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Review: Breguet Héritage Grande Date Ref. 5410

Are tonneau cases a thing of the past?
by Ryan Teoh on August 5, 2017
Positives

Great visual texture on the dial
Exceedingly comfortable on the wrist

Negatives

Closed case back hides the Breguet movement
Slightly tall at 12.90mm

Breguet have an illustrious history behind them, and currently produce pieces along a few themes: Classique (round case), Type XX (sports themed), Marine (with crown guards) and Héritage (tonneau case). The gents also have La Tradition which feature open-faced watches with movement on the front and a small face, while the ladies have Reine de Naples which feature oval bezels. Today we take a closer look at Breguet’s Héritage Grande Date Ref. 5410 in rose gold.

 

Breguet’s Héritage Grande Date Ref. 5410

One of the oldest watchmaking establishments in the horological world, Breguet was founded by Abraham-Louis Breguet back in 1775. This puts Breguet alongside Girard-Perregaux (1791) and Vacheron Constantin (1755) as the oldest Swiss brands still open today.

The Héritage series, true to its name, clearly reflect that pedigree in its line up.

 

The immensely detailed dial is a feast for the eyes

Case, Dial and Hands:

On first impression, the purposefully curved case and lugs clamour for attention. The case is of course tonneau, which is French for cask or barrel, and along its sides there is the familiar coin-edge finishing that is characteristic of Breguet offerings. Picking up the piece, one will find a notable but not cumbersome heft to the 42x35mm yellow gold piece. The lugs, which are welded and utilise screw bars, follow the pre-existing curvature of the case. The caseback is a solid gold piece bearing the reference number of this Héritage time-only piece. It would be much preferred if Breguet had made this a display caseback, or at least allowed for the option to swap out to a sapphire caseback to better appreciate the movement and the finishing that Breguet are known for. The 5410 also sits at 12.90mm tall, which may come across as a tad too thick. The curved case and dial do well to mask that fact, however, and the watch does not feel particularly chunky when worn. In fact, the curvature of the case imparts a functional benefit of feeling remarkably comfortable on the wrist.

 

The curved case back sits very comfortably on the wrist, but detracts from appreciation of the movement

 

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As well-made as the case is, the main highlight for this writer is definitely the dial. In accordance with the case, the 18k white gold dial itself is curved as well. One’s attention is drawn quite immediately to the big date window sitting at the 12 o’clock region. The right angles of the Grande Date window are starkly juxtaposed against the flowing lines and curves of this piece, but this writer feels this is for the better, rather than having an unembellished date window plainly cut out as most are.

 

Varying finishes on the outer, inner rings and seconds subdial are visually scintillating touches to this dial

 

But the attention to detail does not stop there – the engine-turned dial features a different guilloche design on the outer ring, inner ring and seconds subdial. The outer ring features an italicised spiral guilloche, inner ring resembling a sliced cake with icing, and a simple radial pattern guilloche to finish off the seconds subdial. The seconds subdial is notably angled ever to slightly forward toward the wearer as well. What these do, in the bigger picture, is that it ever so clearly delineates the different parts of the dial which in turns make for outstanding legibility. Visually, these add generous amounts of texture to a simple three hand piece. The chapter ring is completed by large, prominent applied roman numeral hour markers.

 

The author trying his hand at the Rose Engine which makes the guilloche patterns on the dial. Of course, for the intricate designs on the dial of the 5410, the tempered hand of a trained expert is called for.

 

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The hands, of course, are Breguet’s signature pomme, or apple style hands. Interestingly, Superluminova is applied in the usually-open tips of the hands, and as a “shadow” of the hour markers: an irony as the shadows are now the illuminators of the dial. One could not resist a wry smile upon noticing it.

 

This piece is a rarity from Breguet in that lume has been applied despite not being a sporty watch

 

Movement:

The Héritage 5410 is powered by Breguet’s in-house automatic calibre 516 GG which incorporates contemporary elements in line with its history of innovation and invention. An example would be the usage of a silicon balance spring to give the movement an anti-magnetic boost as well as decreasing temperature fluctuations. The 516 GG does give a better than average power reserve of 65 hours, and beats at a feisty 28,800 bph (4 Hz). It’s a real pity that we do not get to appreciate its beauty due to the closed caseback.

 

Coin-edge finishing makes the 12.90mm tall case look thinner than it actually is

 

Competitive Landscape:

Priced at $39,800 for a rose gold case and guilloched dial, the Héritage Grande Date is certainly rubbing shoulders with the bulk of haute horlogerie. But its unique combination of date window, a la German watches, and the tonneau case makes it stand out from the crowd. Here are some pieces to consider:

One brand who produces perhaps the best known tonneau-cased pieces is Franck Muller, and for good reason. Their Casablanca line channels the same simplicity of a three hander in a tonneau case without the date complication. For those who do want the date, Franck Muller has you covered with the Cintree Curvex Grande Date. Retailing about US$29,000 (approx S$39k), it features a full calendar and a large double date display in the tonneau case. These come in a variety of colourways for collectors who are looking to inject a splash of colour to their collection.

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The 5410 goes well with perhaps a set of Breguet cufflinks in rose gold (S$7,400) and mechanical pencil (S$5,600) which are boutique only items.

 

As mentioned above, the oversized date window probably rings a bell as a dominant feature of many German watches such as from A. Lange and Sohne. The Saxonia Automatic Moonphase (€28,500 in pink gold, about S$45,000) is a classic example. It is a relatively entry-level piece from A. Lange and Sohne, roughly comparable to the price of the 5410, albeit a bit more for the moonphase display. It is not tonneau shape, but comes with the iconic outsized date window.

 

Concluding Thoughts:

This offering from Breguet is quite definitely one of the better, if not one of the best, tonneau shaped watches out on the market today. The 5410 definitely delivered the quality and finishing expected of Breguet without compromising on the wearability. The notable heft is a welcome aspect of the watch when on the wrist, giving it that sense of volume and presence on the wrist.

 

The 5410 wears very well on the wrist and suitably gives off an air of refinement

 

Breguet Héritage Grande Date Ref. 5410 Technical Specifications

Case:

  •         Rose Gold or White Gold options available
  •         Case shape: Tonneau
  •         Case length: 42mm
  •         Case width: 35mm
  •         Case thickness: 12.90mm
  •         Water-resistance: 30m

 

Movement:

  •         Self-winding
  •         Power reserve (hours) 65
  •         Calibre 516 GG
  •         11½ Lignes
  •         30 Jewels
  •         Frequency: 28,800bph (4 Hz)
  •         Escapement: Inverted straight-line lever
  •         Balance-spring: Flat / Silicon

 

Price:

Ref: 5410BB/12/9VV (white gold), RRP S$ 41,200

Ref: 5410BR/12/9VV (rose gold), RRP S$ 39,800

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