Breguet Marine 5817 - Review

Jul 21, 2015,01:33 AM

The Breguet 5817 Marine is a watch that I have desired for quite a while. Its flitted about near the top of my wishlist for a few years now and I recently got the chance to pick one up on the secondary market for an excellent price. The watch, an early model from 2004, is itself is in very good condition with mostly the expected hairline scratches on the case. The clasp on the other hand has some rather more noticeable scratches but that doesn’t bother me.

I’ve now had the watch for about 3 weeks and so I’ll try to put across some thoughts though mostly this is about the pictures smile

(I'm quite new to high end watches so please bear that in mind when reading through)

Vital stats

Case: 39mm, stainless steel
Thickness: 11.82mm
Water Resistance: 100m
Indications: Hours, Minutes, Central seconds, Big date
Power reserve: 65 hours
Rate: 4hz (28,800 bph)

The Marine has a 39mm stainless steel case which may surprise some as it wears larger than that figure might suggest. Key to this are the rather large and aggressive lugs. 

The overall design of the watch combines cues from classical Breguet dress watches with more sporting elements. For some people the effect is neither here nor there. However, fans of this watch such as myself find it to be a superb combination that creates a casual sports watch appropriate for daily wear but with a great deal of flexibility. I think smart casual is an ideal word to describe the watch on bracelet or rubber although on a leather strap it could easily be taken for a purpose built dress watch. In usage situations it probably overlaps the most with my 116520 Daytona.

I have always loved the detailing on Breguet cases and the Marine does not disappoint. The case is polished on all surfaces and features a double stepped bezel. The sides are fluted in the traditional Breguet fashion. It should be noted that the fluting is created by cold rolling onto the case before finishing by hand. 

The crown screw in crown is signed with the B from the logo and protected by two interesting curved crown guards. The watch is rated to 100m of water resistance.

The crystal is uncoated but slightly domed which helps reduce reflections somewhat. It tops off the watch at a reasonable 11.82mm thickness.

The previous owner had it on a dark brown leather strap which did not suit the watch at all IMO. I switched it to the original black rubber strap (which was included). Having seen Jrwong23's Marine over here in this forum, I think I will try to get the navy blue rubber strap which was originally made for the blue dial version as the dark blue looks to be a nice complement to the blued steel hands and markers

The strap is secured with a deployant clasp which itself is adjusted with an oversized tang and buckle and two large steel loops. Again I suspect this will evoke mixed feelings but I quite like it. 

As with other Breguet watches the strap is held by a screwed bar instead of a spring bar. It’s secure yes, but a pain to change straps it looks like. It took the dealer a good few minutes to switch the strap from the leather to rubber (although that included changing over the buckle hardware as well). If that were not the case I might consider the bracelet as option to occasionally switch to.

The lugs are welded onto the case and are quite substantial. However since they are shaped to fit the wrist, it is not a problem for me. On the wrist, it wears extremely comfortably and is a good fit for my 6.7inch wrists. 

And now on to the star feature of the watch… the dial. 

Unlike most Breguet watches which utilise a few different guilloche patterns, the 5817 features only one. However this one pattern is a beautiful and mesmerising wavy spiral that plays with the light in many interesting ways. I am not kidding when I saw that I am regularly distracted by the dial when I am wearing this watch as I catch myself just staring and moving it around in the light 

The chapter ring is stepped and detailed with circular brushing. The hour markers are applied Roman numerals and heat blued. The minute markers are on an outer track and include subtle luminous markers on the hours. 

The hands are of course open tipped Breguet hands, a signature so closely associated with the brand that it’s on the logo not to mention that even other watchmakers refer to them as such. In the case of the Marine, the open tips are actually filled with lume and are of course heat blued to match the hour numerals. 

The big date is integrated into the chapter ring very nicely. The windows are nicely detailed and its placement means it does not disrupt the beauty of the centre of the dial. Thus the date is both highly legible and out of the way when not needed. The switchover is instantaneous at midnight.

The watch is powered by the Breguet 517GG movement which is Breguet’s version of the Frederic Piguet 1150. The 1150 is these days more closely associated with sister company Blancpain.

The movement is a thin full rotor automatic movement with 65 hours of power reserve from double barrels. Breguet increased the beat from 3hz to 4hz for their version; the Blancpain versions deliver 100 hours with 3hz. Introduced in 2004, it unfortunately does not have the latest Breguet tech such as the silicon hairspring and escape wheel nor does it feature a free sprung balance (it is regulated by a Triovis fine adjuster). The date can be quick set from the crown but the movement does not hack.

The movement is however one of the more attractive full rotor automatics I’ve seen. The bridges are very shapely although the rotor obscures half of it at any given time (waving the watch lightly and letting the rotor spin freely gives a nice view though). 

This picture of the Blancpain manual winding version of the movement shows the architecture quite nicely. The pic is from an article by Walt Odets on Time Zone and is worth a read.

When it comes to the finish my main frame of reference is the Glashütte Original Panograph, which is admittedly a more expensive manual wind chronograph. 

