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Breguet - A Glittering Feat

Breguet A Glittering Feat

Two new models in the Breguet Queen of Naples collection offer undiluted technical performance, wrapped in a sparkling diamond skin

You think you know what to expect from a Breguet Queen of Naples timepiece. Ovoid case with one spherical lug at 6 o’clock. Asymmetric crown and off-centred chapter ring. These are quite specific attributes, and you’d be right. But that doesn’t mean the collection is at all repetitive or monotonous — in fact you’d be surprised at the amount of aesthetic variation that can be accommodated within the Queen of Naples design.

Over the years, the Queen of Naples — inspired by a historical wristwatch commissioned by Josephine Murat (née Bonaparte) — has taken on various forms, from everyday wear to special-occasion high jewellery, from simple time-only displays to prestigious complications such as sonneries. A wide range of métiers d’art has been showcased within the collection, including cameo engraving, mother-of-pearl marquetry, grand feu enamelling and hand-painted lacquer.

Breguet Reine de Naples ref. 8938

Queen of Naples ref. 8938 © Breguet

Of course, gem-setting remains a staple of the Queen of Naples, as befitting its royal descent. For the most part, the favoured form of gem setting in this collection is traditional, regular and classically symmetrical, with the more exuberant “snow setting” technique reserved for truly exceptional pieces such as the ref. 8998 Jour/Nuit or the anniversary commemorative model Grande Complication ref. 8973.

Snow setting makes use of gems of different sizes to completely cover a given surface in sparkle, in comparison with conventional techniques using stones of uniform size. It is more challenging, requiring more skill and creativity so that all the stones are perceived to give off the same level of sparkle despite the fact that they have different interactions with light depending on their size and specific cut.

Breguet Reine de Naples ref. 8938

Queen of Naples ref. 8938 © Breguet

Two new models in the Breguet Queen of Naples collection highlights the beauty of snow-set diamonds, with nothing more complicated on display than hours and minutes so as not to distract from the main event. The version in white gold is paired with a turquoise strap that recalls the pellucid waters of a sunlit lagoon, while the rose-gold model comes on a strap in a shade of earthy orange that just exudes summer vibes.

Breguet Reine de Naples ref. 8938

Queen of Naples ref. 8938 © Breguet

Inside the case beats a movement as refined and powerful as its exterior is beautiful. The cal. 537/3 drives the new ref. 8938, its high-inertia platinum rotor ensuring that the 45-hour power reserve is optimally maintained despite the compact dimensions of the movement. Although smaller movements are, as a rule, less robust than larger movements and may be considered more vulnerable to shocks, the cal. 537/3 beats at the unusual rate of 3.5Hz, which increases its shock resistance compared to the more familiar rate of 3Hz.

Breguet Reine de Naples ref. 8938

Queen of Naples ref. 8938 © Breguet

While the other commonly seen beat rate of 4Hz would offer even more shock resistance, this would by necessity decrease the 45-hour power reserve — and that kind of power reserve is already difficult to achieve in a movement this size, which requires a proportionately small barrel. As is standard in the Queen of Naples, the ref. 8938 is equipped with a silicon escapement and hairspring, eliminating the heightened risk of chronometric problems associated with smaller movements (due to things like lubrication and resistance to magnetism in a standard escapement and hairspring).

 

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