Last month, the House of Breguet opened the doors of its new New York flagship store in the St. Regis Hotel on Fifth Avenue —one of the world’s toniest shopping addresses. A select group of 100 guests were invited to tour the space, which features elegant details such as frosted glass with guilloche ornamentation, a hallmark of the Breguet legacy of craftsmanship.
Guests also got to experience a watchmaker demonstrating the art of guilloche on watch dials as well as a chance to view two specialty timepieces: a replica of Winston Churchill’s "turnip," worn by Gary Oldman in the movie “Darkest Hour,” and one of the original 35 tourbillon pocket watches made by Abraham-Louis Breguet during his lifetime.
But among all these gorgeous things, one timepiece really stood out: The diamond-studded Reine de Naples Jour/Nuit 8999.
The watch is inspired by the piece created by A.-L. Breguet for Caroline Murat, the Queen of Naples and Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, who in 1810 commissioned Breguet to create a “wristlet watch” that became the first known wristwatch.
Since then, Breguet has reinterpreted the original, ovoid case many times, with each iteration still preserving a feminine spirit. This version, the Reine de Naples Jour/Nuit, keeps the egg shape, but curves the case so that it elegantly hugs the wrist.
This may seem like a subtle tweak, but a lot of technical advancements had to be made to house the movement. Breguet has consistently remained committed to high-end movements in its women’s watches, and the Jour/Nuit is no exception. Inside is a 25 jewel Cal. 591C self-winding movement with a power reserve of 38 hours. And although its lineage dates back two centuries, its silicon balance and in-line Swiss lever escapement are state-of-the-art.
The Reine also features a day/night complication with the sun represented by the Breguet balance-wheel and the moon hand-engraved in titanium. But the Jour/Nuit isn't only a wonder of mechanics; its design lines are also amazingly regal.
The watch is completely bedecked in diamonds, for starters. The bezel and case band are set with 131 baguettes (approximately 5.59 carats). The flange is embedded with 73 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately 0.332 carats). A briolette (approximately 0.26 carats) tops the crown. And the dial of this particular timepiece is paved with 35 brilliant-cut stones (approximately 0.464 carats).
But you will never mistake the Reine for a piece of jewelry. The 42.05 x 34 mm 18k white gold case has a bold wrist presence. The dial, while sparkly, is incredibly easy to read. And the sapphire case back allows you to marvel in the finely finished mechanism. It's a watch that is, indeed, fit for a queen.
Pricing is available on request; breguet.com.