“Not that many years ago, if we had said we intended putting magnets in a watch movement, people would have thought we were mad!” jokes Alain Zaugg, who heads the engineering bureau at Breguet. “Now we bring the proof that not only is it possible, but that magnetism offers undeniable advantages and has yet to reveal its full potential, something we’ll be working hard to demonstrate in the coming months.”
How does the magnetic pivot work? A powerful micro-magnet is incorporated in the endstones at each end of the balance staff. Held in an “artificial gravitational force”, the balance staff pivots in permanently constant conditions. As the brand explains, “if a shock knocks the balance staff sideways, the system acts like a pare-chute to return it to its position, thanks to the magnetic forces that automatically re-centre the staff. The result is a balance that is insensitive to gravity, more stable and resistant to shocks.” The Classique Chronométrie 7727 is protected by six patents.
2013 is the year of the tourbillon at Breguet, and the company was duty-bound to present a timepiece that gives pride of place to Abraham-Louis Breguet’s invention, a complication emulated countless times since. The Classique Tourbillon extra-thin automatic 5377, driven by a calibre just 3mm high with peripheral oscillating weight, fills this role to perfection.
The tourbillon carriage and balance are in titanium, the balance spring is in silicon, and the escapement in silicon and anti-magnetic steel. They are assembled in a 4 Hz movement whose “high energy” barrel delivers a 90-hour power reserve. This same barrel equips the Classique réserve de marche 5277 whose mainsprings are made from a new type of anti-magnetic stainless steel that delivers excellent mechanical performance. As Breguet explains, “this patented material stores more energy in a given volume, which means a greater power reserve and a constant torque for an unvarying rate.” No doubt about it, the list of Breguet’s patents is set to grow.