In the world of architecture, there are constructs where you ask yourself, how they can withstand the enormous weight by a seemingly fragile method of construction. A similar example from watchmaking has just been introduced by Breguet with their Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395, where all supporting elements have been reduced so heavily, that they almost seem not to exist. However, the movement runs as reliable just as the seemingly fragile constructs stand solid as rocks.
In comparison to its two predecessor models from 2013 and 2017, the Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat has experienced a true metamorphose. Although it has the same case and lug design and pretty much the same movement (calibre 581), yet it is so different. The plate and bridges were skeletonized by 50 per cent and all visible parts guilloched, engraved or chamfered in every detail.
First introduced in 2013, the extra-plat calibre 581 became one of the thinnest automatic movements with a tourbillon at a mere height of 3mm. One way to archive this was to place the rotor peripheral along the plate. A method commonly used in flat watches today. Also the mechanics remains entirely visible. Now, the tourbillon of the new reference 5395 has been revised. A pinion, that was usually mounted on the tourbillon cage has been removed and now engages directly to the wheel train. The silicon escapement has been given a distinct angled shape to better adapt to the flat skeletonized movement.
There are quite some complexities going on in this watch. To start with the flat construction of the tourbillon, that - due to a modernized barrel - reaches an unusual high frequency of 4 Hz and a power reserve of 80 hours. Although the individual movement parts are as light as a feather, the movement needs some stability in order to properly work. The rotor, the tiny meshing gear wheels or the barrel all generate some forces that need to be absorbed somehow. Inside Breguet’s Atelier they have successfully managed to remove as much material as possible without compromising the functionality.
It seems that the craftsmen have literally hold on tight to to the few remaining surfaces. Every visible space has been thoroughly taken care of. ‘Clous de Paris’ hobnailing has been created on the skeletonized plate by a diamond-tipped guilloche tool. The diamond burin is supposed to create an even more distinct splendour. The sharp edges have been chamfered with a file to a 45-degree bevel. The skeletonized movement is bedded into a typical Breguet fluted case and the holes borders have been cut out by hand to frame the 33 jewels and are also chamfered.
We love the blue details: just like the hour markers in blued gold and the Roman numerals that have been applied onto the sapphire glass together with the traditional blued moon-tipped hands and the ‘Breguet’ lettering on the prominent bridge. The platinum version comes with a dark blue strap – it would however also go very well with the rose gold case.
The Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 is a very good example of what the art of skeletonizing really means. With their horological savoir-faire, Breguet succeeded to aesthetically upgrade the rather sober look of a famished movement.
The Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Squelette 5395 comes with a grey movement in a rose gold case or a rose movement in a platinum case. Price: 217.400,- Euro (in gold), 232.300,- Euro (in platinum)