The Breguet Tourbillon Extra-Plat 5367 watch hands-on
Would the number of the caliber's components be enough (334 in total) to explain a Breguet Tourbillon Extra-Plat 5367? No, it wouldn’t as it is an almost superfluous piece of information. When you combine the words "Breguet" and "Tourbillon" the book of watch-making history and literature novels from 1801 onwards open at the same time. Haute-horlogerie has changed and today there is a long array of big and small brands that have crafted at least one tourbillon and younger people do not know that it was a watch-maker called Abraham-Louis Breguet that patented the tourbillon on June 26, 1801.
From that day on, the era of pocket watches, Swiss brands (there were still a few of them including Vacheron Constantin and Blancpain) began to adopt this complication and develop it further. The art (or fashion?) of double and triple tourbillons has today spread, new and original interpretations have reached us, like that of Greubel-Forsey for example, while Breguet has continued to interpret this complication in the most classic way, despite taking advantage of the best technologies available to the Swatch Group.
The Grand Feu and the Extra-Flat
I believe that you can count on one hand those manufactures that are capable of skilfully mastering the ancient art of the Grand Feu, improperly dismissed as ‘enameling’ sometimes, while it is actually a complex process, where the dial is cooked in an oven at a very high temperature and made with different layers of enamel.
Being able to create a Grand Feu dial is the pedigree measure of a manufacture and, not surprisingly, Breguet shares this trait with another very old manufacture (belonging to the Swatch Group); Jaquet Droz that treasures and perpetuates (like Breguet) some of the oldest decorative arts and techniques. While Jaquet Droz concentrates its production mainly on automatons, Breguet is currently the most important tourbillon producer in the world.
On the Breguet Tourbillon Extra-Plat 5367 the size of the case stops at 7,45mm in thickness and this is, of course, quite an interesting piece of information as it means that it is an ultra-flat watch. It is not as thin as an Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, many people have tried to compare these two timepieces before, but it makes no sense to compare two watches that are so different when it comes to their philosophy, their history and their crafting! It makes more sense to compare the 5367 with the 5377, whose thickness stops at 7mm.
Is the difference due to the presence of the Grand Feu dial? It's just one of my unconfirmed hypotheses, but it is proven that a Grand Feu dial requires a thickness greater than that of a traditional dial to prevent it from breaking. Aesthetically speaking, the dial of the 5377 is strongly off-centered (on the left), a feature that is not noticeable at first glance, but which gives a pleasant feeling of dynamism.
The Breguet 581 calibre.
The 581 caliber is a perfect synthesis of tradition, almost extreme if we use the measuring rules of modern tourbillons, and of technology, if we include the materials and the performance of the movement that represents the state of the art of the one-minute-tourbillon. In the Breguet manufacture, the burin is a tool that is used daily and this can be seen from the decoration of the bridges of the movement. This tradition that Breguet abides by the letter, is an unmissable trademark as are the bevelled angles and the many other decorations available.
Not everyone is aware of the fact that the manufacture scrupulously maintains the vintage molds and tools and still uses them; many of these, as it was confirmed during our visit to the manufacture, have been recovered and cataloged from the minute Nicholas G.Hayek purchased Breguet. Some people find these decorations too dainty - and in some instances they are - but it is certain that they are unique and add a unique artistic value to each watch. The Breguet Tourbillon Extra-Plat 5367 is a synthesis of chronometric perfection, essential for those who invented the tourbillon, and artistic value that has the task of conveying the historical pedigree of a Breguet tourbillon.
Modernity is represented by the choice of adopting a peripheral rotor, the most elegant solution that you can choose for an automatic ultra-thin watch (Piaget used the same solution for its Altiplano Ultimate Automatic 910P) because it is imperceptible and gives the caliber the appearance of a manually wound caliber. The platinum crafting (like the case) is (also) a technical necessity (inertia). The tourbillon is the most modern part of the watch, it features a silicon balance spring, a titanium cage and an inverted right-angle lever escapement with Silicon horns. The 4Hz frequency is unusually high for a tourbillon, as is its 80-hour-power-reserve.
An important step forward.
The Breguet Tourbillon Extra-Plat 5367 suddenly makes reference 5377 look old. It seems a sacrilege to compare a guilloché dial with a Grand Feu dial, but the merit goes both to the 5367 as much as the "demerit" goes to the dial of the 5377. I have nothing against the 5377 but I think it is too elaborate (the power reserve does not help), it is classic but sometimes baroque, while the formal neatness of reference 5367 is simply exceptional: the white Grand Feu dial fits perfectly with the case-back and makes the 5367 an elegant tourbillon that is easy to wear it and is equally satisfying if you are into mechanics and decorative art alike. It means that you are not relinquishing any of the basic aesthetic standards of a Breguet: the case-middle decorated with a vertical columns motif (or fluted case side) and long lugs. The retail price of this Breguet Extra-Plat Tourbillon 5367, made of platinum and with a 41mm diameter case, is €157.600.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®