Breguet Adds Watchmaking’s Most Elegant Complication To Its Sportiest Line: A Sailing Tourbillon

Just as chronographs are becoming gentrified, tourbillons are becoming sportified. Breguet just added the classic complication, famously invented by its founder, to the previously time-only sporty model, (Ref. 5517), in its contemporary Marine collection. The new model, Ref. 5577, is not the first tourbillon for the Marine collection. The Marine Equation of Time, launched in 2017, has a tourbillon escapement—but it’s in the context of a grand complication, with perpetual calendar and equation of time functions, and it’s priced at RM1,073,340. The 5577 Marine Tourbillon is comparatively reasonable, at RM718,564 (for the gold model), if you can call a six-figure price reasonable.

It’s also a lot sportier. Thanks to modern watch technology, including tougher cases, silicon escapements, and fail-safe shock-absorbing systems, tourbillons are now frequently spotted in sporting venues, from the tennis courts to the fairways. There is no reason for a tourbillon to be relegated to classic, pocket-watch-like designs or incorporated with other complications. The 5577 is time only, with a jaunty rubber strap, sunburst dial, chunkier-than-usual Roman numerals, and a tourbillon carriage positioned at 5:30, rather than the conventional 6 o’clock, where it juts into the chapter ring, displacing it slightly. The only thing not sporty about the Marine Tourbillon is that it isn’t steel. The case is either platinum or 18k rose gold, and the rubber strap can be substituted for a platinum or gold bracelet.

At 42.5 mm wide, the case isn’t exactly small, but it’s still nearly 2 mm smaller than the Equation of Time, and because it contains an ultra-thin movement, the 5577 is only 9.35 mm thick. It has a peripheral rotor, which helps shave off some of the thickness. It contains calibre 581, which is also used in the Classique tourbillon. The carriage and balance spring are made of silicon, which is corrosion- and wear-resistant, as well as anti-magnetic, and it has an impressive 80-hour power reserve.

The Marine Tourbillon may seem like a watch with an identity crisis (Is it high-level sporty? A casual complication?). Still, as the brand that invented the complication in the first place, Breguet can do with it what it likes, and in this case, it works beautifully. And adding a tourbillon to the Marine collection seems fitting, given that Breguet was made the official chronometer-maker to France’s Royal Navy in 1815, responsible for managing the calculation of longitude at sea. The platinum Marine Tourbillon Ref. 5577 is priced at RM791,940, and the rose gold version is RM718,867.


Previously published on Robb Report USA

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