If I’m being honest, this is one of the less “Breguet” watches Breguet has released in recent years. It’s an unconventional mix of traditional features, in a much more contemporary package. All the key design features are there: the fluted case, the hands and the elaborately guillochéd dial, but this watch is a world away from their Classique collection, while still being undeniably Breguet. It also — and this is a key point — doesn’t look too much like anything else in the crowded field of high-end sports chronographs.
And make no mistake, this is a high-end sports chronograph. One look at the back side of this hefty 42.3mm by 13.85mm watch should make that abundantly clear. All 346 parts of this automatic calibre (at least the ones I could see) are gorgeous, working together in complex harmony. The rotor is now a skeletonised ship’s wheel affair rather than the wavelike shape of yore. Of course, being Breguet, you know that there’s silicon inside, particularly the escapement anchor and the balance spring — good things for a sporty chrono.
The choice of white gold case leans away from sports and more towards luxury (don’t worry though, there’s a titanium option on hand if that’s more your speed). The case design is quite interesting for the brand: the integrated lugs add a sporty, ’70s vibe, which will be (I suspect) the most polarising aspect of the design. The wave-like chronograph pushers are unique, and yet another element that tells the Marine story. The case sides are fluted, naturally.
For me, though, the dial is the most interesting aspect. Let’s start at the edge and work in. Sporty Roman numerals are always a bit of work, and here they’ve ameliorated the issue by opting for quite stylised applied numerals inset into a brushed track. The centre of the deep blue dial bears a quite lovely wave motif, which really elevates the package. The hands are a lume-filled take on the iconic Breuget handset, which goes well with the numerals. Things get a little quirkier with the three chrono subdials, which are different sizes and, in the case of the hours and minutes, overlapping. Finally, there’s a date at four — a practical, if possibly contentious offering.
Breguet’s Marine Chronograph ref. 5527 is a really interesting watch, with loads of personality. Some people — the sort of people who like pigeonholing things — might find elements of the design challenging, but if you’re looking for a genuine alternative to the mainstream sports chrono pack, it’s a worthy contender.
Breguet Marine Chronograph ref. 5527 Australian pricing and availability
Breguet Marine Chronograph ref. 5527, in white gold, $43,500