Celebrating 220 Years Of The Tourbillon With The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Ex

Celebrating 220 Years Of The Tourbillon With The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365

In the waning days of 2021, just before the end of a triumphant year for Breguet, we had the chance to sit down with the brand’s newly appointed CEO Lionel a Marca and discover the new Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365 along with other tourbillon references that add to Breguet’s rich history.

By Marco Gabella
Chairman & Executive Publisher

Recently, at Breguet’s Geneva boutique located at 40 Rue du Rhone, we had the opportunity to discover one of the 35 sold-out Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365 pieces. But we also had the pleasure of meeting with the brand’s recently appointed CEO, Lionel a Marca, who joined the brand from Blancpain.

I’m not sure which I enjoyed more, the watch or the discussion
with Mr. a Marca.

220 Years Of Abraham-Louis Breguet's Tourbillon Patent

Celebrating the 220th anniversary of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s Tourbillon patent is no small task. As Lionel a. Marca accurately confirmed, “At Breguet, I feel quite like a child in a huge toy shop.” We must admit that he is right. Abraham-Louis Breguet’s contribution to watchmaking is one of the biggest game-changers in the history of the watch industry.

With his book “The Art of Breguet” published in 1974, Georges Daniels pointed to a period when mechanical watchmaking was at a crossroads before fundamental innovations were imagined and executed by Abraham-Louis Breguet. Less than a generation after, with the rebirth of mechanical watchmaking in the 1990s, Breguet’s work and Daniels’ book have become mandatory study material for anyone wanting to learn the technics and skills of traditional watchmaking.

As the French Republican calendar was active in 1801, it was “7 Messidor An IX" (June 26) that Abraham-Louis Breguet secured in Paris his patent for a “watch compensating for all inequalities that may be found in the balance wheel and mainspring.” He named this invention the “Tourbillon Regulator” as the function of the mechanism had “successfully compensate[d] the anomalies arising from the different positions of the centers of gravity caused by a regulator movement.”

Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365

For such a remarkable life, it’s shocking that Abraham-Louis Breguet only produced 35 tourbillon watches in his lifetime. So naturally, the new Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365 is limited to just 35 pieces. This helps to explain why the ref. 5365 is already sold out. But a few pieces still need to be patiently produced and delivered, and we had the privilege of admiring one before it went to its buyer.

In The Metal

You don’t need to spend a long time admiring the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365 to understand that this is a piece of pure watchmaking, which efficiently pays tribute to Abraham-Louis Breguet’s design esthetic. Equipped with the calibre 581, introduced in 2018 for the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Flat Automatic 5367, the reference 5365 proposes one of the most contemporary Breguet movements with a 4.0 Hz tourbillon visible at five o’clock and a blued steel tourbillon bridge. As thin as the movement, the bridge looks like a stroke of a designer’s pen.

Despite the legendary Breguet Tradition Tourbillon Fusée 7047 referring to Breguet’s typical pocket watch architecture, the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365 more pays tribute to traditional Breguet finishing. In the spirit of a complete watchmaker, 17th and 18th-century watchmakers could conceive and produce all parts of their creations, including the case, dial, and hands.

Finding The Breguet Signatures

First, the dial includes two different handmade guilloche motifs. In the central part, a Clous de Paris pattern is engraved at just 0.25 millimeters of depth. The engraved motif looks like a uniform matte finishing at a normal viewing distance. That subtilty is definitely for the wearer's pleasure and refers directly to Breguet’s use of Guillochage.

As antireflection glasses didn’t exist at that time, the Guilloché pattern was primarily used to break solar reflections to visualize better Breguet's emblematic blued steel hands, called “Breguet hands” by the watch world even though other brands use them. The guilloche dial also has the added advantage of capturing dust that could interfere with the proper functioning of the watch.

The peripheral section of the dial has a perfectly adapted grain d’orge pattern playing with the asymmetric positioning of the hour chapter with Roman numerals.

Final Thoughts

The contemporary look of the tourbillon cage and minimalistic blued steel tourbillon bridge converges as textures meet fine finishing. The dial contrasts nicely with the elegant 41 millimeter rose gold case. The subtitle equilibrium of the whole execution is like a work of art.

With his first contribution to Breguet’s products as CEO, Lionel a Marca forms a great tandem with President Marc A. Hayek. The former watchmakers have worked at many stages of the Swatch Group. Lionel a Marca promises great millésimes for future Breguet creations.

Learn more at Breguet's website.

(Photography by Pierre Vogel)

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