The tourbillon, a Breguet Masterpiece, is a one-off in the history of technical creations. More than 220 years after its invention, the tourbillon is still generating as much fascination as it did then and remains now more than ever, the Swiss watchmaker’s main prerogative. The most compelling release from the House of Breguet this year is the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395, a watch that combines the tourbillon, with a unique skeletonised dial architecture, and removes close to 50% of its normal material construction highlighting the true craftsmanship of Breguet watchmakers
There are objects whose intrinsic quality is a source of true wonder. The new Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 is undoubtedly one of those. The extreme finesse of its 581 caliber has already propelled Breguet to bold technical feats in its previous creations.
The design of the tourbillon in particular had to be entirely rethought, which led to the creation of a unique architecture. Now the House of Breguet is going even further, removing almost 50% of the material from this movement, without compromising the build. This skeleton design, within an 18-karat gold caliber literally plays with the limits of what is possible and pushes the boundaries.
An extra-thin movement
The extra-thin 581 caliber is a masterpiece of watchmaking. With a thickness of just 3 mm, it is one of the finest self-winding tourbillon movements in the -world- — a feat of technical craftsmanship that required a series of often complex adjustments. For instance, the rotor was placed on the periphery of the plate, saving on thickness, while at the same time preserving a clear view of the mechanism. The tourbillon, for its part, has benefited from a complete redesign. The titanium carriage engages directly with the wheel train, not via the intermediary of a pinion at its base. What’s more, the silicon escapement has been given a distinct angular shape, something that considerably saves on space — a very unique structure, of which Breguet is the only series manufacturer.
The lightness of being
Ultra-lightweight, the carriage weighs no more than 0.290 gram in total, and is equipped with an outstanding power reserve of 80 hours, thanks to a high-energy barrel beating at four high frequency for a tourbillon. This 581 caliber has already featured in models 5377 and 5367. Here, for the first time, it has been incorporated in a fully skeletonised design, a contemporary interpretation of this ancestral technique. The gold plate and bridges have been hollowed out so as to display the mechanical anatomy of the movement. This truly novel watchmaking complication has been made even more challenging by the choice of gold. Once the chosen alloy has hardened, sophisticated expertise and care are needed to achieve the final result. Breguet remains among one of the last watchmakers to fashion gold to this standard.
What is unique about the movement, however, is its outstanding decoration and finishing, the hand-crafted engine-turning, or guilloche design, of the remaining plate surface. Clous de Paris hobnailing is created using a diamond-tipped guilloche tool here, a method that gives this work of art a distinct splendour but allows for no imperfections. This kind of work on an item like this is a first at Breguet. The sharp edges are painstakingly chamfered by hand, using a file until a perfectly smooth and even 45-degree bevel is created. Significant engraving work is then carried out by hand for different inscriptions as well as borders to frame the holes.
This masterpiece sits in a fluted case topped with a domed glass-box revealing the movement. The sapphire dial features applied hour markers in blued gold. The hours chapter is created using galvanic growth and the timer is laser-engraved and filled with blue varnish. Sophisticated and minimalist, this design is rounded off with traditional blued moon-tipped hands and soldered horns in the true Breguet style. Water-resistant to 30 meters, the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 is available with a gray movement in a rose gold case, or with a rose movement in a platinum case.