The tourbillon has become quite mainstream among watches in recent years, with high-end watchmakers flexing what they can do with the “whirling” mechanism. Yet, no watch brand is as closely associated with the tourbillon as Breguet. After all, its founder, Abraham-Louis Breguet, received a patent for his invention on June 26, 1801. As a result, Breguet has dubbed June 26 as Tourbillon Day. This year’s celebratory piece is the new Breguet Classique Double Tourbillon “Quai de l’Horloge” Ref. 5345 watch in rose gold, which not only includes two tourbillons but also highlights a range of traditional artistic crafts that the company holds dear.

To be clear, this is not an entirely new reference but rather a new iteration of the platinum version released in 2020. The watch features a large rose-gold case, measuring 46mm in diameter and 16.8mm thick. If you’re at all familiar with Breguet aesthetics, you’ll instantly recognize the signature case design details such as the fluted caseband, straight soldered lugs, and ultra-slim, almost non-existent bezel. The dramatically domed sapphire crystal topping the case offers an expansive view of the intricate face of the Breguet Classique Double Tourbillon “Quai de l’Horloge” Ref. 5345 watch.

The dial, which isn’t really a dial in the conventional sense but rather the movement platform, sets the stage for Breguet’s decorative and mechanical show. The bridge that secures the pair of tourbillons is attached to a central mainplate that completes a rotation every 12 hours. As such, a portion of that bridge — the one that’s rendered in blue steel and fashioned to look like the famed moon-tipped “Breguet-style” hands — also serves as the hour hand. Accompanying the double-duty hour hand is a minute hand designed in the same manner. Both hands sweep around the dial to point to the blue Roman numerals and minute track engraved into the sapphire ring around the periphery.

The pair of tourbillons sit across each other, each making one revolution every minute. Both tourbillons are furnished with their own gear train, and the output from the two tourbillons is averaged by a differential to produce a single average rate. There’s also a third gear train driving the rotation of the entire movement. The tourbillons also draw power from their own mainsprings, both sitting adjacent to the tourbillons on the movement plate and capped with elaborate “B” shaped bridges. Now is probably a good time to mention that this movement at the heart of the Breguet double tourbillon watch is the 2.5 Hz Caliber 588N2 manual-winding movement with 60 hours of power reserve.

Mechanical prowess aside, the orbital twin-tourbillon movement is sublimely decorated and finished with traditional artistic crafts. For instance, the rotating mainplate at the center of the dial and the rhodium-plated gold bridge below it are decorated with an entirely new guilloché pattern Breguet calls radiant flinqué, meant to mimic sound waves. Furthermore, the back of the movement features an engraved depiction of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s workshop at 39 Quai de l’Horloge; the scene required more than a hundred hours to complete by hand and included techniques such as traditional engraving, relief engraving, and intaglio engraving. Finally, according to Breguet, every part of the movement, even the hidden ones, is chamfered and polished by hand resulting in a mix of exceptional finishes including polished angles, satin-brushed flanks, straight graining, and poli-bercé — a rounded-off polish technique.

When asked why Breguet Classique Double Tourbillon “Quai de l’Horloge” Ref. 5345 watch remain fascinating in today’s watch world even though they are no longer useful for the accuracy of watches, Lionel a Marca, CEO of Montres Breguet replied, “The dominant factor lies in the art of horological beauty, the technical skill behind it, as well as the fascination. Observing a tourbillon in action is like watching a heartbeat. What’s more, a timepiece is an object of desire, and our aim is to continue to intrigue people as well as make them dream. Isn’t that a nice challenge?”