I’ve not spend sufficient time together with tonneau watches to really clarify the science of what makes a perfect form and wearing experience. To say that it is all about proportions is too straightforward. In this instance, I feel that the relatively flat top and bottom, rather traditional and stubby lugs, tall and flat sides with coined edges, along with the actually round dial are exactly what make this view work.The Breguet Heritage 5410 is produced in both an 18k rose gold and 18k white gold case. For my hands-on demonstration I’m wearing the 18k white gold model. The case dimensions actually appear modest, but as you can see, it doesn’t wear that modestly given the case depth. It’s 30 meters of water resistance. This view may look a bit on the small side for quite large wrists, but for a small to medium wrist like mine, it appears really nice.Moreover, the comparatively thick and extremely polished bezel adds welcome visual stimulation that I think helps the overall form. You can observe that the entire situation is also curved, which allows it to wear very comfortably. The sapphire crystal can also be curved, but not more so than the situation itself, which preserves a sense of visual harmony. When there are additional well-done tonneau-shaped instances out there which flourish via distinct layouts, Breguet gets tonneau into their own different way. Of course, it isn’t a style for everyone, but with something this visually distinctive you clearly aren’t going to earn all audiences happy.The most interesting part of this Breguet Heritage 5410 is the dial, needless to say. Complication-wise the timepiece is quite simple, offering the time with a subsidiary seconds dial and a huge date indicator window. Where things get interesting is the specific style of the Roman numeral hour markers, as well as the in-house created guilloche-machine engraving which is once again superb. The dial itself is made from 18k gold, which is soft and easy to cut, and then silvered after it is done.
The Breguet Classique 7787 is a developed taste for certain but, then again, that is just fine. Breguet makes a sufficiently wide array of traditional dress watches, but as soon as you’ve owned those — or in the event that you can imagine what it would be like to have a safe dress watch — you will probably begin to appreciate the quirky-cool versions a bit more. It’s a watch that is far from perfect by traditional criteria, but it does not appear to have attempted to maintain the first place; and that I sort of love it because of this. The reason most watch instances are round is because designers have the easiest time making round-cased watches seem nice. Therefore, making a non-round case such as a thing square, rectangular, differently geometric, or tonneau (barrel-shaped) is a special challenge. The risk is that despite the best attempts these non-round cases won’t look attractive… but the benefit of getting it right is a truly distinctive wrist-wearing experience that has the potential to be a long-term classic.The Breguet Heritage 5410, that comes with a tonneau-shaped case together with distinctive Breguet elements is a very nicely made bundle. Tonneau watches have been around for almost 100 decades, but have most recently become popular due to two extremely different brands: Franck Muller and Richard Mille. Each of those two companies offers distinct executions of the exact same theme – but it is done right in both instances. These are in fact the exclusion of the standard as, in my estimation, many other tonneau-shaped watches on the market are not a perfect hit. The Breguet Heritage 5410, however, is one of the infrequent tonneau watches that I love to wear.
First published in 1997, Breguet, Watchmakers since 1775. The life and legacy of Abraham-Louis Breguet was written by Emmanuel Breguet, a seventh generation descendant of Abraham-Louis and now curator of the Breguet museum. With the original edition long out of print, the book has just been published in its second edition, and made available by Breguet for an affordable price.
Corporate vanity coffee table books are rarely worth attentive study, but Abraham-Louis Breguet is such a significant figure in watchmaking that the updated Breguet tome is definitely worth a read. Add to that the Breguet museum’s impressive collection and the book is hard to turn down.
Measuring 27cm by 29cm and weighing 2.6kg (or 5.7lbs), the second edition is a weighty piece of reading. At 452 pages, the second edition is over 60 pages longer than the first, to accommodate the new images, illustrations and historical timepieces acquired by the Breguet museum since 2000 (like the Bugatti Royale clock purchased last year).
Necessarily, the new edition also includes a chapter covering the Swatch era, after the Swiss watchmaking conglomerate took over Breguet in 1999. It details Swatch founder Nicolas Hayek’s leadership of the company until his passing in 2010, during which its turnover grew 10-fold.
Price and availability
Breguet, Watchmakers since 1775. The life and legacy of Abraham-Louis Breguet will be available at Breguet boutiques worldwide, priced at SFr130 or €120, equivalent to US$130.