Breguet: Over 240 Years of Fine Watchmaking
Breguet represents tradition and innovative technology. They have revolutionized the art of watchmaking with inventions like the tourbillon and "pare-chute" shock protection. Marie Antoinette and Napoleon were among Breguet's exclusive clientele.
Tradition Meets Modernity
With over 240 years of history to look back on, Breguet is among the oldest and most prestigious watch manufacturers still in existence. Company founder and watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet quickly became the top choice of European nobility and enriched the greater watchmaking world with revolutionary inventions such as the tourbillon, the Breguet overcoil, and the first functioning shock-protection system, the pare-chute. Beyond technology, Breguet also had a lasting impact on watch design by creating Breguet hands and numerals.
The modern Breguet catalog contains a wide range of timepieces with classic designs. The Classique and Classique Complications collections are modeled after the company's historical timepieces. While watches in the Tradition collection have a similar aesthetic, their skeletonized dials place the focus firmly on the intricately decorated in-house calibers with off-center time displays. Fans of uniquely shaped timepieces should take a closer look at the Reine de Naples and Héritage collections. The oval cases of the Reine de Naples series are an homage to Breguet's first wristwatch and result in stunning women's watches. In the Héritage collection, you'll find barrel-shaped (or "tonneau") models for men and women alike.
For a more modern touch, you should turn to the Marine and Type XXI collections. While the former takes its inspiration from navy watches from the early 20th century and boasts many classic Breguet details, the watches in the Type XXI series resemble pilot's watches from the 1950s. Defining features include syringe-shaped hands and sans-serif luminous numerals.
No matter which Breguet watch you choose, it will come with flawless finishes and a precise in-house caliber of the highest quality. Breguet crafts most models from rose or white gold, though timepieces in modern materials like titanium or stainless steel are also available. This manufacturer was among the first watchmakers to outfit movements with anti-magnetic silicon components.
Reasons to Buy a Breguet Watch
- Over 240 years of tradition
- Flawless craftsmanship
- Precise in-house calibers
- Complications such as a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, or minute repeater
- Classic Breguet design
Prices at a Glance: Breguet Watches
|Model, reference number||Price (approx.)||Material, features|
|Classique Complications Double Tourbillon, 5347PT/11/9ZU||452,000 USD||Platinum, double tourbillon|
|Reine de Naples, 8939BB/6D/J61/DDDD||269,000 USD||White gold, encrusted with diamonds|
|Classique Complications, 5447BR/1E/9V6||247,000 USD||Rose gold, chiming mechanism, perpetual calendar, retrograde month display, moon phase|
|Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante, 5887BR/12/9WV||171,000 USD||Rose gold, tourbillon, equation of time, perpetual calendar|
|Héritage Tourbillon, 5497BR/12/9V6||117,000 USD||Rose gold, tourbillon|
|Reine de Naples Jour/Nuit, 8998BB/11/874 D00D||97,500 USD||White gold, day/night indicator, moon phase|
|Classique "Hora Mundi," 5717PT/US/9ZU||72,000 USD||Platinum, world time display|
|Marine Alarme Musicale, 5547BR/12/9ZU||32,000 USD||Rose gold, alarm function, second time zone, date|
|Type XXII, 3880ST/H2/3XV||16,500 USD||Stainless steel, flyback chronograph, second time zone, day/night indicator|
|Marine, 5517TI/G2/9ZU||15,500 USD||Titanium, date|
|Type XXI, 3810ST/92/9ZU||9,900 USD||Stainless steel, flyback chronograph, day/night indicator|
|Type XX "Aeronavale," 3800||8,300 USD||Stainless steel, chronograph|
|Marine, 3400BA||7,700 USD||Yellow gold, date|
|Classique, 3210||6,500 USD||Yellow gold, small seconds|
How much does a Breguet watch cost?
You can find Breguet watches on Chrono24 for as little as 5,300 USD. That price will generally get you an older version of the Type XX or a pre-owned watch from the Classique collecton. Current models like the titanum Type XXI, the Héritage 5410 with a large date, or the Marine Alarme Musicale change hands for between 11,500 and 30,000 USD.
