Abraham-Louis Breguet (who lived from 1747 to 1823) was one of the most important watchmakers of his day – and of all time.
On October 27th, 1815, he was appointed to make chronometers for the French Royal Navy by King Louis XVIII. In those days (before GPS navigation), marine chronometers were crucial in determining the location of a ship while at sea. These timepieces were instruments in the purest sense of the word and, therefore, had to be accurate, regardless of the movements of the ship. And so, Breguet designed marine chronometers that were mounted on special boxes made of mahogany or walnut wood, with a gimbal suspension system to keep the timepieces level at all times.
The contemporary Breguet Marine collection pays homage to the historic contributions made by Breguet in the field of naval navigation.
Marking the bicentenary of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s appointment as chronometer-maker to the French Royal Navy, Breguet has produced an exclusive chronograph – the Breguet Marine Chronographe Ref. 5823 “200 Ans de Marine,” distinguished by a 950 platinum case, and limited in production to just 200 pieces.
At 42 mm in diameter, the platinum case has a fixed bezel, flat push-pieces, a fluted crown with a relief engraving of the Breguet logo, welded lugs with functional screwed bars, and a finely fluted caseband – all polished to a mirror finish.
A solid gold dial in matte black, with a distinctive, engine-turned wave pattern on the outer chapter ring and the center, give this special edition a distinctive appearance while showing off one of the manufacture’s signature specialties: guilloché work. On top of the outer ring are hand-applied, diamond-shaped hour indices, treated with white luminescent material. Just below the chapter ring is sloped ring, with a smooth black surface, marked from 0-60, and used in conjunction with the central chronograph seconds hand and the central chronograph minutes hand. Inside of that are 18k applied Roman numerals which coincide precisely with the hour indexes on the outer ring.
The chronograph seconds hand is straight, with an open circular shaped counterweight. The chronograph minutes hand has an anchor shaped counterweight and a diamond shaped tip, with white luminescent material. Hours and minutes are indicated by Breguet-style hands open tipped hands which are faceted, and notably, the tips are filled with white lume.
At nine o’clock is a continuously running small seconds subsidiary dial, with a chronograph hour counter at six o’clock, including a date aperture at the bottom.
Powering the functions of the watch is an automatic Breguet manufacture caliber 583Q/1, numbered and signed Breguet, which beats at 4Hz (28,800 vph) and has a 48-hour power reserve. Technically, the 24-jewel movement features an inveterate in-line lever escapement with silicon pallets, an annular balance on a flat spring and it has been adjusted in six positions. Visible through the rear sapphire glass are the bridges, which have been finished with Geneva stripes and beveled edges and a black 18k gold engine turned oscillating weight.
The Breguet Marine Chronographe “200 Ans De Mariner” 5823 (Ref. 5823PT/H2/5ZU) is delivered with a diamond-pattern rubber strap with a matching platinum buckle. Water-resistance is 100 meters. Available in Fall 2015, it is limited to 200 pieces worldwide; the retail price is $54,300.