Montres Breguet is reincarnating a timepiece that it first launched in 2006. A horological tour de force, with two independent going trains that end in their respective tourbillons and has a differential system in-between the two regulatory organs, which balance out any deviations between one another. Now imagine this, this entire center stage populated with all of these protagonists, makes a complete rotation every 12 hours further amplifying the drama in play. This, ladies and gents, is the 2020 Breguet Classique Double Tourbillon 5345 Quai de L’horloge.
We already know this watch from the variation that it was unveiled as in 2006, the Double Tourbillon 5347 with a guilloche dial and the blinged out variation, the Double Tourbillon 5349. Might latter might look quite familiar, since it was spotted on soccer star, Cristiano Ronaldo during a product launch event late in 2019.
Both watches, and the all new 5345, are powered by the hand wound Calibre 588. The caliber was originally conceived by master watch maker, Jean-François Ruchonnet who is also attributed to be the mastermind behind TAG Heuer’s Monaco V4 and the watchmaking ethos of, Cabestan. Before we get to the complexities of the movement at hand, a quick refresher: the Tourbillon.
It’s all about a flow of energy, starting off at the barrel, which moves the center pinion. In turn, the center wheel drives the third wheel via the third pinion. The third wheel drives the fourth pinion, but the fourth wheel itself is fixed — that is, it is immovable. The balance wheel and escapement assembly are mounted on top of the fourth pinion, so that as the fourth pinion moves, it moves the entire assembly along with it.
As the fourth pinion implores the assembly to move, the escapement pinion travels the circumference of the fixed fourth wheel. As a result, the movement that is generated in the escape wheel causes the balance wheel to oscillate and regulate energy dissipation through the entire going train. In summary, it’s because of the way that the escapement pinion and fourth wheel interact, that the entire balance wheel and escapement assembly are able to rotate in such a manner.
The Calibre 588
Now, applying this to the Calibre 588, we have to start with the two barrels within the watch. Each of these drive their own dedicated going trains, leading into the stationary fourth wheel upon which the tourbillon cages are mounted.
The two independent going trains are assembled around a differential system in the center of the movement. Two wheels associate the independent going trains to the differential system directly from the barrel, therefore making the movement function as one.
The Dual Going Train & Differential System of the Calibre 588
The differential system mediates for any deviations with the oscillation rates for the independent regulating organs. As such, the time read on the front of the watch is one that is averaged and maintains a high degree of chronometric integrity over the complete power reserve cycle.
Now the point to make here is that the differential system is made stationary (much like the fourth wheel on a tourbillon assembly). Therefore, when the two wheels are coupled with the differential, it results in the complete middle bridge plate (which holds the two going trains) making a complete orbit around the center of the timepiece, once every twelve hours.
You’ll notice that as a result of the above 12-hour orbit mechanism, the hour hand is, in fact, what serves as the tourbillon bar/bridge. The minutes hand, though, is severed by a secondary going train that is assembled above the differential — no mechanical association — which drives the hand around the dial once every hour.
The Breguet Classique Double Tourbillon 5345
For the 2020 version of the Calibre 588, Breguet has done away with the main solid gold guilloche dial in favor of a clear view of the mechanism of the 588 — decorated with skeletonization and hand engraved to the nines, to Breguet’s exacting standards of opulence. Closer inspection will also releave that the middle bridge plate, is as well hand guilloched with a hobnail pattern.
Turning the watch over, we’re treated with further hand engraved brilliance. Here we see the facade of the building that Abraham-Louis Breguet himself worked inside, from 1775 onward, at 39 Quai de l’Horloge, Paris. The canvas here is solid gold.
Says Claudio Cavaliere, head of the Breguet Product Management team, “the idea [behind the Breguet Classique Double Tourbillon 5345] was to highlight the spectacular movement itself, by removing the top rotating mainplate and [allowing the world to] to discover all the internal intricacies of the mechanisms of this timepiece.
“Today, this is the showcase, [this] is a window into our crafts, in our watchmaking building, where we have this combination of engineering of research, and of course craftsmen who have the capability to apply the finest decoration and aesthetic features to every timepiece that really showcase thes knowhow at Breguet, today.”
Manually wound Calibre 588N, numbered and signed Breguet; two tourbillons mounted on a revolving main plate, hand-engraved on a rose engine; tourbillons are coupled to a differential that determines the average rate; mainplate makes complete orbit per 12 hours; 50-hour power reserve; steel Breguet balance springs; monometallic balance wheels with gold screws, adjusted in 6 positions; reverse side of the movement includes hand engraving of building on Quai de l’Horloge, Paris
46mm diameter, 16.8mm thick platinum case with finely fluted caseband; large sapphire glass box used over dial; rounded welded lugs with screw bars
“Stone” strap, consisting of actual natural slate stone sheet fused over rubber backing; fitted with triple folding clasp in platinum