Those prices quickly increase if you're looking at watches with a tourbillon, perpetual calendar, or chime mechanism. Most of these belong to the Classique Complications and Tradition collections and sell for anywhere from 115,000 to 275,000 USD. Heavily diamond-encrusted editions demand similar prices.
By comparison, antique Breguet pocket watches are downright affordable. With any luck, you might even manage to find a timepiece for under 1,200 USD.
Classique and Classique Complications
The Classique collection does its name proud. No other series is as full of timepieces in Breguet's classic style with round cases, narrow soldered lugs, fluted case bands, guilloché dials, and iconic Breguet hands. Abraham-Louis Breguet designed this type of watch hand in 1783. It is exquisite and stands out with its hollow "moon" tip. Other manufacturers may refer to this hand type as "pomme hands" due to its slight resemblance to an apple ("pomme" being the French word for "apple").
Breguet usually outfits watches with guilloché dials with Roman numerals, while those with enamel dials feature stylized Arabic Breguet numerals – another creation of Abraham-Louis Breguet.
Most Classique watches have three hands with the second hand either centrally located or on a small seconds dial. One example of a model with a central second hand is the ref. 5177BB/2Y/9V6. This 38-mm white gold timepiece features a dark blue enamel dial, white Breguet numerals, and a date at 3 o'clock. You can find this watch on Chrono24 for around 19,500 USD. If you'd prefer a timepiece with a small seconds, you should consider the ref. 7147BB/12/9WU. Also made of white gold, this watch is 40 mm in diameter and boasts a hand-guillochéed silvered dial with Roman numerals. Its small seconds sits at 5:30. You can call this timepiece your own for roughly 18,000 USD.
The Classique collection also contains watches with a chronograph function, day-date display, or moon phase. Perhaps the collection's most extraordinary model is the Classique "Hora Mundi." This timepiece can show the time in two time zones at once and, unlike most GMT watches, does so without a fourth hand. Instead, you can switch between two pre-programmed times at the push of a button. You can choose from 24 time zones, with the name of the selected time zone appearing in a window at 6 o'clock. An indicator at 3:30 lets you know if it is day or night in that time zone. A date display at 12 o'clock completes the dial. Breguet couples this display with the time display, so it can change forward or backward as needed.
The most affordable version of the "Hora Mundi" bears the reference number 5727BB/12/9ZU. This white gold watch features a silver-plated guilloché dial and costs roughly 60,000 USD. The platinum ref. 5717PT/US/9ZU boasts a partial world map in the middle of its dial. You can choose whether you want a map of North and South America, Europe and Africa, or Asia and Oceania. This model demands about 12,000 USD more than the gold edition.
The Grand Complications in the Classique Complications Collection
Breguet puts their full watchmaking prowess on display in the Classique Complications collection. Each timepiece in this series comes with grand complications. One especially classic example is the Tourbillon Extra-Plat 5367BR/29/9WU. This watch is only 7.45 mm thick, has a white enamel dial, Breguet hands, and a tourbillon at 5 o'clock. This elegant timepiece requires an investment of roughly 130,000 USD.
Breguet takes things a step further with the Double Tourbillon 5347. As its name implies, the manufacturer outfits this model with two tourbillons. Cutouts in the silver-plated guilloché dial provide a view of these fascinating components at 4 and 10 o'clock. You can purchase the rose gold edition for around 223,000 USD. The platinum version is over twice as expensive at about 452,000 USD.
Fans of perpetual calendars should consider the Classique Complications 3797BR/1E/9WU. The caliber 558QP2 provides this timepiece with a retrograde date display at 12 and subdials for the month and day at 3 and 9 o'clock, respectively. At 6 o'clock, you'll find a tourbillon that also doubles as a small seconds. This 41-mm rose gold watch changes hands for around 129,000 USD. The ref. 3795BR/1E/9WU uses the same technology, but enables the wearer to watch the movement at work thanks to a skeletonized dial. Be sure to have roughly 201,000 USD on hand for this timepiece.
