By Harlan Chapman-Green
When a company decides to put a tourbillon in the watch it not only pushes up the price but also makes the watch that much more special. When companies decide to improve on the original tourbillon design with creations like the Gyrotourbillon they become even more special. When Breguet decides to put two tourbillons in one watch, it becomes legendary.
You see, back in the very late 1700s Abraham Louis Breguet (the founder of Breguet watches and also known as the grandfather of watches too) decided that he wanted to work on a mechanism that could combat the effects that gravity has on the movement in a watch. As such, he decided to place the escapement inside a rotating metal cage. This means that as the watch moves around when the wrist changes position the accuracy of the watch remains constant, however, the effectivity of this mechanism today is debated.
Most watches only put one tourbillon in, however putting two tourbillons in has been done in the past. The difference here is that the company whose founder created the tourbillon has put two of it’s in house made tourbillons into the same watch. Every part of the watch is hand made with each tourbillon taking over 100 hours to create, sculpt and test. The dial is engine turned completely by hand and be under no illusions that engine turning is easy to do because it’s not. Not to mention the fact that this is done on a much smaller scale than in other applications meaning that there’s little room for error plus each tourbillon has the engine turning radiating out from it which is exceptionally challenging to create. The bridge that line the two tourbillons on the dial also supports the hour and minute hand in the middle. This watch has no seconds hand, but we can live with that because instead the plate that the tourbillons are mounted to rotates once every twelve hours. We decided that this is an acceptable switch.
The case of the watch features the signature Breguet coin edging around the sides to create a unique feel and look, especially when under the right lighting conditions. The case is also waterproof enough to avoid malfunction when accidentally splashed by a tap. Looking to the rear of the watch there’s a sapphire caseback so we can see the other side of the movement which is engraved with a representation of the solar system.
The Breguet Classique Complications Double Tourbillon is available in either solid platinum with or without diamonds or just simple pink gold, however, there’s an enormous waiting list as Breguet only makes one of these per year and they take all year to complete. The price tag is also enormous at around EUR480,000 per piece. If you want a practical complication watch then this isn’t it. What I can say, however, is that that was definitely the first time I’ve ever seen the words practical and complication watch appear in the same sentence. I’m sorry, it will never happen again. On the plus side, there’s no tourbillon watch quite like this one and it’s possible one of the only watches that I don’t feel is overpriced. For more info, please visit breguet.com
Harlan Chapman-Green – Contributing Editor
First introduced to horology with the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 by his father two years ago, Harlan enjoys his passion for fine horology. He prefers to spend his time in the boutiques of upmarket brands, trying out new pieces constantly. His preferred 3 brands are A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin. Although not much for the smaller brands, he still finds the complications intriguing and wishes to own one watch from each of his three favourites. Read his articles here.