Abraham-Louis Breguet’s history with marine watches dates back as far as 1815 when the Swiss watchmaker began creating them in significant numbers after having been appointed the official chronometer maker of the Royal Navy. The company would continue to supply the navy with numerous instruments up until the 1960s, so it’s natural that Breguet would want to highlight its Marine Collection, which has been its laser focus for the last 2 years. Typically recognized for its exquisite guilloche dials, pocket watches, and classic aesthetics, the Marine timepieces allow Breguet to delve into sportier territory. This year, the watchmaker introduced three new additions to the collection at Switzerland’s Baselworld watch fair, including the Breguet Marine 5517, the Breguet Marine Chronograph 5527, and the Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale 5547, all of which are notably being offered in titanium.
The lightweight and durable metal is not only resistant to salty air and corrosion, but it’s also considerably less expensive than gold, allowing Breguet to offer more affordable versions of its high-end timepieces to new customers—although at $18,800 for the more simple 5517, the target client is still considerably well-heeled. For its collectors, Breguet offers a new, more casual look—specifically in the gray non-guilloche sunburst dial timepieces—that can be worn like a sports watch as opposed to its more precious timepieces.
On the higher end, the 5547 features three horological complications, including a second time zone, a date display, and an alarm. In keeping with its maritime theme, a ship’s bell appears through an opening at 12 o’clock when the striking mechanism is triggered, sounding the alarm. The 5547, the chronograph 5527, and the basic 5547 are offered in rose gold and white gold with a guilloche wave pattern as well as a non-guilloche gray sunburst dial set in titanium. All will be offered with either a leather alligator strap or a sportier rubber strap.
The introduction of the titanium timepieces with gray sunburst dials is part of a big trend in watchmaking for 2018. Even the top-tier brands steeped in history and tradition are realizing they need to cater to younger clientele as well as create more affordable and commercial timepieces for new customers of all ages. And in the age of pricey streetwear and increasingly casual work attire, the dress watch is in peril. But for collectors that appreciate Breguet’s classicism and history, the watchmaker’s sportier new titanium references with rubber straps will still offer a welcome addition to a collection for more casual occasions.
The Marine 5517 retails for $28,700 in white gold and rose gold and for $18,500 in titanium; the Marine 5527 is priced at $33,800 in white gold and rose gold and $22,600 in titanium; and the Marine 5547 is priced at $40,900 in white gold and rose gold and $28,600 in titanium.