Breguet marks the 220th anniversary of arguably the greatest complications in watchmaking of all times: the Tourbillon. In celebration of this breakthrough, the French luxury watch brand debuted the new Breguet Double Tourbillon Ref. 5345.
First announced in September 2020, the new reference boasts two independent tourbillons, a skeletonized dial delivered in a platinum case. True to the brand’s promise, it’s just twice as spectacular. In this article, we’re retracing the history of the tourbillon and taking a closer look at the latest in Breguet watches.
What Is The Tourbillon and How Did It Change The Watchmaking Industry?
Now 220 years old, the tourbillon is one of the most complex mechanisms ever manufactured. It is an addition to the mechanics of a watch escapement designed to solve a problem in time-keeping through the application of physics: accuracy. It has become a complication that challenges watchmakers and fascinates watch fans to this day.
It was in 1801, post-revolutionary France, when Abraham-Louis Breguet, was granted the patent for the tourbillon for 10 years. He was the founder of the watch company that is still at the forefront of luxury watchmaking to this day.
The powerhouse of a mechanical watch is housed in what is called the escapement. It consists of a fragile hairspring mounted on a balance wheel that rotates back and forth. Each rotation equates to a tick. However, the rate at which it ticks is dependent on its position. In a standard mechanical watch where the escapement is fixed, it’s impossible to regulate its rate and maintain accuracy.
In a tourbillon, the escapement is not fixed and is instead housed in a rotating cage where it’s constantly moving. It means regardless of what position the watch is in—crown up, down, dial up, or down—it will not affect the accuracy of the timepiece. This impressive engineering has been valuable in aviation and maritime navigation where their success largely depends on the efficiency of watches.
LOOK: The New Breguet Double Tourbillon Ref. 5345
The tourbillon is one of the trademarks of Breguet and is proof of the founder’s technical skills and creative thinking. It was in 2006 when the brand released the first Double Tourbillon, the Ref. 5347 that boasts over 570 parts. It remains in its catalog to this day and is available in four variants, with prices averaging from $400,000 to $500,000.
There’s also the Double Tourbillon Ref. 5349 which has a total of 30 carats of stones set in platinum. Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo was seen wearing this prestigious watch in a perfume advertisement.
Case, Dial, and Movement
The 2021 version of the Double Tourbillon, called The Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge, is the most impressive by far and just appropriately, given that it celebrates the 220th anniversary of the complication. It is presented in a massive 46mm case, with soldered platinum lugs and a bezel that is almost indistinguishable from the front view. The case has a coin edge pattern on the side—a Breguet signature.
The brand has skeletonized the dial to allow a full display of the mechanics housed within. What you’ll only see is a peripheral metal ring, the hand-engraved Roman numeral hour markers, and dots for the minutes. There’s also an engraving on the back of the watch illustrating the house that Breguet acquired in Paris.
The power train of both the tourbillons, from barrel to the cage is visible through the sapphire crystal glass. The watch retains the same movement used with earlier versions of the Breguet Double Tourbillon, the Calibre 588 N that boasts a 50-hour power reserve.
The Double Tourbillon
Both the tourbillon is equally impressive. The first is held in place by a blued steel arm which rotates every 12 hours and becomes the hour hand, and the other with a steel arm, serving as a counterweight. The double barrels are each covered with a carved B logo. With a retail price of approximately $700,000, this watch is executed to perfection, making it worth every dollar.
A Breguet Double Tourbillon Watch For You
The company has brought about the golden age of horology. While you don’t have to look far to find a tourbillon these days—with practically every luxury brand creating their version of this complication—it’s quite hard to find one that offers the same architecture as Breguet. This is particularly true with the double tourbillon.
None is equal to the namesake of the inventor of the tourbillon, and the history and heritage that go alongside it. To be able to afford wearing one is an instant display of power and wealth, probably even more so with any other luxury product. There’s no denying that it’s twice as spectacular as any other tourbillon watch, and many would argue that it’s even more than double.
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