The Classique Complications 5447 outdoes the previously mentioned model, combining a perpetual calendar with a retrograde month, a display for the moon phase and moon age, and a minute repeater. You can find the white gold version for sale on Chrono24 for about 259,000 USD. The same watch in rose gold costs a few thousand dollars less.
Tradition: Skeleton Watches With Breguet Designs
The Tradition collection shares much of its design with the Classique line, including round cases and traditional dials. However, the time displays on Tradition watches are much smaller and sit off-center at 12 o'clock. The rest of the dial is skeletonized, offering a view of the timepiece's inner workings.
The most affordable options are three-hand models like the Tradition 7091 with a retrograde second display. Prices for this watch sit around 28,500 USD. The next level up includes the Tradition 7067 GMT watch with two off-center displays, which sells for roughly 33,000 USD. Models like the Tradition Independent Chronograph, on the other hand, have a market value of approximately 64,000 USD. The collection's top model is the Tradition Grande Complication with its time display at 7 and a tourbillon at 1 o'clock. You can purchase this watch for around 126,000 USD in rose gold (ref. 7047BR/G9/9ZU) and 132,000 USD in platinum.
Marine: A Sporty Classic
The Breguet Marine collection puts a modern twist on the company's classic designs. These nautically themed watches are based on navy watches from decades past. Defining features include Roman numerals and pomme hands with "moon" tips filled with luminous material. What's more, Breguet offers Marine models with rubber straps in addition to conventional leather straps and metal bracelets.
Older Marine watches from the 2000s bear a stronger resemblance to the manufacturer's classic models with their round cases, straight lugs, and familiar dials. Depending on the material, functions, and condition, you can purchase one of these timepieces for between 7,600 and 25,000 USD on Chrono24.
The 2017 Overhaul
In 2017, Breguet treated the Marine to a major overhaul. Since then, the lugs have been wider and integrated into the case. The numerals are now applied and filled with luminous material. For the dial, you can choose between slate gray or dark blue, as well as an elegant sunburst or wave pattern. All in all, these watches feel much sportier than their predecessors.
The titanium 5517TI/G2/9ZU with three hands demands roughly 15,500 USD. Its sister model with a chronograph (ref. 5527TI/G2/9WV) sells for about 19,000 USD. The Marine Alarme Musicale is a particularly interesting timepiece. Breguet outfits this watch with a second time zone, date, and power reserve indicator in addition to its namesake alarm function. The titanium ref. 5547TI/G2/5ZU will set you back around 23,500 USD, while the rose gold edition requires an investment of about 32,000 USD.
The Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante is this collection's top model. This impressive watch boasts a tourbillon, a perpetual calendar with a retrograde date, and an additional hand with a small sun that indicates the true solar time. You can choose between the rose gold version for 171,000 USD or the platium edition for 202,000 USD.
Pilot's Watches: Types XX, XXI, and XXII
In the 1950s, Breguet supplied watches to the French military. The company developed especially robust chronographs for the country's naval aviation arm, the "force maritime de l'aéronautique navale.". These watches form the basis of the Type XX, Type XXI, and Type XX pilot's watch collections, which have been a key part of the Breguet catalog for many years.
No matter which watch you choose, it will have a tidy, easy-to-read dial – a key component of any pilot's watch. Most feature a dark background with straightforward, glow-in-the-dark Arabic numerals. Breguet uses syringe-shaped hands with a generous coating of luminous material for the hours and minutes, thus enhancing the readability. As true tool watches, these timepieces come with bidirectional rotatable bezels with a minute scale for timing intervals. Each model in the Type collections also has a practical flyback chronograph function.
The Type XX ref. 3800 is the most faithful recreation of a 1950s pilot's watch. Its power comes from the caliber 582, which is based on the Lemania 1350. This movement provides the watch with a small seconds at 3, an hour counter at 6, and a minute counter at 9 o'clock. The Type XX 3820 is nearly identical to the 3800 but also features a date display at 6. Plan to spend around 8,100 USD for the ref. 3800 in stainless steel and 13,000 USD for the same watch in gold.
