Breguet is a name that requires no introduction to fans of high horology. From his invention of the tourbillon to his legendary commissioned works for royalty, A.L. Breguet was a watchmaking's Thomas Edition. But a Breguet sports watch?
Nicolas Hayek, watchmaking's Napoleon, said "yes" in 2004, and the Breguet Marine 5817ST was born. As the founder, CEO, and finally, Chairman of Swatch Group, Hayek was the most powerful man in the Swiss watch industry, and he resigned his station atop Swatch to lead his prized possession - Breguet - back to the summit of horology.
The Breguet Marine has been a key player in Hayek's master plan. Without sacrificing traditional Breguet traits of restrained detail and classical lines, the Breguet Marine offers sports watch-levels of durability and versatility.
Tradition figures with prominence: a solid gold dial with hand-guided guilloche and silvered plating lies below three traditional "Breguet" hands (even *parts* of watches are named for this guy!). Stately Roman numerals and a luminescent minute track allow refinement and practicality to co-habitate.
The Breguet Marine case incorporates essential Breguet design features including welded lugs, secure screw-fixed strap bars, and cold-rolled coining. The last feature is both expensive and time-consuming to apply, especially given the amount of hand-finishing that follows the initial cold-roll. But the gleaming and perfectly-formed result is worth the trouble.
Inside the Breguet Marine beats a Breguet caliber 517GG; it's an immaculately finished movement from Swatch group high horology specialist F. Piguet. The standard of finish applied to this 65-hour automatic movement is on par with the best in the business. Hand-beveled bridges are rounded and mirror-like, not sheer and dull as with machine beveled units.
The screws, which always tell the tale of a watchmaker's standards, are polished on their heads, chamfered within their slots, and beveled around their circumference. Think Vacheron Constantin or Lange, and you've got the idea.
This Breguet Marine 5817ST is available from watchuwant.com with full Breguet factory boxes, manuals, and documents of provenance. Having been purchased in December of 2013, it retains the balance of the two-year Breguet factory warranty. Video and content by Tim Mosso.