Blancpain vs. Breguet: Which is the Better Luxury Watch Brand?
Swiss watches have been a gold standard for luxury pieces for a long time. The oldest watchmaking companies are included in that category, including Blancpain and Breguet. These heritage brands have survived for over 200 years, thanks to brilliance, dedication to quality, and innovation. These qualities, combined with awe-inspiring history, make a tough choice between these two brands.
Both Blancpain and Breguet had their roots in the 18th century. Blancpain is the oldest surviving watchmaking company in the world. Jehan-Jacques Blancpain founded it in Switzerland in 1735.
Breguet is also one of the oldest surviving watchmakers. Abraham-Louis Breguet founded the brand in Paris in 1775. Breguet is the pioneer of many technologies, such as the tourbillon, the self-winding watch, and the world’s first wristwatch worn by Caroline Bonaparte.
Marie Antoinette was also fascinated by Breguet pieces. Her admirer commissioned the most complicated watch of the time from the company, which was in the making for forty years. The watchmakers completed this masterpiece after her death.
Blancpain has been a subsidiary of the Swiss Swatch Group since 1992, while Breguet joined the group in 1999. Both companies have manufacturing facilities in the eminent Vallée de Joux in Switzerland, along with other top brands.
Which Brand is More Famous?
When considering the Blancpain vs. Breguet rivalry, one can look at brand ranking. According to market research, Breguet is one of the best-known Swiss brands, while Blancpain doesn’t make the list.
However, watch enthusiasts are sure to distinguish both of these heritage brands when they encounter one of their pieces.Entertainment giants such as Marylin Monroe, Brad Pitt, and Francis Ford Coppola sported Blancpain watches, while Jacques Cousteau wore a nautical model.
Breguet pieces found their way to historical figures such as King George III, Alexandre I of Russia, Napoléon Bonaparte, Queen Victoria, Sir Winston Churchill, Sergei Rachmaninoff, and Gioachino Rossini.
Blancpain offers classic and heritage-inspired designs with its collections. The nautical collection Fifty Fathoms offers more sporty looks, but it still retains a vintage feel. The Métiers d’Art collection contains intricate designs adorning the watch’s display, with each timepiece being a small-scale work of art.
Blancpain cases come in gold, platinum, titanium, and ceramic, with straps made from leather, fabric, metal, or rubber. Even though it’s another heritage brand, Breguet creates more modern designs. For example, the Marine collection watches are based on the traditional Breguet values interpreted in a contemporary way.
Breguet watches possess several signature elements, making them recognizable right away. Most Breguet watches have featured the hollow “moon” tip watch hands for over two hundred years. The fluting on the case band of many Breguet watches is another mark of the brand’s style.
Some Breguet watches display the distinctive numerals the founder himself designed before the French Revolution. The lugs that link the strap to the case have all the marks of authentic Breguet style. Screw-pins hold the strap between the horns instead of the more common sprung bars, ensuring a more secure fit.
Both brands are committed to rigorous in-house testing to ensure the maximum quality of their timepieces. In the purpose-built Blancpain laboratory, specialists analyze the performance of watch components to confirm their functional capability. Breguet performs control tests for 5 to 10 weeks, in addition to testing each movement right after assembly.
Blancpain’s group of engineers tasked with designing the movements is one of the largest in the industry. They are a part of the 700-strong team located at the Le Sentier workshops that create exceptional pieces.
Blancpain has been vertically integrated since 2010, when the company fully incorporated Frédéric Piguet SA. The brand makes the majority of its watches in-house, as well as most of the tools they use in manufacturing.
One of the most significant parts of the Blancpain workshops is the complicated watches department, where one master watchmaker creates a timepiece from beginning to end.
Blancpain complications include calendars, moon-phase indications, date displays, equation-of-time indications, double-time-zone functions, alarms, tourbillons, carrousels, chronographs, jumping hours, retrograde minutes and seconds, depth gauges, and minute-repeaters. Blancpain experts are also well-versed in combining complications.
Breguet prides itself on an even bigger team of experts, which counts over 800 people from over 30 professions. They also produce specific tools, ensuring perfect fit and protection of unique production techniques.