Types XXI and XXII
At first glance, you could easily mistake the Type XXI ref. 3810 for the ref. 3820, but upon closer inspection, a few differences emerge. For one, the 3810's 42-mm case is 3 mm larger than its sister model. However, the most notable difference is the movement. Breguet equips this model with the caliber 584Q. It displays the chronograph minutes on a central hand, and its hour counter shares its position at 6 o'clock with the date. This movement also has a 24-hour display at 3 and small seconds at 9 o'clock. Other versions of the Type XXI include the ref. 3815 and 3817. The latter is identical to the 3810 but for its dial, which has larger numerals and, thus, a more masculine feel. On the other hand, the ref. 3814 does without an hour counter. Prices for Type XXI watches generally fall between 9,900 USD for a stainless steel or titanium model and 21,000 USD for gold editions.
The Type XXII ref. 3880 uses the caliber 589F with a high-frequency balance that ticks at 10 Hz. This means that the chronograph seconds hand needs only 30 seconds to complete one rotation around the dial. The same also applies to the small seconds at 9 o'clock. Other features of the 3880 include a day/night indicator at 3 and a second time zone at 6 o'clock. You can call this watch your own for roughly 16,500 USD in stainless steel and 28,500 USD in rose gold.
Non-Round Watches: Reine de Naples and Héritage
Throughout its history, most Breguet watches have been round. However, the Reine de Naples and Héritage collections represent two exceptions to this rule. The Reine de Naples collection is exclusively home to oval-shaped women's watches inspired by Breguet's very first wristwatch. Abraham-Louis Breguet created this collection's historical predecessor for Caroline Murat in 1810. Murat was one of Napoleon's sisters and crowned queen of Naples in 1808. Beyond the case shape, other defining features of Reine de Naples watches include an off-center time display for the hours and minutes, a crown at 4 o'clock, and unique lugs. While the upper lug is well hidden, the lower lug sits prominently at 6 o'clock and looks almost like an additional crown.
The Reine de Naples collection contains simple two-hand watches alongside models with complications like a moon phase or chime mechanism. Breguet also decorates many of these timepieces with diamonds. Prices range from roughly 12,000 USD for a simple stainless steel model to upwards of 260,000 USD for versions with diamond-encrusted cases, dials, and bracelets.
Héritage: Classic Barrel-Shaped Watches
The watches in the Héritage collection offer classic Breguet design in barrel-shaped cases. These timepieces come exclusively in white, yellow, or rose gold and are available in men's and women's sizes. Most versions feature Roman numerals on a silver-plated or mother-of-pearl dial. Highlights include the Héritage 5400 with a chronograph, the 8860 women's watch with a moon phase, and the ref. 5497 with a tourbillon.
You can find listings for the models mentioned above for between 23,500 and 117,000 USD on Chrono24. However, you can save a significant amount by purchasing an older edition like the ref. 8670 with a small seconds. Prices for these watches begin around 8,300 USD.
The History of Breguet
Abraham-Louis Breguet was one of the most prolific watchmaking geniuses of his time. He was born in 1747 in the Swiss town of Neuchâtel and later founded his workshop in Paris in 1775. There, he would develop the first automatic pocket watch and the No. 160, also known as the "Marie Antoinette." The latter is still one of the most complicated watches of all time. The watch was commissioned in 1783 by an anonymous admirer of the queen and took 44 years to complete. However, French royalty was not the sole admirer of Breguet's work: Tsar Alexander I of Russia, Napoleon Bonaparte, and Sir Winston Churchill were all customers of this innovative manufacturer. The company remained family-owned until 1870, at which point it was passed to British watchmaker Edward Brown. After several different owners and investors, Breguet joined the Swatch Group in 1999 and remains there to this day. In 2021, Lionel a Marca took over as Breguet's CEO.