inclusive of Swiss taxes.

Press Release with Commentary in italics.

Commentary

This is not the first Breguet Double Tourbillon. The movement – the Cal. 588N was introduced in the first Double Tourbillon in 2006. We reviewed a version here, back in 2012:

Breguet Double Tourbillon Ref. 5347

The Ref 5347 is still in the current Breguet catalog and is available in 4 dial/case variants, prices from CHF 400,000 to CHF 450,000. A further reference which is gemset, the Ref. 5349 (CHF 820,000 in platinum) is also in the current catalog. The Ref. 5349 has been spotted on the wrist of Cristiano Renaldo in an advertisement for his CF7 Play it Cool perfume.

The movement remains the same as with earlier renditions of the Breguet Double Tourbillons. The same magnificent, ultra complicated layout of the double gear train driving the two tourbillons via a differential remains unchanged. As with the earlier versions the hour hand is driven directly by the differential, and the minutes are a derivation via a secondary train not in the power flow. This same power source drives the entire platform which the movement is set, enabling it to make a complete revolution once every 12 hours. Some other maker might be tempted to call this a third tourbillon, as the entire dial platform, carrying both tourbillons itself makes complete revolutions (once every 12 hours), but not Breguet who sticks to the traditional. We know, we asked them if they should call this a triple tourbillon. After mulling it over for a while, and agreeing that it is a possible interpretation, they said they preferred to just stick with Double Tourbillon. In comparison, the Gruebel Forsey Quadruple Tourbillon is two Double Tourbillons driven by a differential. We also note that sister company Blancpain’s Tourbillon Carrousel is a model which features a tourbillon and a caroussel which is driven via a differential. We also note that a caroussel is not driven in the power flow of the time keeping train, and when you stop the caroussel, the movement continues to beat, though will not keep good time. But when you stop a tourbillon, as it is driven by the power flow of the train, the movement stops.

Also, in the Ref. 5345, the movement undergoes further customization, and is skeletonized and hand engraved, and comes without a classical dial. The 5347 has a guilloche dial, which is also available in red or blue translucent enamel, and the 5349 is delivered with a gemset dial. The case is also different, in that the 5345 has the raised, almost dome shaped sapphire glass, and a ultra-thin bezel, and various other artisanal detailing which is different from its forebears.

We look forward to viewing and handling the Ref. 5345 when it arrives on our shores to bring you our detailed hands-on report with our own photographs.

Breguet Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge Ref. 5345

This new model blends mechanical virtuosity with aesthetic mastery: entirely exhibited, the movement reveals two tourbillons that set the whole plate in motion through a central differential. Each component is hand-finished, while the back of the movement is engraved with the “House on the Quai”, the Parisian building where Abraham-Louis Breguet fulfilled his life’s work.

The new Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge model houses a monumental movement in the proportions of a watch. Working with very limited space, the Breguet Manufacture has built a complex and harmonious universe that seemingly defies the laws of physics. Like a delicately chased sculpture, the entire exposed mechanism pivots around its axis at the rate of one full turn every 12 hours. It is propelled by two independent tourbillons, which each complete a full rotation per minute. In this way, the interconnected regulating organs perform a double revolution, simultaneously driving the tourbillon bar: the signature hours hand. It is a remarkable display, featuring a number of components made of gold, as were those of grand complication movements back in their day – a tradition that has now been all but lost; one that the House of Breguet endeavors to perpetuate, as it does its specialist artisan techniques.

This watch is a stunning display of Breguet’s expert craftsmanship – in particular the engraving on the back, which depicts the house that Abraham-Louis Breguet acquired on Quai de l’Horloge in Paris.

