n emblematic example of feminine-oriented watchmaking, Breguet’s Reine de Naples collection draws inspiration from the first-ever wristwatch, delivered in 1812 to Napoleon’s sister, the elegant Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples.
Originally oblong in shape, it has now become oval, featuring curves making it instantly recognisable. Each model in the contemporary collection – whether gem set, engraved or lacquered – is an ode to femininity. This new interpretation by Breguet is no exception to the rule, with these two new timepieces distinguished by their inherent originality.
The flexible minutes hand gracing the dial of these two new models is as admirable as it is intriguing. The magic of an ingenious mechanism enables it to change shape according to its position on the oblong dial.
This original mechanism protected by several patents was devised by Breguet. The variable-length minutes hand is composed of two arms linked at one end yet independent of each other. These arms change shape thanks to a clever set of gears. The hand thus plays with the dial by appearing in different guises when it is stretched at 12 o’clock and then more rounded at 6 o’clock.
Behind the device enabling this optical game is an oval cam reminiscent of the Reine de Naples’ characteristic curves. As the minutes go by, each arm operates at a different speed. The dimensions of the hand are constantly adapted in step with its path around the dial, thus perfectly following the shape of the watch.
On the new Reine de Naples 9835, the white gold case elegantly contrasts with its midnight blue mother-of-pearl dial, whose subtle hues vary as the light plays over it. Its flange, bezel and lugs are set with 161 diamonds. Its crown bears a briolette-cut diamond, while its folding clasp is adorned with 28 diamonds. Time is cleverly indicated by an aperture in the dial centre. The powdered silver-toned minutes numerals, featuring a font reminiscent of hand-drawn designs, are subtly offset. This version is available with an alligator leather strap matching the dial colour of this timepiece issued in a 20-piece limited edition.
As for the Reine de Naples 9838, the white lacquered dial makes a striking contrast with its midnight blue alligator strap. Its white gold case features a bezel, flange and crown set with blue sapphires. The various dial elements of this watch seem to be dancing, notably the offset Arabic numerals that appear to stretch and shorten alternately, as does the path of the minutes hand.
At the heart of its 36.5 x 28.45 mm oval case, 252 components drive the 78A0 self-winding movement with an oscillation frequency of 3.5 Hz. This movement is equipped with a balance spring as well as an in-line Swiss lever escapement that are both made of silicon, a material endowed with multiple properties. In addition to being resistant to corrosion and wear, it is insensitive to the influence of magnetic fields and enhances the precision of the timepiece.
The gear trains of this complication, like all components of the calibre whether visible or invisible, are carefully finished by hand in keeping with the Breguet tradition. The sapphire back of the white gold case reveals the movement’s platinum oscillating weight as well as the Côtes de Genève motif and bevelling. The gold rim is engraved with the individual watch number recorded in the Breguet archives that have been faithfully kept since the end of the 18th century.