Breguet Marine Équation Marchante 5887
In the previous issue of The Luxury Collection, in our feature on Baselworld 2017, the watchmaking industry’s biggest global tradefair, we had remarked upon Breguet’s launch of its flagship model for 2017, the Marine Équation Marchante 5887.
In this issue we explore this horological marvel in detail and tell you why exactly it is a fitting adornment for your wrist.
AL Breguet, the brand’s founder, was a bit of a scientific celebrity in his own right, who attracted the admiration of none other the King of France, Louis the XVIII himself. In 1814, King Louis appointed him as a member of the Bureau des longitudes, the country’s supreme scientific body for astronomy and its applications in geography, navigation and geodesy. A year later, AL Breguet was awarded the title of Chronometer Maker to the Royal French
Navy, probably the most prestigious title he could expect to receive as a watchmaker. It was a mission critical role to further France’s imperialistic ambitions as marine chronometers were of capital importance for fleets to accurately calculate ships’ positions at sea. Subsequently, AL Breguet was also honoured with membership of the French Academy of Science. He was thus the nation’s most sought after authority on horology and in the course of his illustrious career, developed several spectacular timepieces including astronomical clocks and marine chronometers.
With the Marine Équation Marchante 5887, Breguet pays tribute to this pioneering watchmaker, whose knowledge and skills helped to further the cause of precision horology as well as navigation and astronomy. A unique reinterpretation of AL Breguet’s rich heritage, the Marine Équation Marchante 5887 is a horological masterpiece in which sophisticated complications rub shoulders with stunning finishing, signalling a new era for the contemporary Marine collection.
The equation of time is one of the rarest and most fascinating horological complications. When watches replaced sundials as the means to measure time, horologists were faced with the need to equate the time on the watch, or standard time, with the time as shown by the sun, which is called true solar time. Believe it or not, the difference between the two can be as much as 16 minutes! Since the sun’s various positions in the sky occur identically on the same dates, watchmakers can “program” them by means of a special cam. Working with extreme precision, the cam is coupled with a feeler-spindle that drives an equation lever to indicate the difference between the standard time and solar time. You then mentally add or subtract the difference to calculate true solar time. This is the usual method.
However, the new Marine Équation Marchante from Breguet makes it simple by simultaneously indicating both times by means of two separate minutes hands. This apparent simplicity conceals some pathbreaking design and advanced precision technology that few watchmakers can achieve, involving the incorporation of a differential gear powered by two rotation sources operating entirely independently.
This complexity is naturally complemented on this “Grande Complication” by a perpetual calendar. Two apertures – one between 10 and 11 o’clock and the other between 1 and 2 o’clock – respectively display the days of the week as well as the months and the leap-year cycle.
Based on the self-winding 581DR calibre, the new Marine Équation Marchante also flaunts a third complication, that helps maintain a comfortable 80 hour power reserve for the self-winding model.
The ingenuity of this spectacular model is accentuated by the expertise of skilled artisans. The front dial features two types of engine-turning, including a “wave” pattern specifically developed for this collection. The inscription “Marine royale” is engraved on the tourbillon bar and, visible through a sapphire caseback, the bridges have been delicately chased to depict in meticulous detail the Royal Louis, a first rank vessel in the French Royal Navy. The barrel is adorned with a windrose motif, as a reference to astronomical navigation.
As aesthetically stunning as it is technologically stupendous, the new Marine Équation Marchante features central lugs with polished and satin-brushed surfaces, more open fluting, with visible flanks, a crown topped with a polished “B” against a sandblasted background, as well as a crown adorned with a chamfered and satin-brushed wave motif. It comes with a 43.9mm-diameter case in rose gold or platinum. The rose gold version frames a silvered dial and an anthracite movement, while the platinum interpretation has a blue dial and a rhodium-plated movement. The tout ensemble gets on your wrist with an Alligator leather strap that has a gold folding clasp.