Perhaps one of watchmaking's most overlooked industry titans, few brands can claim as many mechanical innovations and iconic pieces of design as Breguet can. Be it their Breguet hands, Breguet numerals, the tourbillon, the Breguet overcoil, or others; the industry has benefitted tremendously from Breguet's continuous evolution and the Classique Tourbillon Ref. 3357 is emblematic of everything Breguet has come to stand for in the modern watchmaking industry.
For context, the Chaumet brothers and Daniel Roth spearheaded the revival of Breguet throughout the 1970s and 1980s, which eventually saw the introduction of the Ref. 3350 Tourbillon in 1988. The Ref. 3350 became the very first tourbillon wristwatch produced under the Breguet banner. During that period, while the tourbillon complication no longer served its once crucial function to improve time-keeping accuracy, its historical importance for Breguet and its visual appeal meant that the Ref. 3350 made perfect sense at the time. A few years later, the Ref. 3350 was then replaced with the Ref. 3357, which is the watch we are offering here today.
Understated yet luxurious is how I would describe the Classique Tourbillon Ref. 3357’s aesthetics and design; it is, as its name suggests, classically styled. It features a conservative 36mm coin-like case with an elegant fluting wrapped around the case band and fine scalloped lugs that curve downwards ever so slightly. The Classique Tourbillon Ref. 3357 exudes a sophisticated aura of craftsmanship in Breguet’s very own unmistakable style.
On the dial, you will find that it is gracefully adorned with hand-turned guilloche decoration, as indicated by the text “Swiss Guilloche Main” at the 3 o ‘clock position. The outer periphery of the dial is covered in the Grain D’orge motif. At 12 o ‘clock sits a subdial with brushed silver rings that feature the primary time-telling functions. The hour and minute are indicated by Breguet’s very own signature thermal-blued Breguet hands and Roman numerals painted in black. If you look closer, you will notice Breguet’s minimal signature between the XI and X11, and XII and I. The center of this subdial is beautifully covered by a contrasting Clou de Paris guilloche which offsets the silver brushed rings – creating a captivating visual contrast between both textures. At 6 o ‘clock lies the glorious one-minute tourbillon cage, which also holds a three-armed running seconds mechanism.
Regarding its movement, the Ref. 3357 is powered by a manually wound, 21-jeweled Cal. 558, which is a movement produced by Nouvelle Lemania with the involvement of the legendary Daniel Roth and Francois Bodet during their respective tenures with Breguet. The Cal. 558 features a lateral level escapement, a balance adjusted to 6 positions, and a self-compensating Breguet balance spring. It also boasts a power reserve of 50 hours.
As I have mentioned earlier, the Ref. 3357 was introduced in the early 1990s as the successor to the Ref. 3350. They were both almost identical in design, except for several cosmetic differences. The main difference is the “0” in Ref. 3350 indicates a closed caseback, whereas the “7” in Ref. 3357 indicates an open caseback. This is an important aspect of the Ref. 3357 because it allows us to peek into what makes the Ref. 3357 so alluring and beautiful. This a true testament to the extraordinary artisans who perfectly executed the “ciselage” (carving) on the backplate of the Lemania movement. Ciselage is a rare technique specially reserved for Breguet’s most precious models, and to see one here on this Tourbillon is an absolute treat to the eyes.
The Breguet Classique Tourbillon Ref. 3357 is a unique watch, and it is not difficult to see why. Insane craftsmanship, impressive movement, intricate dial details, and an extremely wearable case. It has been an absolute pleasure to be able to handle and now offer this beautiful piece of art on the site.