Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale 5547June 7, 2021
Back in June, I wrote an introductory article for the new Breguet Marine models for 2020. Although technically not new models, the three new additions to the collection debuted a full metal bracelet. In my article, I expressed my appreciation for the engineering, the quality, and the finishing of the watches and especially the new bracelets. Fast forward a couple of months, and I had a chance to find out whether the watches and bracelets are as impressive as I had envisioned them being. I had a chance to go hands-on with the Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale 5547.
Before I started writing this article, I thought about how to make this work. The first thing that came to mind was a photo essay of Bert’s incredible images of the watch. In essence, they will tell you a big part of the story, from the tremendous overall presence to the incredibly detailed dial to the simply brilliant bracelet. Just looking at the pictures is enough to recognize this is an exquisite piece of craftsmanship.
But it would also be selling the watch short. Because the feeling I got from putting the Marine Alarme Musicale on my wrist was pretty impressive. No, this watch deserves a full review based on its transformative power. The Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale is not just any rose gold watch. Seeing this, picking it up, putting it on your wrist, and wearing it is a layered process going from respectful appreciation to blissful admiration. Checking out the watch and wearing it for a short time was enough to win me over. This Marine Alarme Musicale made a lasting impression on me and had my facial expression go from amazed to mesmerized to sheer joy. Part of the experience was due to the watch’s incredible rose gold presence. But quickly followed by the impact of the dial, the complications, the finishing, the excellent eye for detail, and the impeccable quality of manufacturing. It’s like a gift that keeps on giving.
As I explained in my article on the Breguet Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 — the flagship of the Marine collection — the story of the Marine collection goes back to 1815. In that year, Abraham-Louis Breguet was appointed Horloger de la Marine Royale. Being the official chronometer maker to the French Royal Navy was one of the most prestigious titles a watchmaker could have at that time. And over the decades, Abraham-Louis Breguet and his sons and grandsons created an extensive series of marine chronometers for the French Royal Navy.
Inspired by both that story and the design of the marine chronometers, Breguet introduced the Marine collection back in 1990. In 2005 we saw the introduction of the second generation of the Marine collection. In 2018 Breguet introduced the third and current generation of the Marine collection. Within the collection, the Marine 5517, 5527, and 5547 are the three timepieces that form the backbone of the collection. The 5517 is the 40mm three-hander, the 5527 is the 42.3mm chronograph, and this 5547 is the 40mm Alarme Musicale.
All three models are available in titanium, white gold, and rose gold. Up until this year, the titanium version was the only one available on a bracelet. But for 2020, Breguet introduced all three of the models with white gold and rose gold bracelets as well. A smart move as it gives these Breguet sports watches a sportier aesthetic, and on top of that, the bracelets are my preferred option for the Marine models. After experiencing the bracelets, it’s hard — or simply impossible — to go back to a leather strap.
Balazs reviewed the white gold Marine 5517 a couple of weeks ago, and he discussed a great topic. In his review, Balazs perfectly explained the defining character of Breguet within the world of watches combined with the power of the brand to evolve with the times. Essentially Breguet has managed to shake the somewhat old fashioned perception over these last couple of years with the Marine collection without losing that classical Breguet feeling.
So let’s zoom in on the Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale 5547 in red gold. It is the most complicated watch out of the three models that were introduced on precious metal bracelets. The overall styling is inspired by naval influences like the dial, the handset, and the wave-shaped crown guards. They combine perfectly with the brand’s signature fluted case band and central lug. This combination of elements is done in typical Breguet fashion with a great sense of style and sophistication.
Every element, every detail looks very well balanced and is meticulously executed. Even the two sub-dials that differ in size do not feel odd or out of sync. The sub-dial at 3 o’clock shows the alarm time and is more prominent and features the same style hand set as the central dial. The smaller sub-dial at 9 o’clock indicates the second time zone and is more straightforward in its appearance. By cleverly adjusting the design of the sub-dials to suit their size, they both blend in with the beautiful hand-applied wavy pattern of the dial. That pattern turns out to be the perfect backdrop for all the watch’s complications.
The Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale has several complications that can be operated through the two crowns on the right side of the case and a pusher on the left side of the case. The crown placed at the 2 o’clock position has four different positions. It allows you to wind the watch, meaning both the time and chiming mechanism, and set both the time and the date. The crown placed at 4 o’clock lets you set the second time zone and the alarm time.
