While most men’s watches Breguet produces are round, the Breguet Heritage 5410 is a rare exception. The reason most watch cases are round is because designers have the easiest time making round-cased watches look nice. Thus, making a non-round case such as something square, rectangular, otherwise geometric, or tonneau (barrel-shaped) is a special challenge. The risk is that despite best efforts these non-round cases will not look attractive… but the reward of getting it right is a truly distinctive wrist-wearing experience that has the potential to be a long-term classic.
The Breguet Heritage 5410, which features a tonneau-shaped case along with distinctive Breguet elements is a really nicely made package. Tonneau watches have been around for almost 100 years, but have most recently become popular thanks to two extremely different brands: Franck Muller and Richard Mille. Each of those two companies offers different executions of the same theme – but it’s done right in both instances. Those are in fact the exception to the norm as, in my opinion, most other tonneau-shaped watches out there aren’t a perfect hit. The Breguet Heritage 5410, however, is among the rare tonneau watches that I really like to wear.
I’ve not spend enough time with tonneau watches to really explain the science of what makes a perfect shape and wearing experience. To say that it is all about proportions is too simple. In this instance, I feel that the relatively flat top and bottom, rather traditional and stubby lugs, tall and flat sides with coined edges, along with the actually round dial are what make this watch work.
The Breguet Heritage 5410 is produced in both an 18k rose gold and 18k white gold case. For my hands-on demonstration I am wearing the 18k white gold model. The case dimensions actually sound small, but as you can see, it doesn’t wear that modestly given the case thickness. The Breguet Heritage 5410 is 35mm wide, 42mm tall lug to lug, and 12.9mm thick. It has 30 meters of water resistance. This watch might look a bit on the small side for very large wrists, but for a small to medium wrist such as mine, it looks really nice.
Moreover, the relatively thick and highly polished bezel adds welcome visual mass that I believe helps the overall shape. You can see that the entire case is also curved, which allows it to wear very comfortably. The sapphire crystal is also curved, but not more so than the case itself, which preserves a sense of visual harmony. While there are other well-done tonneau-shaped cases out there which thrive via different designs, Breguet gets tonneau right in their own distinct way. Of course, it isn’t a design for everyone, but with something this visually distinctive you clearly aren’t going to make all audiences happy.
The most interesting part of the Breguet Heritage 5410 is the dial, of course. Complication-wise the timepiece is rather simple, offering the time with a subsidiary seconds dial and a big date indicator window. Where things get interesting is the particular style of the Roman numeral hour markers, as well as the in-house made guilloche-machine engraving which is once again superb. The dial itself is produced from 18k gold, which is soft and easy to cut, and then silvered once it is done.
Our David Bredan recently visited Breguet’s manufacture in Switzerland and reports on the impressive area filled with “turning engines” which produces these dials. They are operated by hand and require delicate finesse and years of training to get the effect right. You can see a combination of patterns and techniques on the dial of the Breguet Heritage 5410, including a lovely wave-style pattern on the periphery of the main round dial to help fill out the tonneau-shaped dial window.
Like I said, I am sure not everyone will like this dial design, but I personally think it is beautiful. Breguet uses slightly larger than expected blued-steel pomme-style hands which look great. This is also one of the rare instances where luminant is used on the hands in a non-sports watch by the brand. Combining some Art Deco themes with the distinctive Breguet brand DNA, the Breguet Heritage 5410 case and dial is something uncommon and cool from the brand.
A trade-off of the curved caseback seems to be the omission of a exhibition display caseback, which is a bit of a shame. Breguet finishes their watches and movements so nicely it might be considered disappointing not to view the movement. Inside the watch is the in-house-made Breguet caliber 516GG, which is an automatic operating at 4Hz (28,800 bph) with 65 hours of power reserve. The balance spring is produce from silicon, typical of many modern Breguet calibers – which contributes to overall performance and accuracy over time.
Attached to the Heritage 5410 is a black or brown alligator strap fitted to a matching gold deployant clasp. There is a slightly sporty yet old-world regality to a piece like this Breguet which I feel should help it appeal to the right type of buyer able to both afford its price, and to regularly pull it off as part of their lifestyle. Price for the Breguet Heritage 5410 reference 5410BR/12/9VV in 18k rose gold is $27,700 while the reference 5410BB/12/9VV in 18k white gold is $28,700.