It’s been a big year for Breguet. Not only did the company kick off its sponsorship of Carnegie Hall with a brand-new tourbillon clock, it also celebrated, around the same time, the 200th anniversary of the wristwatch — an invention of brand namesake Abraham-Louis Breguet — with a preview of a complicated haute joallerie watch at an event on the Isle of Capri in the Gulf of Naples.
The cornerstone of the international event was the latest stop of Breguet’s traveling “Reine de Naples” exhibit, which began in January at Geneva’s Cité du Temps before traveling to New York City and other major cities in the United States, Europe and Asia. The exhibit commemorates the 200th anniversary of what many historians believe was the very first timepiece for the wrist, made by Breguet, the legendary watchmaker, for Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples.
Breguet the brand pays tribute to that historic watch with its modern Reine de Naples ladies’ collection, which also celebrates an anniversary this year, its tenth. The exhibit includes several standout pieces from the collection, along with historical memorabilia. At the VIP gala on Capri, Marc A. Hayek, President and CEO of Montres Breguet, presented a new addition to the collection, a special anniversary edition that combines high jewelry with high watchmaking.
The Reine de Naples anniversary piece is the latest in the line of Breguet’s Grandes Complications. It includes a striking mechanism that marks the top of each hour with two chimes repeated three times. Users can disable the function by means of a pushpiece at 2 o’clock. The watch contains an oval-shaped movement, designed to fit its distinctive case shape; the movement is visible through a sapphire caseback. The design and decorations of the bridges and rotor form the image of a garden pavilion in the Mediterranean style, evoking the historic Naples residence of Caroline Murat. The bezel and the snap of this special edition are set with 28 brilliant cut diamonds and 27 blue sapphires. The hammers that strike the chimes appear above the dial at 11 and 1 o’clock; between them the diamond heart of a rose, engraved in gold, indicates whether the hour striker is engaged. The silvered gold dial and its flange are paved with 233 brilliant-cut diamonds and 303 blue sapphires of various shades, offering a subtle color gradation. The crown, placed at 4 o’clock, is set with a briolette-cut diamond, and the alligator strap has a folding clasp set with 26 diamonds.
In addition to the watch, Breguet also presented its new Reine de Naples Jewellery Set, which includes a ring, a pair of earrings, a necklace and a tiara. Each is in 950 platinum, and has as its central motif an oval-cut blue sapphire, surrounded by two ovoid rings paved with baguette-cut diamonds. The jewelry, like the watch, takes its design cues from the historic wristwatch with the ovoid case, presented to Caroline Murat by Breguet two centuries ago.
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