Compared with the straight 45 degree cut anglage of the GO the Breguet edges are curved from top to bottom and more highly polished. The edges of the bridges are a delight to behold and gleam with a bright polish. There are a couple of sharp exterior angles but no sharp inward angles.

I find it to be well finished although nowhere near as spectacular in overall terms as the Panograph (anglage notwithstanding, The Panograph has more flair and uses more techniques including extensive black polishing of steel parts and the elaborate swan neck etc). But it is an apples to oranges comparison. It would be interesting to compare with something like the AP caliber in the RO 15400.

I have not conducted substantial accuracy tests but average rate over the course of daily wear on the wrist has consistently been between 1.5 and 6 seconds per day which is pretty good.

The gold rotor is decorated with engine turned guilloche like the dial and is shaped like a nautilus shell in keeping with the marine theme (did Patek miss a trick here?)

The plates and bridges of the movement are decorated in geneva stripes while the regulator is brushed.

twin barrels look nice and have a radial brush pattern

In conclusion I can say I am very satisfied with the Marine. It looks great on the wrist and is a no fuss and supremely comfortable daily wear. It is both refined and rugged and it has that Breguet style to boot.

Thanks for reading and viewing!

Next to my father's 7337

More posts: 5817Marine Marine Automatic Big Datenautilus

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What a great review to read

 By: Mark in Paris : July 21st, 2015-02:05
You have a very nice watch, congratulations! It was very interesting to read your thoughts about a watch we don't talk that much about. Thanks a lot for sharing and I love your dad's watch too :) Cheers, Mark

Thanks a lot... and yes the 7337 is not a bad looking watch :)

 By: tempocalypse : July 21st, 2015-03:13
The dial is a real work of art! <a href="" target="_blank"><img src="" border="0" alt=" photo "/></a> ...  


 By: Keyz : July 21st, 2015-02:06
Congratz ! Love this watch and this brand. Looks really good for the summer

thank you very much! [nt]

 By: tempocalypse : July 21st, 2015-07:08

Very interesting article, Tempocalypse.

 By: amanico : July 21st, 2015-02:17
This watch is a bit under rated among Breguet watches, while it offers an interesting and pleasant sports / chic ratio. There are several members here who own one. And all of them seem to be very happy with it. Interesting background for those who are on ... 

Thanks! And yes I've read quite a few positive impressions here...

 By: tempocalypse : July 21st, 2015-07:10
... it is perhaps too idiosyncratic to have the same wide appeal as watches like the RO or Overseas but its in a particular sweet spot for my tastes.

i have mine with the bracelet and rubber strap

 By: Jane : July 21st, 2015-06:28
I prefer the bracelet personally.......excellent review and bang on

Thanks! By the way do you switch them often? ...

 By: tempocalypse : July 21st, 2015-07:11
I was wondering if the process is very troublesome.

Really enjoyed your review.

 By: pingtsai : July 21st, 2015-18:01
It's personal, first-hand accounts, opinions and observations that make each watch so interesting. Thank you for sharing your review of your new watch. Congrats! Also I love how y our pictures have a way of setting a mood. That takes real talent. Hope to ... 

Thank you, very kind of you to say that! ...

 By: tempocalypse : July 22nd, 2015-11:49
... I am quite liking the community here as a new member and hope to keep participating more in the future too.

Nice review on a nice watch. It's a pity that this model does not fit my wrist well.

 By: Luis6 : July 21st, 2015-19:29
I've tried both the bracelet and rubber strap, and it just did not feel comfortable to me. I love the look of it very much, so reading any posts of it still makes me smile.

Superb review and pics!

 By: jrwong23 (aka watchthebin) : July 22nd, 2015-03:36
thanks for sharing here with us. I always felt the Breguet Marine is under appreciated compared to the likes of the AP ROs, PP Nautilus and VC Overseas. The Marine is robust enough for swimming, elegant enough to dress up with and I feel it is a perfect b... 

Thanks Robin, yes I do love its versatility...

 By: tempocalypse : July 22nd, 2015-11:53
.... I would compare most with the Aquanaut personally as I find both watches most "Native" to the rubber strap... I would choose the Marine big date over the time only Aquanaut every time. Just a matter of personal taste I guess. ... I wouldn't mind havi... 

9 years on, I read your review

 By: chk : July 4th, 2024-02:54
With an aquanaut on! ...  

This is a great report.

 By: TheMadDruid : July 22nd, 2015-17:25
You really gave us all the details and the reasons for your decision to purchase. And phenomenal photographs as well.

Thanks a lot! :) [nt]

 By: tempocalypse : July 25th, 2015-06:02

I have been a big fan of the Breguet Marine 5817 for a long time.

 By: Bill : July 26th, 2015-11:29
It also gets some real ocean action and is happy in the water swimming. The rubber strap is great and as you noted it wears a lot bigger than 39mm Thanks for the great review. Bill ...  

5817 review

 By: ED209 : July 27th, 2015-07:33
Nice review and great pics, congrats on your 5817. Regards, ED-209

Great macros

 By: dsgalaxy1 : October 13th, 2015-11:31
For a great watch. Your photos show perfectly the good finishing level.