Arguably one of the best brands at creating some of the most artistic and complex timepieces in existence, Breguet has released another wonder that to put it simply, is quite breathtaking. The new Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge timepiece carries a monumental movement that is housed intricately in relation to the proportions of the watch.
As when Brequet first invented the tourbillon movement, they have done it again by seemingly defying the laws of physics to build a complex and beautiful movement in such a tight space.
This new timepiece by was given then name “QUAI DE L’HORLOGE” in reference to the house that Abraham-Louis Breguet, the founder, purchased in Paris. A beautiful artistic engraving of the house is depicted on the case back, which we will touch on a bit later. The house QUAI DE L’HORLOGE does indeed play an iconic reference point in Breguet’s history, as this is where Abraham-Louis Breguet first created the tourbillon movement.
Situated nicely between the artisans of the Ile de la Cité, Abraham-Louis Breguet would invent a watchmaking mechanism that would be endured throughout the centuries and still used to this date by some of the most prestigious brands around the globe. Abraham-Louis Breguet invented the tourbillon at a time when timepieces were worn vertically in the waistcoat pocket. One of the significant problems with these timepieces was the earth’s gravity and how it would affect the chronometric accuracy of the movement.
Breguet worked tirelessly to find a solution that would ultimately negate this problem. It was then that he came up with the idea to incorporate the balance wheel and spring along with the escapement (lever and escapement wheel) that would all be housed in a mobile carriage which would rotate about itself. The master watchmaker gave this mechanism the name “tourbillon” as a reference to the long-forgotten notion of a planetary system. A masterpiece creation, the tourbillon remains as an original creation from the House of Breguet.
The Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge takes the notion of the tourbillon and amplifies it further in complexity, brilliance and beauty. The double tourbillon was first presented back in 2006; however, it is now for the first time liberated from the dial. The entire exposed mechanism pivots around its axis, at a rate of one full turn every 12 hours. The timepiece is run by two independent tourbillons, which individually each complete one full rotation per minute. This way, the tourbillon bar is simultaneously driven by the interconnected regulating organs which perform a double revolution. As a reference to tradition and past creations of grand complication movements back in time, several components have been made of gold.
Breguet have given the Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge a 46mm platinum case, which measures roughly 16.8mm in thickness. On the dial, the amount of detail is beautiful to admire. Putting the double tourbillon mechanism aside, the dial features a vast amount of detail. The barrel bridges in steel at 1 o’clock and 7 o’clock position take on the form of the letter B. Jewels have been carefully placed to add a touch of colour to what is simply a blue and white contrasting dial.
The components throughout the dial are carefully straight-grained, chamfered and even satin-brushed by hand. The hour ring has also been laid bare, which allows easy readability of the hand-engraved hour roman numerals. The hour and minute hands have been donned in blue to match the hour markers, with the hour hand being connected to the double tourbillon mechanism.
Breguet have used a hand-winding manual calibre 588N movement for the Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge. Comprising of 738 components, the calibre 588N movement can give out a power reserve of 50 hours. The timekeeping parts of the double tourbillon are almost very similar in technicality to the original tourbillon movement created by Abraham-Louis Breguet. The steel balance springs are created with the terminal curve, which allows for the concentric development of the spring.
This technique is characteristic of the founder Breguet himself. The tourbillon carriages are currently the only ones in Breguet’s collection that have a framework in black-polished steel. Black polished steel is known to have the highest degree of finishing in horological craftsmanship.
The movement mechanism on the Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge is made to minimise the play in the wheels, which ensures an accurate display. This calibre, as stated by Breguet, is one of the most complex systems ever developed by the brand. The mobile nature of the mechanism forced the engineers to review the very nature of the manual winding system. Even the crown itself employs a dynamometric security system, which prevents excessive winding of the springs.
The case back of the Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge is as artistic as it gets in the horological world. Created by the artisans of the Breguet Manufacture, the case back features the engraving of the facade of the building 39 Quai de l’Horloge in Paris, which was occupied by Abraham-Louis Breguet from 1775 onwards. With the image etched into gold, the level of detail is quite astounding. Through the windowpanes of the engraved building on the case back, you can catch a glimpse of the wheels of the calibre 588N movement.
This latest release from Breguet is a true testament to the brand’s character and expertise of being one of the finest watchmakers with the ability to create complicated artistic masterpieces. The Classique Double Tourbillon Quai de l’Horloge brings together mechanical virtuosity with aesthetic mastery all the while referencing the birthplace of the tourbillon movement.