BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
Just in time for the Holiday shopping season, Breguet has introduced two new watches to its Reine de Naples collection, the reference 9835 and 9838. While we see a lot more men’s watches than women’s, it’s important to remember that nearly all watchmakers make both watches, but with the exception of names like Chopard and Van Cleef & Arpels, most watch brands focus more on men’s timepieces. I can only think the reason for this is there isn’t the same level of demand. Thankfully this has changed in the past few years as we see more and more complex ladies’ pieces. These two from Breguet only strengthen that argument.
Breguet, as I’m sure you’ll know, is an incredibly historic brand and is one of the most important and influential watchmakers ever. In the beginning, Abraham-Louis Breguet’s watches were innovative and highly sought after for their cutting-edge technology. Nowadays, Breguet’s watches are rare and renowned for their design which draws from the brand’s illustrious history. The Reine de Naples collection was inspired by the very first known wristwatch, presented to Caroline Murat, the Queen (Reine) of Naples, sometime in 1812.
For the Holiday season, Breguet’s two new watches use an inventive design to indicate the time. The minutes are indicated by a heart-shaped “hand” while hours are visible through a window at the middle of the dial. The cool thing about this watch’s minute “hand”, and the reason for the quotation marks, is the way it operates. The delicate egg-shaped oval case, measuring 36.5mm x 28.45mm, has a dial which follows its shape. This means normal hands which travel in a circle couldn’t cover the dial neatly. In some models of the Reine de Naples collection, such as the reference 8968, this is a part of the design and is good. For these two watches, though, a special mechanism behind the dial causes the two arms of the minutes “hand” to move as they approach the 12 O’clock position, an arrow where the two arms meet indicates the time in minutes. It’s poetic, in a way, as the arms create a heart shape when pointing towards the 6 O’clock position.
Reference 9835BB/5Y/964 DD0D has a midnight blue-coloured mother-of-pearl dial with a gentle gradient colouration. Its white gold bezel, lugs and flange are adorned with 161 diamonds, the crown features a briolette-cut diamond, and the clasp has diamonds on it too. Meanwhile, reference 9838BB/B8/364 S00S features a bezel, crown and clasp set with sapphires which contrast the white gold case and white dial beautifully, the lug at 6 O’clock is simply polished with this watch. This version also has more writing on the dial to give it character and another difference from the other version.
Both timepieces are powered by the self-winding calibre 78A0, which has a 3.5Hz beat rate and silicon balance spring and lever escapement, which aids with accuracy, shock resistance and magnetic resistance. There’s plenty of Côtes de Genève finishing, as you would expect from Breguet – a master of guilloché – and the movement is visible through the caseback. The power reserve is around 40 hours.
Reference 9835 is limited to 20 examples and costs £48,100.00, including VAT, thanks to the diamonds and mother-of-pearl dial. Reference 9839 is a part of the permanent collection and has a lower price of £43,500.00, also including VAT.
Visit Breguet here.