Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 Grand Feu Enamel: What A Difference A Dial Makes
by Martin Green
Baselworld, just like SIHH, kind of feels like Christmas for the watch world.
Even after all these years, I still look forward to the fair with anticipation: what amazing new watches will the brands present this year?
Some brands send press releases before the show in which they announce a new watch launching at the fair (see 28 New Pre-SIHH 2018 Watches). While you might view this as revealing a Christmas present, watch journalists know that the brands keep “the really good stuff” a secret until the fair.
Yet, when the Breguet made the announcement that the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 is now also available with a high-fire enamel dial (previously, it was available with a guilloche dial) popped into my email box, I had to smile.
More than just thin: “Extra-Plat”!
While this may sound like minor news as the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique was already part of Breguet’s collection since 2013, it is more important than you might think (or at least I think so).
As an avid enthusiast of ultra-thin watches – and in case you need any convincing of my beliefs, please read my recent article about the Bulgari Octo Finissimo Automatic – Breguet’s Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique ranks among my favorites. In fact, if I were to win the lottery this week (yes, watch journalists also need to win the lottery to buy tourbillons) I would probably board the first train to Paris, go straight to the Breguet boutique at Place Vendôme and ask them to take my money in exchange for this gorgeous timepiece.
As is often the case in these situations, it is a combination of factors that make this watch so tempting, and a lot has indeed to do with its thinness.
It is powered by Caliber 581DR, which Breguet crafts, of course, in house. The movement is only three millimeters high despite being automatic. To achieve this feat, Breguet doesn’t use a micro rotor, as was common with earlier ultra-thin automatic watches, but has equipped the movement with a peripheral rotor made of platinum to give it some extra weight and make it more efficient.
While this Breguet may look very classic, its movement is far from it: the tourbillon cage is titanium, it’s regulated by a silicon balance spring, and the pallet fork of the inverted lateral lever escapement is also in silicon.
Combined with a high-energy spring barrel on roller bearings, this movement achieves a power reserve of 80 hours.
All this technology is, of course, disguised very well by Breguet’s classically styled, ultra-thin seven-millimeter-high case, engraved movement, and until now a guilloche dial.
To achieve 2013’s guilloche edition, Breguet combined no less than four different engine-turned patterns on the dial: clou de Paris hobnail, barleycorn, straight chevrons, and cross hatching. Together they created a dynamic synergy of different textures bringing the dial of the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique to life.
What a difference a dial makes
When you ascend to the first floor at Breguet’s boutique at Place Vendôme to enter the exhibition area, the first thing you see is a massive guilloche machine.
In the minds of many, guilloche is part of the “DNA” of this brand – and these minds are right. But as the various (pocket) watches on display there well illustrate, so is high-fire enamel.
On the new version of the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique, the difference is quite dramatic as Breguet removed the power reserve indication from the front as well as changing the decoration, leaving a smooth, iced ring of perfectly white enamel accentuated by simple Arabic numerals.
With its velvety, glossy shine, it’s difficult with photography to convey the essence of enamel. But in real life, it gives the guilloche dial a run for its money, at least with some of Breguet’s clients.
While both high-fire enamel and guilloche are time-honored dial decoration techniques, each equally worthy to be used to embellish a Breguet, the use of one or the other does turn the Classsique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique into slightly different animals.
Which one would I get if I win the lottery? I have no idea and can only hope that the grand prize is enough for me to get both!
For more information, please visit www.breguet.com/en/timepieces/classique-complications/5377.
Quick Facts Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 Grand Feu Enamel
Case: 42 x 7.45 mm, pink gold or platinum
Movement: automatic ultra-thin Caliber 581, 3 mm high, one-minute tourbillon, silicon pallet fork; 80-hour power reserve thanks to high-energy spring barrel on roller bearings; 4 Hz / 28,000 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds (on tourbillon carriage)
Also published on Medium.