Breguet Marine Hora Mundi 5557: Instant-Change Time Traveler Now Has One Of Its Best Dials
by Martin Green
When I first got into watches in the late 1990s, Breguet was one of the brands that captivated me right from the beginning. Its classic looks seemed exotic, reminding me of people traveling the world before the invention of the airplane, packing their belongings in steamer trunks and staying in grand hotels.
One Breguet stood out to me more than others, and that was the Hora Mundi. The watch looked fantastic, and its name made it even better: hora mundi is Latin for “world time.” Apart from the date, this was the only complication on Reference 3700, the watch that Breguet sold as Hora Mundi just before the turn of the millennium.
The Hora Mundi was part of the Marine collection, as it is today, which meant that it was given a slightly sporty touch with a beefier crown flanked by crown guards. Those were different days: Reference 3700 measured only 38 mm in diameter and was the pinnacle of classic Breguet style. It was a classic worldtimer with an outer ring featuring the names of the different cities surrounding a ring marking the 24 hours of the day.
Breguet Marine Hora Mundi today
It is interesting that for such a classic brand, Breguet opted for revolution instead of evolution when it came to its Marine collection. Today it is one of the sportiest Breguet models you can purchase apart from its aviation chronographs.
While the model is still called Hora Mundi, the recently introduced Reference 5557 is strictly speaking not a worldtimer but a sophisticated GMT watch. It was initially launched in 2011 as Reference 5717 in the Classique collection with four different patents protecting the movement technology. The beauty of this watch is that Breguet made something very complex look easy, with the main goal being offering convenience and ease of use.
Reference 5557 has what Breguet calls an instant-change dual-time display, which allows the user to select two different time zones – local and home time, for example – with the crown and the pusher at 8 o’clock.
Once set, pressing the pusher switches between the two time zones. Not only do the hands change instantly, but the day and night indicator and even the date adjust along with them in a flash. This is as impressive as it is convenient and the result of a clever system of cams and a differential.
It’s got the look
As impressive as the new Marine Hora Mundi is from a technical perspective, Breguet also upped its game when it came to the looks of this new variation. The case is now in line with that of the rest of the Marine collection, which I consider good news.
Since the introduction of this generation, I have been a fan of the more technical approach to Breguet’s classic design language. The clever design of the lugs ensures that the watch is very comfortable to wear regardless whether the wearer has opted for a bracelet, rubber strap, or leather strap. This is also necessary because with a diameter of 43.9 mm this Breguet is no shrinking violet. The generous size allows the brand to play with layers and create one of the most stunning dials currently available.
The dial base is formed by a gold blank with a wave pattern in blue guilloché with continental outlines on top. Breguet placed a sapphire crystal disk over this decorated with representative lines of latitude and longitude. These cleverly merge the past with the future as the meridians were also present on the Marine Hora Mundi Reference 3700 from the 1990s, while the layout of the continents was a prominent feature on the Classique Hora Mundi Reference 5717.
On the latter, you had to pick your continent, while with Reference 5557 you get the entire world, something that must make life a little bit simpler for the craftspeople at Breguet as they don’t have to make and stock various dial versions.
But Breguet was not yet done with the dial: Roman numerals filled with Super-LumiNova are placed on top of the sapphire crystal disk. Additional depth is provided by the windows for the reference city and the date, both shown by disk.
The day/night indicator also deserves a special mention as both the sun and the moon are hammered by hand in yellow and white gold respectively. This might seem like a detail, but they add a tremendous amount of sophistication to the timepiece.
While this is a completely different watch, it brings me back to the late 1990s as it gives me the same feeling of excitement. Its looks remain pleasantly exotic yet also still capture that timeless sense of class for which Breguet seems to hold the patent.
For more information, please visit www.breguet.com/breguet/landings/hora-mundi-5557.
Quick Facts Breguet Marine Hora Mundi Reference 5557
Case: 43.9 x 13.8 mm, white or pink gold, 100 meters water resistance
Movement: automatic Caliber 77F/1, 55-hour power reserve; lever escapement with silicon pallet fork and balance spring, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date, dual time zone, alarm, day/night indicator
Price: CHF 63,200 on strap; CHF 82,700 on bracelet