The year was 1801 when French-Swiss watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet secured the patent for his invention, the tourbillon, which took its name from the French word for “whirlwind” and was described by its creator as the “watch compensating for all of the inequalities that may be found in the balance wheel and mainspring.” Since then, the tourbillon has become an important part of the watchmaking industry, a symbol of high-horology expertise, and the foundation of the modern Breguet watch brand.
Thus, it comes as no surprise that on the 220th anniversary of the historic patent, the House of Breguet is set to commemorate its founder’s special invention with the newly launched Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365. Limited to just 35 pieces (matching the total number of tourbillon watches that Abraham-Louis Breguet made in his lifetime), the timepiece marks a heartfelt tribute to the timeless aesthetics and technical genius of that master watchmaker.
Crafted in a 41-mm rose-gold case, the watch features all the design codes of the Breguet brand — elegant and understated and offering an aesthetic that was established by the founder. The case comes with a delicately fluted caseband and welded lugs and screwbars that are designed to provide ultimate comfort and ease while wearing the watch. The engine-turned dial, in silvered 18k gold, is treated with two different decorations; Clous de Paris and grain d’orge. The former takes up the main central portion of the dial and is manually applied with a diamond chisel. The latter, which is also called “barley grain,” adorns the dial’s outer edges. The Clous de Paris treatment gives off a matte finish that, when seen from a usual distance of 50 centimeters, makes it easier for the wearer to read the hours and minutes. Indicating these are two blued steel, open-tipped hands, positioned off-center and famously referred to as “Breguet hands.”
The anniversary timepiece is equipped with a 60-second tourbillon whose rotating cage can be seen through an aperture in the dial between 4 and 6 o’clock. Breguet calls our attention to two other special features on the tourbillon that will appeal to observant horological historians. These include the upper bridge made of blued steel (an unusual finish for a tourbillon in the Classique collection) and the cartouche affixed above the aperture, which bears the text “Brevet No 157”, a reference to the patent number awarded to Abraham-Louis Breguet for his invention 220 years ago.
The rear of the timepieces has a sapphire crystal showcasing an engraving of the words “Anniversaire 1801–2021” on the movement’s barrel, and “Brevet No 157 Du 7 Messidor An IX” etched on the lower bridge of the tourbillon. Each timepiece has been individually hand engraved with the Breguet signature and the limited edition number. The right of the movement houses a faithful reproduction of the original watercolor plate that was used by Abraham-Louis Breguet when he was filing his patent application for the tourbillon regulator.
The movement in the Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365 is the ultra-thin (hence, “Extra-Plat”) automatic Caliber 581, which clocks in at a power reserve of 80 hours. The watch comes mounted on a brown leather strap. The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365 is limited to just 35 pieces, priced in the U.S. at $161,800.
A version of this article originally appeared on our sister website, WatchTime India.