BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
If you’ve been intently following my work over the last few years (and if you haven’t been doing that, then why not?) you’ll probably know that Breguet is my favourite watchmaker and that their Classique Complications Double Tourbillon is my all-time favourite wristwatch. I love how elegant the dial looks, with the two tourbillons orbiting each other for an eternity while the hands are based on the bridge that connects the tourbillons. Well, now Breguet has decided that the watch Harlan really wants is the new Classique Double Tourbillon 5345 Quai De L’Horloge.
That beautiful hand-guilloche’d dial has been cut away entirely, leaving only the hours and minutes track at the edge of the dial behind. That means you’re able to observe a lot more of the mechanism than you could before (if you want to see even more of that mechanism, then the Naked Watchmaker did an excellent deconstruction of one for his website).
Let’s be clear, though, that Breguet didn’t just throw away the dial. They also went to town on the finishing and overall design of the movement underneath. As with any watch when it’s been skeletonised, be it a Zenith Defy or a Royal Oak, special care has to be taken that the movement can function identically to the non-skeletonised version and that it is beautiful from all angles.
Breguet achieves this balance with a mixture of polishing, brushing, engraving and blue details such as the Breguet hands. You can see inside the twin mainspring barrels, which orbit along with the tourbillons, but they now have an exquisite B logo on top of them to add some pizazz. You can also see the various wheels coupling the tourbillons to the rotating dial and the hands. Encircling the dial are two layers of guilloché, and a sapphire crystal hours and minutes track helps you read the time. The view of the front is stunning, topped off by the sapphire crystal, which is domed and adds a layer of depth to the design while allowing more light into the case.
Around the back, the view is equally stunning. On the older versions of this watch, Breguet staff hand engrave a beautiful night sky scene with planets and stars, and the wheels of the movement are visible in the centre. Here, the view is very much down-to-Earth, as the entire caseback is dedicated to a hand engraving of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s manufacture at 39 Quai de l’Horloge in Paris. If you observe the back of the watch closely, you can see the wheels of the movement through the windows of Breguet’s manufacture. Click here to see more about Breguet’s finishing and detailing of this movement.
If you want the technical specs, here they are. The watch case is made of platinum and measures in at 46.0mm in diameter and 16.8mm in thickness. The calibre 588N inside this watch is comprised of 738 individual components, and the balance wheels inside the tourbillons both beat at a leisurely 2.5Hz for a total run time of 50 hours. There are 81 jewels in this piece, and the balance springs use a Breguet overcoil to assist in making the watch more accurate. It’s presented on a rubber strap with a grey stone-like appearance and blue sides, but the watch isn’t water-resistant, so it’s not an haute-horlogerie sports watch. This watch takes a long time to make, so while Breguet hasn’t limited the number of examples it will make, getting one of these still won’t be easy. The price tag sits at $631,000.
Can we go back to appreciating how beautiful this is now please? It pains me that I can’t try one of these out, but that’s just something to look forward to. They say you should never meet your heroes, but I wore the Double Tourbillon 5347 for a bit in the boutique on Bond Street for a few minutes, and it was the best watch encounter I’ve ever had.