Abraham-Louis Breguet is best known as a prolific inventor who created some of the world’s most important inventions (some still in use today). Consider the perpetual calendar, the anti-shock mechanism, or the chiming watch’s gongs. There’s also his masterpiece, the tourbillon, which is celebrating its 220th birthday this year.
In 2021, Breguet will release a new edition of its Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat to commemorate the 220th anniversary of its founder’s creation. It has been significantly changed from the Classique reference 5377 to make it a passionate tribute to the eternal aesthetic of A.L. Breguet watches. Limited to 35 pieces, it is an ode to the number of tourbillon watches created during Abraham-Louis Breguet’s lifetime.
This ultra-thin Breguet watch is encased in a 41mm 18k rose gold case and features all of the hallmarks of a conventional Breguet timepiece. The design is sleek and delicate, with polished surfaces and, of course, excellent fluted patterns on the casebands. The thin and elongated lugs, which are welded to the case and furnished with screw bars, and the case’s height of only 7mm make for an exceptionally modest and understated model. On both sides, sapphire crystals may be found.
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The dial is where this watch truly evolves. First and foremost, the power reserve indication, which is typically situated at 9 o’clock, has been deleted, as it was in the enamel 5367 versions, in the spirit of timelessness and beauty. The objective was to focus primarily on two characteristics of this 220th-anniversary edition: the tourbillon regulator and the exceptionally exquisite guilloche patterns on the dial.
Breguet used a mix of two famous designs, the clou de Paris and the grain d’orge, on an 18k gold foundation for the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365. The clou de Paris pattern is used in the middle section of the dial, but in a very delicate fashion. It’s formed by interlacing engraved and crossed lines with a pitch of only 0.25 millimetres, using a diamond chisel.
When you turn the watch over, you’ll see the Calibre 581, which was developed in-house. It’s made of platinum and has a hand-guilloche wave design for improved inertia. The action is centered on a big barrel that can store energy for up to 80 hours.
It also has hand-written inscriptions “Anniversaire 1801–2021” on the barrel and “Brevet No 157 Du 7 Messidor An IX” on the tourbillon’s lower bridge. The movement is, of course, hand-decorated with angles and polished countersinks.