Having unveiled mostly simpler watches in the year so far, like the new Tradition with retrograde date, Breguet is now launching something big, both mechanically and literally. The Classique Double Tourbillon 5345 Quai de l’Horloge is, admittedly, a heavily fancied up variant of an existing model, but in typical Breguet style, it is executed to a high level of fit and finish.
Originally launched in 2006 as the ref. 5347 with a guilloche dial (and subsequently as the ref. 5349 set with diamonds), the Classique Double Tourbillon has been refined and elaborated upon. It now boasts a skeletonised dial with upgraded decoration, hand-engraved bridges, as well as a thinner case band, but the watch remains enormous.
The original Double Tourbillon was enormous – 44 mm by 17.05 mm – with a tall, bulbous bezel that made it look even thicker. Named after the located of the original Breguet workshops in Paris, the new Double Tourbillon 5345 addresses that as much as possible by narrowing the bezel case band as much as possible, and instead using an highly-domed sapphire crystal that’s almost half the total height. It’s still a very large watch, but it looks less voluminous and massive, especially with the open-worked dial.
Decoration and materials are top class. There is a lot of decoration, but it goes well together, unlike on the original model. The decor seemed incongruous on the original Double Tourbillon, which had a guilloche dial and hand-engraved meteorite motif movement.
Breguet has steadily refined its movement finishing in recent years, and it shows. The open barrels, for instance, have hand-finished bevels with sharp, inward corners, while the movement bridges are solid gold and intricately hand engraved.
Although the double, extra-large “B” monograms on each of the barrels are impressively finished, the look is excessive. The watch would do very well with less branding.
And the price tag of about US$680,000 is hefty, but within the ballpark for a watch like this, making it reasonable, at least relative to the competition.
Double, orbital tourbillons
The key feature of the movement is the pair of one-minute tourbillons on the dial. Each is driven independently by its own mainspring, but both are linked by a differential in the centre of the dial that averages out the rate of the two.
The two tourbillons, in turn, are mounted on a rotating dial plate that makes one revolution every 12 hours, which is why the elongated tourbillon bridge spanning both tourbillons also doubles as the hour hand.
Both mainsprings also drive the rotating dial plate, which is why the watch has three going trains and a total part count of 738.
The decoration is extensive and numerous. Most of the movement components are finished by hand, particularly those visible on the front. Besides the hand-bevelled “B” barrels, the tourbillon bridge is black-polished steel with bevelled edges and bowl-shaped countersinks for the pivot jewels. And the hairsprings in each tourbillon – which are steel and not silicon – are formed by hand into a Breguet overcool.
All of the bridges on the back are solid gold, and engraved by hand to reproduce an 18th century print depicting 51, Quai de l’Horloge, where Abraham-Louis Breguet set up his workshop (although the building was renamed no. 39 in the 20th century). The engraving is complete with open windows on the building, as well as a lady looking out the window on the inset plate for the going train.
Key Facts and Price
Breguet Classique Complications Double Tourbillon 5345 ‘Quai de l’Horloge’
Diameter: 46 mm
Thickness: 16.8 mm
Water resistance: 30 m
Movement: Cal. 588N
Functions: Hours, minutes, and double, one-minute tourbillons on 12-hour rotating plate
Winding: Hand wind
Frequency: 18,000 beats per hour (2.5 Hz)
Power reserve: 50 hours
Strap: Rubber with slate stone upper with double-fold clasp
Availability: At Breguet boutiques starting October 2020
Price: 628,000 Swiss francs
For more information, visit Breguet.com.
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