The rebirth of Breguet began in 1970, when brothers Jacques and Pierre Chaumet took over in the hopes of reinvigorating the brand and renewing the connection between the Breguet name and high-end watchmaking. Shortly thereafter, the brothers closed the French factory and moved production to the Vallée de Joux in Switzerland, the epicentre of Swiss watchmaking.
In order to restore the brand to its former glory, Jacques and Pierre would need a Master Watchmaker to help. They approached Daniel Roth, who’d demonstrated his talent over seven years working at Audemars Piguet, which he’d joined as the only watchmaker who didn’t come from Le Brassus, the brand’s historic home. Inspired by the work of the famous watchmaker, Roth agreed to help resuscitate the manufacture, though only after going back to school to further study Breguet’s archives and techniques.
It took three years of research and development, working closely with Lemania, the historic movement manufacturer, to create the reference 3350, which was released in 1990, with a one-minute tourbillon fully exposed through an aperture in the dial. This Breguet reference 3350 is cased in yellow gold, a metal that evokes a truly classic, almost baroque feeling, especially with the ornate filigree-type decoration found on the reverse of the watch, in addition to the base plate which can be seen below the tourbillon. The dial itself is made from solid silver, with a guilloché pattern repeated throughout. The earliest versions of the reference 3350, of which this is one, have a subtle champagne tone to the dial and lack any additional text on the guilloché, both of which change later in the production lifecycle of the model.
A silvered chapter ring with stamped Roman numerals marks the hours, and there are two secret Breguet signatures which can be found between 11 and 12 o’clock, as well as 12 and 1 o’clock. The coin-edges that were instated by Daniel Roth as a design principle can also be seen around this piece. The skeletonised tourbillon cage is placed at the 6 o’clock marker, with the design of the complication naturally drawing the eye to it, thanks to its intricacy and hand-engraved details. The tourbillon can also be seen from the back of the movement. The tourbillon also features a blued subsidiary second hand, with three arms rotating across a 20-second indicator.
This Breguet Tourbillon reference 3350 is powered by the manual-winding calibre 558. The movement was initially produced by Lemania, working closely with Bodet and Roth from Breguet. Nouvelle Lemania was eventually acquired by Breguet in 1992, which in turn was absorbed into the Swatch Group in 1999.
If sold within the United Kingdom, this Breguet Tourbillon will be subject to 20% VAT