The Great Find Breguet Marine 5817 | VARIO
I was in a watch collectors meeting and we were talking about a one watch collection, this topic always comes around and the sole winner is always the Rolex Explorer 36mm, really you don’t need anything else, you can wear it everyday as a casual piece, then at night as a dress watch and even in formal occasions it can blend like nothing else but to me it lacks the hand finishing element, yes it is utilitarian and very austere but it is a mass produced watch, there is nothing wrong with that but in my books a hand finished product with attention to detail (not that the Explorer isn’t high quality) is something that I would like to live with. Then we continue with the arguments, a rubber strap, or a steel bracelet, how about a leather vintage one? Well to me rubber is the way to go, good for summer, great for everyday and can look cool with a dressier attire. Finally, I got to be able to see the movement, I don’t know what it is but when the rotor spins (or the balance is running on manual wind piece) and shows those beveled edges, I just smile. After reading all of this you can see that the cool Explorer doesn’t meet my criteria and a Patek Phillipe Aquanaut or a Rolex Yachtmaster on a Oysterflex would be the way to go, of course if you have been following the watch market you would know that this is impossible as they are trending over 50% retail and beyond, so I had a great find, better finished that the Rolex and on the dial side much more elaborated that the Aquanaut, and way cheaper on the secondary market, is it possible? Yes, and its here with me: the Breguet Marine 5817. When it comes to watch provenance, Rolex, Patek Philippe and Audemar Piguet really take the central stage but Breguet is no slouch, sure it has some issues in the 70s like any other watchmaker but none of the previous brands can brag about innovations and history like Breguet can, yes we all know about the tourbillon, the Breguet hands, the Breguet Numerals or Breguet over coil, but what we don’t know is that a brand with so much history and attention to detail, today, its overshadow by a lot of mainstream brands, and that for us watch lovers, is a great find. Now back to the watch.
The watch is 39mm which again as you hear me on every review, means perfection, it has lots of presence but also so much charm. I have to say is not the stealthiest piece I’ve own, it looks very expensive. The dial is a masterpiece, handmade guilloche dial that looks like wave motif with Breguet hands (of course) and a big date complication at 12. The center is black with a track that includes beautiful applied Roman numerals all in white gold. The watch is elegant but at the same time very sporty, you can find the marine motif in the crown guards, in the strap buckle in the guilloche patterns and even on the rotor but somehow it blends well, very well. The watch is very slim (under 11.5) and that is thanks to the Frederique Piguet Caliber 1150 which boast 2 barrels to have a 65-hour power reserve, perfect for that every day action and very robust but also finished to perfection. I was mentioning the side of the case and its also a master class on finishing, the coined edge side of the case looks unmistakable Breguet and creates that look which you can really appreciate when you look closely, details, lots of them but all well executed.
On the wrist:
The watch looks great on my 6.5-inch wrist, its comfortable on that lovely high end rubber strap, with a lug to lug is 50mm the Marine is larger of what I usually wear, but that 39mm case makes the whole watch very proportioned and imposing, I love the presence. Legibility couldn’t be better, the numerals which sit on that silver minute track really stand out and the big date at 6 o clock really helps to make a visual break from the dial, I think I might be getting older, but the big date complication is one of the most useful ones I’ve seen lately.
I always like the look of the Marine 5817 from afar but as soon as it was on my wrist, well that was it, I felt for it, and big. The mighty Aquanaut which you can find now around 64K GBP to me fall short of to the Breguet, yes the finishing on the Aquanaut’s movement might be higher but not by much and the dial details (or lack of) are very far from what the Marine has to offer, in the end it is all down to which one you like more but when the prices are so drastically different then you start to wonder if the Patek is all hype. I am happy that I found my grail piece by chance, I didn’t aspire to have a Breguet but now I cannot live without it, is the show case piece on my collection and hopefully for many years to come, next stop I will pair it with a Vario strap 😊
Written by Robbie from Robbie & Watches
Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the author and do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in professional or personal capacity, unless explicitly stated.
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