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In 1801 Abraham-Louis Breguet secured a patent in Paris for a “watch compensating for all of the inequalities that may be found in the balance wheel and mainspring”. Breguet named his invention the “tourbillon” (or “whirlwind”) in line with the practice at the time to use terms connected to astronomy.
The tourbillon remains the most celebrated complication in watchmaking (and powers some of the best watches), a development that takes a watch’s escapement from its fixed position and puts it into a rotating cage. The idea, at least in theory, is that this then combats the effects gravity has on the accuracy of timekeeping. It also looks pretty cool to have a spinning “beating heart” of your watch visible on your wrist.
Now, 220 years later, Breguet is paying homage to its founder’s invention, which opened up a new world of precision and high end watchmaking.
Breguet’s Classique Tourbillon Extra-Plat Anniversaire 5365 is made in a limited run of 35 pieces, the same number of tourbillon watches made during Abraham-Louis Breguet’s lifetime.
The gold 41mm anniversary watch features a number of hand-finished details, such as the Clous de Paris motif in the centre of the dial, achieved with a tiny diamond chisel, the legend “Anniversaire 1801–2021” on the barrel, and “Brevet No 157 Du 7 Messidor An IX” upon the lower bridge of the tourbillon – the date the patent was secured, in the French Republican calendar of the time.
Each of the 35 watches in individually numbered.
Available at breguet.com, priced £140,500
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