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BREGUET

BREGUET

 

CLASSIQUE 5317 TOURBILLON

Breguet’s Classique 5317 celebrates the centuries-old union of peerless watchmaking and the finest mechanical mastery.

Till this day, watchmakers approach building a Grande Complication with few illusions as to the magnitude of the challenge with regards to the technical difficulties challenging both their skill and their powers of invention.

For centuries, scientists and philosophers had used the term Tourbillon to refer to the regular rotation of planets around the sun, despite the world Tourbillon, or whirlwind, being somewhat of a misnomer for the ordered regularity of the universe. Like astronomy, watchmaking has precise and structured systems, so it was unsurprising that A.-L. Breguet borrowed the term to name one of the most significant advances in the industry’s history. In fact, Breguet had created his own little whirlwind, a mechanism that “shook up” the ordered components in a watch to ensure perfect timing.

 

Like astronomy, watchmaking has precise and structured systems, so it was unsurprising that A.-L. Breguet borrowed the term to name one of the most significant advances in the industry’s history. In fact, Breguet had created his own little whirlwind, a mechanism that “shook up” the ordered components in a watch to ensure perfect timing.


Before Breguet’s invention of the Tourbillon, timepieces were notoriously inaccurate. Gravity negatively influenced their regularity by altering the rate every time a watch changed position.

 

Well schooled in mathematics and science, Breguet was determined to find a solution. Where other watchmakers had failed, Breguet turned theory upside down; deciding that if he couldn’t fight gravity, he would work with it. He realized that if he could fit the various components of the escapements (the balance wheel, lever and escape wheel - the parts most susceptible to gravity) inside a mobile carriage that could then complete a full rotation, the device would eliminate rate defects by having them effectively neutralize each other. In essence, his invention cancelled the negative effects of gravity.

Recognizing that watches could now run with far greater accuracy, in 1801 Breguet applied to the French government for a patent in the following terms: “I have the honor of conveying to you a note containing details of a new invention which can be used with timepieces”. The Paris authorities swiftly granted him a 10-year patent. So challenging were the mechanical skills involved that when the patent expired, only the very best watchmakers were able to construct the Tourbillon.

That level of attention and intelligence in design innovation has since drove the brand forward. Thinking and working in four dimensions, generations of Breguet watchmakers have driven their art to new heights, turning out minute repeaters, perpetual calendar watches and tourbillon designs. Several patents have honoured their innovative spirit and their brilliant research in these fields.

 

Crafted in yellow gold, pink gold or platinum, the case reveals a gold dial engine-turned by hand in a conventional hobnail pattern. The sundial of the power-reserve indicator is aligned in perfect symmetry with the tourbillon and is engine-turned in a wave pattern in the purest tradition of Breguet’s watchmaking art.


Breguet’s power of invention completely changed the nature of watchmaking, and the Tourbillon was undoubtedly a measure of his genius. However, the Tourbillon mechanism was not an isolated breakthrough. Breguet had a long list of developments to his credit, including the perpetual or selfwinding watch, the gong spring for minute repeaters, a shockproof suspension device, a new overcoil spiral that is still used nowadays in most mechanical watches and the precursor of today’s chronograph.

These technologies made its way into wristwatches at the turn of the 20th century and gained incredible popularity in the 1980s alongside a renaissance of mechanical timekeeping. However, despite these advancements, the classic Tourbillon regulator still manages to fascinate.

As a celebratory tribute to the centuries-old, sublime union of peerless watchmaking and finest mechanical mastery, the Classique 5317 puts a tourbillon, activated by an automatic movement, in place of honor. Crafted in yellow gold, pink gold or platinum, the case reveals a gold dial engine-turned by hand in a conventional hobnail pattern. The sundial of the power-reserve indicator is aligned in perfect symmetry with the tourbillon and is engine-turned in a wave pattern in the purest tradition of Breguet’s watchmaking art.

 

 

The central hours and minutes, the tourbillon at 6 o'clock and the power-reserve indicator at 12 o'clock tell the time with elegance and harmony. The beauty of the movement, entirely engraved by hand, can be seen through the transparent caseback.

 
October 1, 2013