What better way to celebrate the bicentenary of Abraham-Louis Breguet’s appointment as chronometer-maker to the French navy, than with an exclusive marine chronometer, limited to 200 pieces?
In a surprise twist, the most traditional brand in the watchmaking industry has gone with a very contemporary design, on a rubber strap, to celebrate its latest milestone. In fact, the Marine Chronographe reference 5823 “200 ans de Marine” is what marine chronographs might look like if they were still made with their original use in mind.
Once vital to the navy, marine chronometers determine the position of ships at sea, even during the worst climatic conditions, thanks to a gimbal suspension system that keep them level whatever the circumstances.
This looks nothing like one. Instead, it’s a sports watch with a difference; a 950 platinum cases and a delicately fluted case band protecting a gold dial finished with a matt black surface and engine-turned.
Hours and minutes are indicated by Breguet’s signature open-tipped and faceted hands, made from 18-carat gold with luminous material. A chronograph seconds hands, featuring a miniature anchor – a lovely detail – completes the picture. Also present on the dial are running seconds at 9 o’clock, a chronograph hours counter at 6 o’clock, as well as a date aperture.
Inside, the watch features caliber. 583Q/1, a modified Lemania self-winding movement, finished and signed by Breguet, with a hand-guilloché gold oscillating weight and 24 jewels visible through the sapphire caseback. It boasts a power reserve of 48 hours.
The biggest surprise though, is the rubber strap it comes with. Much has been said – some of it negative – about this fusion of materials, which is common in contemporary brands such as Hublot but comes off as pretty unusual from traditionalists such as Breguet.
But it seems evident the all-weather rubber strap is exactly the kind of detail Breguet himself would have wanted for this watch, had he been born in the 21st century, and if marine chronometers still played a vital role in the navy.
Comfortable on the wrist, this 42mm watch offers some versatility considering the finishing on the dial. The Marine Chronographe reference 5823 “200 ans de Marine” is a limited-edition of 200 pieces, individually numbered and signed by Breguet.