It was the year 1811, when Breguet created the first wristwatch for Caroline Murat, the then Queen of Naples (from where the collection gets its hallowed name), which was delivered the next year. The watch, Ref. 2839, was an oblong-shaped repeating watch that had a silver guilloché dial. The collection has seen multiple variations. Now, the L'Abbaye-based Swiss timepiece maker has unveiled two new versions of the famed collection — one with a blue mother-of-pearl dial (Ref. 9835BB/5Y/964 DD0D) and the other with a white lacquer (Ref. 9838BB/B8/364 S00S) dial. Each version is limited to 20 pieces.
All about Movement
So, how does the movement function? The variable-length minute hand is composed of two arms, connected at one end. Independent of each other, these arms change shape due to 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, facilitating this optical game, is an oval cam reminiscent of the Reine de Naples’ characteristic curves. As the minutes go by, each arm runs at a different speed.
The first watch is a 36.5 mm, 18 ct white gold cased watch with lugs set with 161 diamonds, a crown with a briolette-cut diamond at 5 o’clock. So, how does the wearer view the time on this timepiece? Well, on the mother-of-pearl dial, the time is indicated by an aperture at the dial centre and there are Arabic numerals. The powdered, silver-toned minutes numerals, featuring a font that reminds one of hand-drawn designs, are delicately offset. The model gets a briolette-cut diamond crown, while its folding clasp dazzles with 28 diamonds. This version sits on an alligator leather strap matching the dial colour.
The next watch in the collection has a white lacquer dial, an 18 ct white gold 36.5 mm case, the crown at 5 o’clock with blue sapphires, Arabic numerals and white lacquered hands. This model sits on a blue alligator strap along with a folding clasp with 28 blue sapphires.
Both models are powered by Breguet’s in-house self-winding Calibre 78A0 with a 40-hour power reserve. Also, both variants get the platinum oscillating weight on the caseback.
Reine de Naples has a water resistance of 30 metres.