Indeed, it was at this inspiring address, nestled between the artisans of the Ile de la Cité, that the master watchmaker invented the mechanism that would become globally renowned and endure throughout the centuries. At a time when timepieces were worn vertically in the waistcoat pocket, Breguet strove to devise a way of negating the effects of Earth’s gravity, which was impacting on 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 carriage rotating on itself. The master devised the name tourbillon for this double rotation of the cage and its parts, in reference to the long-forgotten notion of a planetary system. Genius in principle and captivating in operation, the invention remains the preserve of the House of Breguet, conferring a truly special originality

Mechanical Ingenuity

The timekeeping parts of this Double Tourbillon 5345 are, incidentally, very similar technically to the original creation. The steel balance springs are endowed with the characteristic terminal curve, allowing for concentric development of the spring. It was a solution devised by the founder himself, which has since become known as the Breguet overcoil. Even now, the balance spring is still shaped by hand, while the different calibrations are also done manually, such as balancing the tourbillon cages. These carriages are the only ones in the current collection that feature a framework in black-polished steel – the highest degree of finishing in fine horology.

The two mechanical hearts beat independently from one another, each driven by their own barrel. However, the two oscillating organs are coupled with a second pair of wheels, revolving in the central differential. This double-entry mechanism is able to determine the average rate of the tourbillons, allowing for the oscillating plate to be set in motion at the rate of one full rotation every 12 hours. As for the minutes indication, it is a classic hand in the center. The entire mechanism is equipped with a system to minimize play in the wheels, ensuring a perfectly precise display.


This spectacular staging makes this caliber one of the most complex systems ever developed by the Breguet Manufacture. Its mobile nature, for example, forced the engineers to entirely review the manual winding mechanism, which now relies on independent wheel trains. One of the two barrels is equipped with a friction bridle, similar to those used on self-winding watches. This astute construction allows the spring to disengage once coiled, until the second barrel is fully wound. Lastly, the crown employs a dynamometric security system, which prevents excessive winding of the springs.

Artistic Craftsmanship

The expertise of the art of watchmaking is never without aesthetic virtuosity at Breguet. Presented for the first time in 2006, the Double Tourbillon is now liberated from the dial, revealing itself in all of its mechanical beauty. Stylised and rounded, the barrel bridges in steel take on the form of the letter B. All the components are meticulously straight-grained, chamfered, and even satin-brushed by hand. A true signature of the House, the handengraving on a rose engine (guilloché work) finds a new field of expression on the movement, replacing the traditional circular graining. Laid bare as it is, the caliber exposes the inner flank of the caseband, from which the hand-engraved Roman numerals stand out echoing in their design those of the sapphire hours chapter.


Yet the unique character of this timepiece is fully revealed on its back. The treasures of mechanical ingenuity assembled for the movement leave in their wake timeless poetry. The timepiece is completed with an engraving, crafted by the artisans of the Manufacture, featuring the facade of the building occupied by Abraham-Louis Breguet from 1775 onward, at 39 Quai de l’Horloge, Paris. Etched into gold, the work abounds in such meticulous detail that through the windowpanes a glimpse may be caught of the wheels of the caliber. A window into two worlds of true excellence.

 

Breguet Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge Specifications

REF. 5345PT/1S/7XU
Round platinum case with finely fluted caseband. Sapphire-crystal caseback. Sapphire glass box of high transparency. Diameter: 46 mm. Thickness: 16.8 mm. Rounded welded lugs with screw bars.
Sapphire dial. Individually numbered and signed Breguet. Hours chapter with Roman numerals. Open-tipped Breguet minutes hand in blued steel. Blued-steel hours hand extending along the bar supporting the two tourbillons.
Manually wound mechanical movement. Cal. 588N, numbered and signed Breguet. Two tourbillons mounted on a revolving main plate hand-engraved on a rose engine. The two regulating organs are coupled to a differential that determines the average rate. Complete revolution of the main plate in 12 hours. 50-hour power reserve. 16½ lignes. 81 jewels. 738 components. Breguet balance springs. Frequency 2.5 hertz. Monometallic balance wheels with gold screws. Adjusted in 6 positions. On the reverse side of the movement, an engraving carried out by hand depicts the building on Quai de l’Horloge in Paris.
“Stone” strap, natural slate on rubber. Triple folding clasp in platinum.

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