The story of Napoleon’s sister, Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples, has been told, and so was the story of the Breguet Reine de Naples collection many times – said to be the first-ever purpose-built wristwatch. Yet, the brand continues to write the story of feminine-oriented watchmaking, with yet another fine line added today, with the new Breguet Reine de Naples References 9835 and 9838.
The Reine de Naples timepieces are the epitome of the ladies’ watches, as iconic as possible. Each model sings praise to femininity and no less to mechanical watchmaking. The Breguet Reine de Naples 9835 and 9838 are no different in their appearance from other contemporary models in the collection; they are oval-shaped, elegantly decorated and house a small mechanical wonder for the owner to enjoy. The 9835 and 9838 employ a tricky “flexible minutes hand”, not a premiere in the collection, but still a fun trick to watch. You read the time with hours displayed through a semicircular window in the centre of the dial, while minutes are marked by engineering magic. Two arms joined at the centre and the tip create a shape that changes as “the hand” moves around the dial: expanding as it moves towards noon and contracting on the way to six. The two arms are linked but operate independently. Each arm operates at its speed, adapting form to follow the shape of the watch, all thanks to a set of gears.
Mind you, pocket watches with “expanding hands” were known in the early 18th century. Parmigiani Fleurier was the first brand to return this complication to our time, miniaturizing it for the Ovale Pantographe. But Parmigiani was respectful of the original concept, which folded and unfolded hands thanks to springs in the hands themselves. Breguet has improved on the original idea and adapted it to the unique shape of the Reine de Naples. This small wonder is brought to life by the self-winding 78A0 movement, a proper Breguet calibre. It comprises 252 parts, equipped with an escape wheel, flat balance spring and an in-line Swiss lever escapement made of silicone. The rotor is platinum, and the movement decoration can be seen through the sapphire caseback.
The new Breguet Reine de Naples 9835 comes in a white gold case with a midnight-blue mother-of-pearl dial. The flange, bezel and lugs are set with 161 diamonds, the crown is crowned with a briolette-cut diamond, and the folding clasp is decorated with another 28 diamonds. This reference comes with an alligator leather strap matching the dial colour, and the production is limited to 20 pieces only.
The white-gold case 9838, in contrast, has a white lacquered dial with a bezel, flange and crown set with blue sapphires. The numerals around the dial stretch and shorten as if to support the flexible hand effect. The watch is offered on a blue alligator leather strap with a folding clasp set with 28 blue sapphires.
Price for Breguet Reine de Naples References 9835 and 9838 is “upon request”. More details at www.breguet.com.
This post first appeared on Monochrome Watches - An online magazine dedicated to fine watches.