The alarm is activated and deactivated by the pusher at the 7 o’clock position. You can see if the alarm is activated just underneath the logo at 12 o’clock. When the alarm is activated, a little bell appears. And by a click of the pusher at 7 o’clock, it also disappears when deactivated. When the alarm is activated, it will ring every 12 hours. Placed left of the alarm indication is also the alarm power reserve indicator, with indications cleverly placed between the Roman numerals from 9 to 12 o’clock.
So the Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale features quite a list of complications. But thanks to the smart placement of the sub-dials and indicators and styling of the different elements, everything falls into place naturally.
The movement that makes all this possible is the Breguet Calibre 519F/1 that was first introduced in 2004. It is the result of joint development by Lemania (Breguet) and Fredéric Piguet (Blancpain). The alarm movement ticks at 28,800vph and features two barrels. The first for the time mechanism and the second for the alarm mechanism. As mentioned earlier, both barrels can be wound manually by winding the crown and through the automatic unidirectional winding mechanism. When it comes to the alarm mechanism, the name Alarme Musicale potentially might throw you off a bit. Despite the name containing the word Musicale, the alarm does not play a musical symphony of sorts. The alarm is a traditional mechanism of a hammer hitting a gong that sounds very crisp and nice. The movement is visible through the sapphire case back and is a feast for the eyes. As you would expect from Breguet, the hand-finishing is superb. The finishing is a combination of Geneva stripes, hand-guilloché lines, perlage, and anglage. On top of that, the naval theme is also applied to the movement with the oscillating weight resembling a ship’s wheel.
When I first came into the office to check out the new Breguet models, I had no idea what was about to happen. Upon arrival, I was especially interested in the Marine Tourbillon Équation Marchante 5887 — review to follow on Fratello soon. I wrote an article on the watch when it was first introduced, and I love that watch. And it’s not often that you have a chance to experience such an exceptional timepiece for a more extended period.
But when I entered the Fratello offices, Bert and Robert-Jan immediately showed me the Marine Alarme Musicale. And I quickly found out why. Obviously, rose gold watches with a rose gold bracelet stand out. Their presence is grand and without being as “loud” as a yellow gold watch. Don’t get me wrong. I love yellow gold watches. But rose gold is its more sophisticated brother, in my opinion. And with this Marine Alarme Musicale, Breguet really hit it out of the park. The combination of the silvered gold dial with its wavy pattern and the rose gold case and bracelet is simply breathtaking. Before I put the watch on my wrist, I first checked out all its complications and how to operate the watch. For a watch with quite a few complications, I have to say it works very intuitively. And as I was taking-in the craftsmanship of the movement and its functions, I knew putting it on my wrist would define my overall opinion. As mentioned earlier, seeing the images of the full gold bracelets of the three new Marine models was impressive. But experiencing them in the metal was indeed a different experience. The three-link design, with its eye-catching integrated first link, is stunning. What I love and explained in my introductory article is that most links do not have screw holes. Breguet secures the links with the screws located on the underside of the bracelet. When I turned the bracelet over, I was able to check out the large affixing screws. You might expect thin, weedy little screws from a brand steeped in as much grace and elegance as Breguet. But these screws are thick, robust, and are a visual indication of the quality of the bracelet. And I can assure you this is not just simply a high-quality bracelet. When I put the watch on my wrist, I experienced what, in my opinion, is the best three-link bracelet in the watch industry. The build quality is unmatched, and the way it hugs your wrist is exceptional. With a firm click, I closed the clasp, and it was as if at that moment the watch and I clicked as well. I could go on for hours on how beautiful the dial is in the natural sunlight or how comfortable the 40mm watch wears on my 18cm wrist. Or how qualitative the crown feels with every turn, and the pusher feels with every click. The Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale is a brilliant watch in every single way. But typing this, I realize this is something you have to experience for yourself. That feeling I got from putting it on my wrist and wearing the watch is hard to put into words.
I can only hope that my words and mostly Bert’s pictures give a glimpse of the incredible attraction of the Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale. If you have a chance to experience it in reality, do not hesitate. At a list price of CHF 58,900, it is an expensive watch accessible only for the happy few. But that realization did not take anything away from my boyish enthusiasm for the watch when I had it on my wrist.
Overall I think Breguet has created a great line of watches with its Marine collection. After experiencing them, the Breguet Marine collection is up there with the absolute best in luxury sports watches. And that is precisely what I had expected before I experienced them in the metal. But I could have never anticipated how deep an effect it would have on me. And that’s how the best became even better.