Since its founding in 1775, the House of Breguet has mastered the delicate balancing act of combining technology with harmony, and contemporary with traditional. Following on the great success of the ‘Tradition’ and ‘Classique’ Collections, Breguet now marks the start of a new era for the Marine Collection, with the introduction in 2017 of the magnificent Breguet Marine Equation Marchante 5887.
Best known for his invention of the tourbillon patented in 1801, founder Abraham-Louis Breguet received many other distinctions during his lifetime for numerous contributions as horological master and authority. The Marine Collection pays tribute in particular to his title of official chronometer maker to the French Royal Navy. The honour, bestowed upon him in 1815 by King Louis XVIII of France, recognized the crucial role played by marine chronometers who made it possible to calculate ships’ positions at sea.
Emmanuel Breguet is the 7th generation descendant and custodian of the Breguet heritage.
Listening attentively to him as he presented the 43.9 mm x 12mm Breguet Marine Equation Marchante 5887 to us at Baselworld, we admire the overall harmony of the timepiece and the marvellously guilloché gold dial with a specially created “wave” pattern.
Our eyes are drawn – this is after all Breguet – to a beautiful 60-second tourbillon with titanium carriage at 5 o’clock. A Breguet balance with a silicon balance spring enables the balance wheel to achieve a frequency of 4Hz, maintaining a power reserve of 80 hours indicated on an aperture between 7 and 9 o’clock. But there are many other things happening on this dial. Let’s have a closer look:
With two Breguet facetted hands (what else?) in 18k gold with luminescent material to read the hours and minutes on the hours chapter adorned with Roman numerals and luminescent dots, a retrograde third hand tipped with an anchor motif sweeps across a date arc running inside the chapter ring from 9 to 3 o’clock. Along with the days of the week, and months and leap-year cycle displayed respectively in apertures between 10 and 11, and 1 and 2 o’clock, we note the easy reading of what we now see is a perpetual calendar. But there’s a fourth hand, what is it?
The fourth hand is a running solar hand distinguished by its facetted golden sun. This additional hand, a second minutes-hand, allows us to see at a glance true solar time, which, on except for four days each year, can show a difference of time ranging from minus 16 minutes to plus 14 minutes compared to mean solar time (that we have conveniently packaged into 24 equal hours every day). Here, there are no subdials or sectors with – or + minutes leaving us to calculate true solar time. The beautiful solar hand does all the work for us.
This user-friendly “running” or marchante (in French) equation of time indication is made possible by equipping the running solar hand with a differential gear powered by two rotation sources operating entirely independently: the rotation of civil minutes, and that controlled by the lever in contact with the equation of time cam, which makes one full turn per year, based upon true solar time. The equation of time cam??? Shaped liked a figure 8 we see it on the tourbillon axis with small seconds.
The pleasure continues on the back: visible through a sapphire caseback, the bridges of self-winding Calibre 581DR are magnificently engraved with details of the Royal Louis vessel in the French Royal Navy, while the barrel is adorned with a windrose motif. The positioning of the oscillating weight on the rim of the calibre allows for breathtaking appreciation of the decoration.
New aesthetic codes include central lugs with polished and satin-brushed surfaces, more open fluting, with visible flanks on the caseband, and new finishing on crowns.
In two unlimited editions, each dial is individually numbered and signed Breguet.
The model shown here is in 950 platinum with blue dial and a rhodium-plated movement, priced at EUR224,500. A rose gold version frames a silvered dial and anthracite movement, and is priced at EUR209,500.