In 2012, Breguet celebrates the 200th anniversary of the delivery of the first wristwatch made by Abraham-Louis Breguet for Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples. Watch number 2639, ordered by Caroline Murat in 1810, took two years to be completed and delivered by the celebrated watchmaker. Unfortunately the watch disappeared in the course of and remains lost.
The company thus had to turn to the archives where Abraham-Louis Breguet recorded all his works when it decided to launch a new collection inspired by the original timepiece. Breguet’s watchmakers found the description of an oblong minute-repeating watch with a thermometer on a strap made of hair and gold thread that had to be knotted around the wrist. The manufacturer interpreted this information into the design of the new Reine de Naples collection that it launched in 2002. Designed for women alone, this collection’s gentle elegance is derived from the indulgent curves of its egg-shaped case and such mechanical complications as the phases of the moon.
Breguet celebrated this double anniversary by staging an exhibition timelining the amazing adventure of this prestigious timepiece, which was displayed at the Cité du Temps in Geneva from January 16 to February 12, 2012. In addition, the manufacturer produced a new model commemorating the event, the Reine de Naples reference 8908, which has a flexible and elegant bracelet made of gold threads. It is a delight to wear, hugging the wrist to become one with the owner.
For the first time in a Breguet watch, the dial is in black Tahiti mother of pearl with central hours and minutes and small seconds at 7 o’clock. The moon goes through its phases at 12 o’clock above the power-reserve indicator. Combining style and skill in the image of the watch ordered by Caroline Murat, its latest descendant is fitted with a calibre 537 DRL1 self-winding movement having an in-line Swiss lever escapement and a flat balance-spring. The balance frequency is 21,600v/h and the power reserve, 40 hours. The bezel is set with 117 brilliant-cut diamonds totalling 0.99 carats while the crown is topped by a cabochon.
REF. 8908BB/5T/J70 D0DD
Case: egg-shaped in 18-carat white gold with fine fluting on the caseband. Bezel set with 117 diamonds totalling approximately 0.99 carats. Sapphire crystal caseback. Dimensions: 28.45 x 36.50 mm. Water resistant to 3 bar (30 m).
Dial: in engine-turned 18-carat silvered gold and black Tahiti mother of pearl. Small seconds at 7 o’clock, moonphases at 12 o’clock with a rhodium moon and power-reserve indicator at 12 o’clock. Individually numbered and signed BREGUET. Hours chapter with Roman numerals. Open-tipped BREGUET hands in polished steel.
Movement: self-winding, numbered and signed BREGUET. Cal. 537 DRL1. 8 3/4 lignes. 22 jewels. 40 hours of power reserve. In-line Swiss lever escapement and flat balance-spring. 3 Hz balance frequency. Adjusted in 5 positions.
White-gold thread bracelet.