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Breguet - A jewelry watch fit for a queen

Breguet A jewelry watch fit for a queen

The Reine de Naples watch owes its noble origins to a watch completed in 1812 by Abraham-Louis Breguet for Caroline Murat. A legendary timepiece regarded as the first-ever wristwatch.

It is like no other. Neither completely round nor completely oval, you can recognize it at first glance by the oval silhouette of its case. An original signature for this Reine of Naples that has been majestically reigning over Breguet’s feminine creations since 2002. Well before becoming an emblematic collection that delights feminine watchmaking enthusiasts with its elegance and technical sophistication, the Reine de Naples was a legendary watch, a jewel of a timepiece commissioned from Abraham-Louis Breguet in 1810 by the Queen of Naples, Caroline Murat, and now regarded as the first-ever wristwatch.

A jewelry watch fit for a queen

Reine de Naples © Breguet

A Wristlet Composed of Hair Entwined with Gold Threads

Since 1855, the watch has vanished into the depths of history. Nobody knows where it is. Not a single drawing or even a sketch of the original watch remains and perhaps there never were any such documents. So to bring the collection we now know to life, Breguet drew inspiration from the historical registers in which each creation was carefully recorded. The latter tell how the Queen of Naples ordered “a repeater watch to be fitted with a bracelet for the price of 5,000 francs”. Almost two and a half years later, on December 21st 1812, the model was finally completed. In addition to mentioning a movement with an lever escapement known as the “detached escapement”, the registers describe a “very thin repeater watch N° 2639, silver dial, Arabic numerals, thermometer and fast/slow indicator off the dial, the said watch is mounted on a wristlet of hair woven with gold thread, simple gold key, a second wristlet, also woven with gold, in a red leather case.”

A jewelry watch fit for a queen

Reine de Naples © Breguet

At a time when women’s watches were worn in a pocket, châtelaine style on a long necklace or as a brooch, tying a watch to the wrist was a form of avant-garde coquetry. An original touch that Abraham-Louis Breguet would naturally not have refused Caroline Murat who, with her 34 clocks and watches acquired between 1808 and 1814, was his biggest customer.

A jewelry watch fit for a queen

Reine de Naples © Breguet

A Legend Reborn

Since 2002, Breguet has been presenting the Reine de Naples collection in a wide range of variations, interpreting the countless faces of feminine watchmaking in all its elegance and technicality. From the simplest to the most complicated – day/night indication, moon-phase display or equipped with a striking mechanism –, each model combines mechanical precision with exquisite ornamentation. Precious gemsetting, dials sculpted from mother-of-pearl or adorned with natural seashell cameos, lacquer applied in soft volute… Whether in maxi or mini versions, the Reine de Naples boldly seizes every opportunity to highlight the softness of its curves, which this year are framing a “Grand Feu” enamel dial for the very first time.

A demanding timepiece intended for an equally demanding a woman who is just as exacting and whose name – if she so wishes – may be recorded in the archives kept by Breguet since the end of the 18th century.

 

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Breguet’s archives, kept in Switzerland and in Paris, record the developments that have sustained Breguet watchmaking for more than two centuries. The firm is committed to remaining ahead of its time with a flow of inventions and improvements.

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