To my eyes, the Breguet Marine Équation Marchante 5887 is a rather unusual watch from the brand. Though Breguet is often at the cutting edge of watchmaking technology, their watches still retain a very classic and elegant look – case in point: the Breguet Classique Chronometrie Ref. 7727. Unless you knew what you were looking at, you would have never guessed that the watch contains one of the most groundbreaking escapement designs in the entire history of watchmaking. However, the Marine Équation Marchante 5887 isn’t quite like that Classique Chronometrie Ref. 7727. It is quite loud – brash, even – but it is made with the same blend of modern materials and age-old watchmaking techniques that have come to define Breguet today.

All images by David Bredan

For those not familiar with French, the Marine Équation Marchante 5887 has a running equation of time display. Équation Marchante roughly translates to “running equation.” In plain speak, it displays the equation of time as a running hand in the form of a secondary minute hand that runs concurrently with the minute hand that shows civil time. The equation of time refers to the discrepancy between true solar time (based on the motion of the actual sun) and mean solar time (civil time) because of the elliptical nature of Earth’s orbit.

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In most equation of time watches, the equation of time is shown using a subsidiary dial marked from -16 to +14 minutes – the amount of deviation between true solar time and civil time. As you can see, to tell the true solar time will therefore require a bit of mental calculation, which makes a running equation of time display, such as the one found on the Marine Équation Marchante 5887, more elegant and intuitive.

The Breguet Marine Équation Marchante 5887 is available in rose gold and platinum. The case is 43.9mm in diameter and measures about 11.5mm thick. It is an imposing case and quite different from other Breguet watches. The case middle features Breguet’s signature fluted case band, but in place of more traditional lugs are angular and dynamic-looking integrated lugs. Perhaps because of the stronger styling, rated water resistance is 100m, which is quite unusual for a highly complicated watch but totally apt considering it’s part of Breguet’s Marine collection.

The rose gold model, the one we got to handle, features a silvered dial made of gold; while the platinum model comes with a blue dial, also made of gold. The dial is unmistakably Breguet, with an engine-turned dial and an engraved center portion, purposefully done to resemble waves and invoke feelings of the sea. The large gold Roman numeral hour markers sit on a ring of brushed silver and on the top of each marker is a small plot of luminescent material to improve legibility in poorly lit environments.

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There are four central hands, which may seem complicated at first, but it is actually quite simple once you learn what they are for. The two large Breguet-style 18k gold hands with luminescent plots indicate the regular hours and minutes. The other large hand tipped with a circle that represents the sun is the secondary minute hand that shows the running equation of time. Finally, the smallest hand that is shaped like an anchor shows the date using a retrograde date display. The day and month are displayed using two apertures at 10:30 and 1:30 respectively.

To the bottom right of the dial, we have a sapphire disc that provides a window to the tourbillon within. But look carefully and you will see that there is a component shaped like a kidney. This is the cam that controls the equation of time mechanism. Look closer still and you will see that the sapphire disc is engraved with the months of the year. Finally, at 7 o’clock there is an inconspicuous power reserve indicator that is easy to miss if you didn’t look carefully.

The movement within is the self-winding Caliber 581DPE and it has a number of technical highlights. To begin, thanks to the use of silicon components in the escapement and an ultra-light titanium tourbillon cage, the tourbillon beats at 4Hz. Additionally, to allow owners to fully enjoy and admire the intricate decoration of the movement, Caliber 581DPE employs the use of a solid platinum peripheral rotor. Power reserve is 80 hours. The bridges of the movement have been painstakingly hand-engraved with the Royal Louis, though which one I’m not too sure. The name “Royal Louis” is typically the name given to the largest ship in the Royal French Navy.

All in all, I see the Marine Équation Marchante 5887 as a divisive watch from Breguet. Its technical achievements are noteworthy, but its styling will almost certainly not appeal to traditionalists. Still, one cannot fault them for trying, and I find the Marine Équation Marchante 5887 to be a refreshing break from Breguet’s more classically styled pieces. The Breguet Marine Équation Marchante 5887 is priced at $215,000 in rose gold and $230,400 in platinum.

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