The Manufacture Breguet, formerly known as Nouvelle Lemania, produces the movements in-house. One department is wholly dedicated to the guilloche technique, a signature style of Breguet pieces dating from the 18th century.
Small groups of artisans work in dedicated workshops on complications like the perpetual calendar, tourbillon, and minute repetitions. Breguet demonstrated expertise and the range of complications it offers by recreating the Marie Antoinette watch, which combines every available watch function in a single piece.
Blancpain vs. Breguet: Which is More Accurate?
The two brands are dedicated to upholding traditional timekeeping through high-quality mechanical pieces. Even though they can be cheaper to produce and more accurate, Blancpain vowed never to create a quartz or electronic battery-powered digital watch.
Blancpain weathered the quartz crisis in the 1970s and came out on top. To this day, Breguet has stayed on the mechanical path as well.
Movements coming from Blancpain have a frequency of up to 4 Hz, which translates to 1/8 of a second precision. This is a fairly standard feature. However, some of their models boast up to 192 hours of power reserve.
Breguet introduced a 10 Hz high-frequency movement in 2010. The use of silicone reduced the weight and the lubrication constraints linked to such high frequencies. This movement is capable of marking off the 20ths of a second.
This increase in frequency enhances the rate precision and stability of the watch. On the other hand, Breguet pieces have a lesser power reserve than Blancpain models.
In 1815, the king of France appointed Abraham-Louis Breguet as the chronometer maker to the French Royal Navy. Marine chronometers were vital for fleets at the time since they enabled calculations of ships’ positions, which is why they had to be accurate and resilient to the constant rolling of the boats.
The contemporary Breguet Marine watches keep this history with a modern twist in design and functionality. The collection uses titanium for some of the cases, which is a rarity at Breguet. It’s perfect for diving watches as it’s resistant to saltwater damage and humid environments. The water-resistance of these pieces goes up to 300 meters.
Blancpain’s Fifty Fathoms collection embodies the passion for the marine world. In 1953, it emerged amid the great dive watch race between major watchmakers, pushing the limits of available technology. All contemporary Fifty Fathoms models carry the hallmarks of the original watch, wrapped in modern design with improved capabilities.
Fifty fathoms translate to roughly 90 meters, which was the maximum depth that the original watch could survive. Today, pieces from this collection have a water resistance of 300 meters. The Blancpain vs. Breguet match is a tie in this category.
Every watch manufacturer recommends that owners avoid strong magnetic fields. This sort of exposure may cause the piece to run fast or even stop running. However, it will not cause any lasting or irreversible damage to the movement. Owners can bring watches that run fast or completely stop to an authorized servicing facility to demagnetize.
In 2006, Breguet achieved a breakthrough in horological technology by introducing various mechanical movement parts in silicon. This substance is known for being resistant to magnetic attraction and influence, as well as highly resistant to corrosion and wear. Both lighter and harder than steel, it diminishes inertia and provides more opportunities to create new and complex shapes.
Blancpain also equips nearly all timepieces with balance springs made from silicon. The performance, antimagnetic properties, and precision of this material surpass the materials that watchmakers traditionally used. Therefore, both brands pay great attention and care to the antimagnetic properties of their pieces.
According to Blancpain, a single component can have up to 50 steps in the manufacturing process, and it can take six hours of work to create just one piece. For a watch movement with 300 pieces, it can take about 1,800 hours of highly-concentrated work.
Just this fact can help us understand the cost of a Blancpain timepiece. Similar production times, as well as price points, are true for Breguet watches. Pieces from both brands range from around $9,000 to well into six figures. Both brands offer a two-year warranty.
Blancpain vs. Breguet – Which One is Better?
The bottom line is both of these brands offer beautiful luxury pieces at varying price points. Breguet and Blancpain produce high-quality collections that cater to different tastes. They are heritage brands that survived for over two centuries and pioneered various technologies, staying relevant in modern times.
You can choose from a wide array of models to suit your needs, and the choice comes down to your preferences. Whether you opt for a Breguet or a Blancpain piece, you can find it right here at Exquisite Timepieces.