From the headquarters in Le Brassus, we encountered the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Squelette 5395 during the Time to Move visit. Here is our hands on, detailed review.
The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Squelette 5395 is an extension to the beautiful Classique Tourbillon which we fell in love in our full review of the enamel dialed version here. We had also reviewed the version of this movement with a power reserve indicator here which is housed in a guilloche dialed version. The new Squelette seeks to remove some 50% of the mass of the movement, while retaining the integrity and the stiffness required for proper operations of this tourbillon wristwatch.
Breguet Classique Tourbillon Squelette 5395
Two versions are announced. One in a rose gold case, and the other in a platinum case. Both are housed in the sleek, stylish case design which Breguet calls Classique, which, in our opinion is true to its name.
The case, dial and hands
Our hands on review sample is the rose gold edition. The Breguet Classique is a standard round case, with a small bezel which is rounded and poilished. It houses the signature coin edged case sides. The four lugs appear straight from the frontal dial view which is soldered directly onto the case middle. The case is, as the name intends for it to be, very classical. Both in proportions and in the design. Aesthetically pleasing.
The dial itself is almost non existant. The entire dial is a pierced sapphire disc bearing the printed Roman numerals and minute dot markers, and only covers a ring like peripheral around the watch face. As a result, the entire movement is visible from the dial side.
As the movement began its life as a full movement, and Breguet sought to skeletonize it by removing material, the layout is somewhat fixed by the earlier application. This kind of open-worked watch is not the same as those which feature an open-worked design to start with.
As a result, the C581 base movement used is subject to intense scrutiny by the watchmakers as the skeletonizing expert takes on the task to remove as much material from the bridges as possible without compromising rigidity. And to do it in an aesthetically pleasing way. To this end, it is clear from our photographs here, they have achieved this magnificently. The bridges feature haute horlogerie elements like sharp inward and outward angles, as well as allowing an unprecedented view of the magnificent tourbillon.
The entire ensemble’s aesthetic is light and very appealing, and as much as the enamel dialed Ref. 5367 seems almost perfect to our eyes, so does this. Can perfection be represented in two ways?
The movement: Caliber 581SQ
The lack of a dial and a sapphire glass case back means that the movement is visible from both the front and the back, allowing a unique opportunity for the watch to be completely see-through on some parts.
From the back, we are greeted with this beautiful view of the Caliber 581SQ. As mentioned this is a variant of the 581 used in the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5377 and the Classique Tourbillon Automatique 5367.
The Caliber 581 claims to fame by being very thin, being only 3mm thick. As mentioned, some 50% of the movement mass is removed by the skeletoning process. For example from the dial side, the entire space between 7 and 10 is essentially negative space with only a bridge crossing at 9 bearing the inscription “Breguet 1980”. In the Power reserve model – the C.581DR, this houses the power reserve mechanism.
The C581 houses many Breguet inventions and patents, the movement also uses an inverted lateral lever escapement with silicon horns, silicon balance spring and a tourbillon with titanium carriage. A peripheral rotor is also fitted so that a full view of the movement is afforded from the back as well as from the front.
The tourbillon itself is magnificent, and as with the earlier editions, the tourbillon bridge is superbly done. Straight as an arrow, it features beautifully anglaged sides, sharp inward angles and a mirror polished surface.
The skeleton process also introduces many opportunities for the craftsmen to show their skills in the inward and outward anglage applied to the bridges, and is carried over to the Breguet logo on the deployant buckle.
This is a magnificent example of how a manufacture can leverage on their signature complication and their capabilities in combining the technical with the artistic to good effect. The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Squelette 5395 is every bit as beautiful as her cousins before, viz the Ref. 5377 which is adorned with another Breguet signature – the guilloche dial, and the Ref. 5367 with a grand feu enamel dial.
The price is set rather fairly, in our opinion, but at more than CHF 220,000 it is not for the common man. It is for those who seek the grandeur of a tourbillon bearing the name of its inventor, and one from a manufacture who continues to keep the traditions and quality of the magnificent bloodline.