The distinctive oval-shaped Reine de Naples watch is one of the best-selling ladies’ watches at Breguet. Now presented with a white Grand Feu enamel dial with sky-blue enamel numerals, this delightful white gold model combines yesteryear artistic techniques with a sprinkling of diamonds and an automatic movement for carefree everyday wear.
As the leading watchmaker of his day, Abraham-Louis Breguet enjoyed the custom of France’s royalty and aristocracy. Far from being limited to creating timepieces for men, his celebrity client list included Queen Marie-Antoinette, Empress Josephine and Caroline Murat, Napoleon Bonaparte’s youngest sister and Queen of Naples.
In 1810, Caroline Murat placed two orders to the master watchmaker based in Paris. Along with a grande complication carriage clock for the palace, the Queen of Naples also commissioned a repeater watch for herself with a curious petition: it had to be attached to the wrist. Delivered on a wristlet made from intertwined hair and gold, Breguet’s slim, oval repeater (number 2639) has gone down in history as one of the first purpose-built examples of a wristwatch. Relying on historical descriptions of the original stored in the Breguet Museum on Place Vendôme, Breguet launched the highly successful Reine de Naples collection back in 2002.
A royal egg
The elegant 18k white gold ovoid case measures 36.50 x 28.54mm with a height of 10.05mm. The delicately fluted caseband is a hallmark of all Breguet watches and the bezel and dial flange are set with 117 brilliant-cut diamonds for a touch of elegant sparkle. The off-centred crown at 4 o’clock is set with a briolette-cut diamond and the lower part of the case features the distinctive round-shaped attachment that embraces the strap at 6 o’clock.
The dial is made of glossy, highly resilient Grand Feu enamel. Fired at extremely high temperatures repeatedly in a kiln, Grand Feu enamel produces a unique grain and ensures that the colour of the dial will never lose its sheen over time. The slanted Breguet Arabic numerals underscore the egg-shaped case diminishing in size as they reach the lower half of the dial. Picked out in an attractive shade of sky-blue, the central chapter ring is decorated with dots, diamond-shaped markers and fleurs-de-lis motifs. The hours and minutes are read with open-tipped Breguet hands (blued steel) and depending on the light, the secret signature can be seen at 3 o’clock. Replacing the 6 o’clock hour numerals is a stunning pear-cut diamond with the words Swiss Émaillé Grand Feu (Grand Feu enamel) below.
Equipped with the self-winding in-house calibre 537, the movement has a power reserve of 45 hours and oscillates at 3.5Hz. A sapphire crystal on the caseback reveals the round movement complete with a Breguet balance wheel and a contemporary balance spring in silicon. And, as is the case with all Reine de Naples watches, the movement is also individually signed and numbered.
The Reine de Naples 8918 is presented on a matching powder-blue alligator strap with a triple-folding buckle set with 28 diamonds. If the owner so wishes, the House of Breguet will also record his/her name and the individual number of the watch in its archives, just like Caroline Murat.
The Breguet Reine de Naples 8918 Grand Feu Enamel will retail for CHF 36,500 (incl. taxes). For more information, please visit breguet.com.