Constantly pushing the envelope and never resting on their laurels has been a way of life for the House of Breguet ever since Abraham-Louis Breguet founded it in 1775. One of the preeminent watchmakers of his generation, A-L Breguet epitomised the highest levels of excellence in his chosen profession and many of his innovations form the bedrock of horlogerie in the contemporary context.
The tourbillion is one such invention. Created to counter the effect of gravity on timepieces, which were worn vertically at the time, Breguet incorporated the balance wheel and spring as also the escapement in a mobile casing that rotated on itself. The name tourbillion was devised by the master watchmaker to denote the double rotation of this cage and its parts. It was also a reference to an ancient notion of a planetary system rotating on a single axis.
The tourbillion was revolutionary and it has transcended time to stay as relevant in modern times as it was more than 220 years ago. Now, the House Of Breguet has taken it further with the new Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 and that truly makes it a source of wonder. The finesse of the 581 caliber has been a great source of pride and joy for Breguet enabling them to make bold technical advances in previous creations. Its new avatar in the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 takes away nearly 50 per cent of the material from the movement without compromising the build. The skeletal design of the watch within an 18-karat gold caliber literally defines the limits of what is possible and is a worthy indicator of the exceptional craftsmanship of Breguet watchmakers.
The extra-thin 581 caliber is a masterpiece of watchmaking. With a thickness of three millimeters, it holds the enviable distinction of being one of the finest self-winding tourbillion movements in the world. It was not a feat easily achieved and required a complete rethink of the tourbillon. The rotor, for instance, was place on the periphery of the plate which allowed Breguet to save on the thickness while ensuring a clear view of the mechanism at the same time. The silicon escapement has also been given a distinct angled shape which saves on space considerably and creates a unique structure of which Breguet is the only series manufacturer.
That is not to say that the Squelette 5395 compromises aesthetics in favour of technology. A-L Breguet had established an abiding tradition where cutting-edge technology and exceptional aesthetics combined to create masterworks. That tradition is gloriously alive at the House Of Breguet. The watch features outstanding decoration and finishing. The guilloche design features Clous de Paris hobnailing which has been created using a diamond-tipped guilloche tool in a technique that allows no margin for imperfections.
The sapphire dial features applied hour markers in blued gold and the entire masterpiece sits in a fluted case topped with a domed glass box which reveals the movement. A breathtaking wonder which not only honours the illustrious Breguet legacy, it updates it for a new context.