When the French horologist Abraham-Louis Breguet opened his shop on the Quai de l’Horloge in Paris in 1775, he was considered a maverick for introducing designs that emphasized minimalism and functionality instead of the baroque exuberance that ruled 18th-century watchmaking.
“His watches at the time didn’t look like any other watch on the market,” says Alex Ghotbi, head of watches for Continental Europe and the Middle East at Phillips. “Less ornate, simple in terms of looks, but as sophisticated and elegant.”
Over the past 250 years, timepieces bearing the Breguet name—be they pocket watches built in the late 1700s by Breguet himself, wristwatches manufactured 50 years ago by the company he founded, or contemporary dress styles built by the brand that is furthering his legacy today—continue to be synonymous with a classic gentleman’s dress style.
Case in point: The new Breguet Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 in platinum, which boasts a deep blue grand feu enamel dial made using an artisanal technique that Breguet himself relied on for its spotless aesthetic.
Such painstaking work goes into each grand feu enamel dial that an entire workshop at the Breguet manufacture in Switzerland is dedicated to the process. First, the artisan covers the dial with a thin and consistent layer of enamel and bakes it at temperatures exceeding 800 degrees Celsius, or 1,470 degrees Fahrenheit. Layers of blue enamel are then added until the precise color is reached. Finally, the artisan gently polishes the dial before placing it in the furnace one last time to achieve its characteristic sheen.
At 3 mm in width, the 581 caliber that powers the timepiece is Breguet’s thinnest tourbillon movement. The tourbillon itself is housed in a titanium carriage placed between 4 and 6 o’clock. Above the carriage appears Breguet’s famed secret signature, a tradition that dates back to the 18th century, when A.L. Breguet applied it to his pocket watches to guarantee their authenticity.
The Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Automatique 5367 boasts an 80-hour power reserve and comes on a blue alligator leather strap. It is available exclusively at Breguet boutiques for $161,800.