2017: Breguet Marine Équation Marchante 5887, State of the ArtBy Suan Futt Yeo
Like the Royal Louis, a first rank ship of the line of the Royal French Navy whose likeness is engraved upon its movement visible from the back, the Breguet Marine Équation Marchante 5887 goes out with all guns blazing, cleverly navigating the fault lines between classicism and modernity, esoteric high complication and sporty hardiness. It is for this reason that the 5887 has been on our minds since its launch in 2017.
Eschewing the moon phase commonly found in a perpetual calendar watch, the 5887 follows the sun instead, with its headline feature being the running equation of time (“marchante”, for “walking”). Running/walking because in this instance, instead of displaying equation of time (the discrepancy between mean and apparent solar time) in a window or scale as the number of minutes to be added to/subtracted from the mean solar time to derive the apparent solar time, the 5887 has a separate minute hand to display apparent solar time in real time. A feature seen in clocks and pocket watches, the running equation of time made its wristwatch debut in sister-brand Blancpain’s Le Brassus Equation du Temps Marchante of 2004.
None of this back-and-forth cha-cha around the mean solar time would have been necessary if the earth played nice and orbited the sun in a perfect circle, shoulders squared, at constant speed. But such is life, and the earth’s inconstant shuffling around the sun at a tilt is a fact, and source of life. A perpetual calendar would know where in the year we were, and the equation of time observed over the course of the year and painstakingly recorded in almanacs is mechanically translated into an EOT display via a kidney-shaped cam, visible through the sapphire window at ‘5’ on the dial, beneath the distinctive tourbillon bridge.
But how does the 5887 stand out? For starters, by being in a very small field of running EOT wristwatches. And secondly, by the particular flavour of its execution, in coherently melding a host of contrary propositions.
The running EOT is a natural fit for a perpetual calendar, and much rarer than a moon phase. Something classic perhaps to house an ancient and esoteric complication. Yet the 5887 is, to put it briefly, thoroughly modern, inside out, in an almost steampunk yet dressy/sporty way. The ultra-flat tourbillon base movement features a titanium cage to keep the tourbillon spinning at a brisk 4Hz while maintaining an impressive 80 hours of power reserve, self-wound by a platinum-weighted peripheral rotor that leaves the movement engraving gloriously framed. The EOT cam is fabricated directly upon the sapphire disc using the LIGA process, with the beating heart of the cal. 581DPE in silicon: hairspring, escape wheel, down to the pallet jewels.
Maritime cues abound, it’s the Marine collection, after all, and seafaring is an outdoor activity. As such, the 5887 has luminous hour markers and hands to tell the time, and water resistance to 100m. Not a field watch, but no shrinking violet, for all that heritage and technology that it bears in its sleek, fluted case.
Has Breguet, like Odysseus of legend, got all the winds from every direction but one, in the bag? We think so.
Self-winding 581DPE with peripheral rotor; perpetual calendar; tourbillon; running equation of time; silicon balance spring; 4Hz; 80 hours power reserve
43.9mm platinum or rose gold case; 11.75mm height; fluted caseband; water resistant to 100m
Alligator leather with folding clasp