Skeleton 3355 Breguet Classique Tourbillon, Platinum

Breguet around Daniel Roth was something else. This is a 3355, which might sound a lot like 3350 if you know your Breguet. Roth worked closely with Lemania for three years to develop this one-second tourbillon, which debuted in 1989. In fact, after Roth branched out on his own, this movement served as the ébauche of many of his tourbillon designs. VC even cribbed it for their first tourbillon. A few years later, in ’93, came this skeleton. It has been a mainstay in the Breguet name since and, rather surprisingly, remains in production to this day. That’s 35 years, albeit with a few small updates along the way. For a tourbillon, that is unprecedented. But actually, it’s not really just one reference.

Interestingly, the 3355 has gone through about seven small updates, but the reference has not changed and Breguet don’t publicly state anything, which makes it fertile ground for the obsessives like us to jump headfirst into learning the details. Tourbillon cage style, skeletonization pattern, engravings, and regulation index to free-sprung all changed. The free-sprung balance, bat-shaped skeletonization under the transmission wheel, Breguet engraving on tourbillon bridge back, and engraving under the tourbillon bridge dial side mark this out as a Type 2.2 with calibre 558 SQ1. As if you couldn’t tell by looking at the sharp inner angles, this is a watch that rewards not only a close look but studying its evolution. I actually quite like that Breguet don’t make these updates known, that’s on us.

For the level of handcraft invested here, these skeletons usually trade hands at a 60-75% premium over their full-dialed and bridged family. Platinum is the more desirable, though where platinum 3350s were scarcely made, 3355 production is almost 50/50 between platinum and yellow gold. And very rarely, you’ll find one on a double-beads of rice platinum bracelet, which is always special. One of the things Breguet has done exactly right under Swatch is preserving the production of this reference in quite small numbers, just to let you know they can still play ball competitively when they feel like it. It’s not super rare, but super lovely, and romantic in a way only Breguet can be.

This example appears quite well-preserved. The lugs a sharp, with only light marks from strap changing. Amusingly, the retailer notes a tiny clothing fibre in one of the screw heads, if anything that just gives me confidence in their inspection and retail abilities. But I’m sure that would be easy to correct in a service. It comes from a well-regarded London retailer.