Breguet unveils the Reine de Naples 8918 in Grand Feu Enamel
The new Reine de Naples 8918 features expertly applied grand feu enamel on its dial – a first for this collection. Against an immaculate background, the stylized Breguet Arabic numerals appear in blue enamel, as does the signature of the House and the words “émaillé Grand Feu” (grand feu enamel). The alligator leather strap, fitted with a folding buckle set with 28 diamonds, echoes these heavenly hues. Adorning the circumference of the bezel and the dial flange are 117 diamonds surrounding this composition in white gold. The Reine de Naples 8918 in grand feu enamel ticks to the rhythm of a self-winding manufacture caliber.
The demanding grand feu enamel technique creates dials with a unique grain and immutable colors. During the particularly delicate creation process, the dial is heated at a temperature above 800°C – hence the name of this traditional technique. It is placed in the kiln several times in order to create a natural sheen to the surface.
The time can be easily read thanks to the fine Breguet hands in blued steel. The off-center hours chapter features dots, diamond-shaped markers and fleurs-de-lis, punctuated by a pear-shaped diamond at 6 o’clock. If the light is just right, the reflections allow a glimpse of Breguet’s secret signature, which is placed at 3 o’clock.
A white-gold case with finely fluted sides houses the self-winding manufacture caliber 537/3, which has a power reserve of 45 hours. A briolette-cut diamond lends a touch of sparkle to the crown at 4 o’clock. The sapphire-crystal caseback reveals the movement of the watch. Each component is decorated by hand with great care. If the owner so wishes, the House of Breguet will record her name in its archives, kept since the late eighteenth century, next to the individual number, engraved on the back of the watch.
The soft light of dawn seems to break across the grand feu enamel dial of the Reine de Naples 8918.
The Watch of a Queen
During her reign over Naples, Caroline Murat, Napoléon Bonaparte’s younger sister, was a great supporter of the arts and would acquire over 30 Breguet watches and clocks. In 1810, the watchmaker established at Quai de l’Horloge in Paris began an unprecedented creation for the Queen of Naples: a watch designed to be worn on the wrist. It was the first wristwatch designed especially for this purpose. From its delivery in 1812 to repairs in 1849 and 1855, the Breguet archives have kept track of the history and characteristics of this watch, whose whereabouts today are unknown. The oblong-shaped creation with an engine-turned silver dial was very delicate and included several complications: a repeater, a moon-phase indicator, and also a thermometer. Finally, it had a wristlet of hair and gold thread that allowed it to be worn on the wrist.