Breguet Tradition, Classique, And Reine De Naples Writing Instruments: Inspired By Haute Horlogerie
by Nancy Olson
The name Breguet calls to mind thoughtfully crafted timepieces, a long and stellar history, and a founder – Abraham-Louis Breguet (1747–1823) – known worldwide for his notable contributions to watchmaking.
The Swiss brand’s jewelry and writing instruments round out its elegant offerings with a style and grace similar to its timepieces, and many of the pens unabashedly borrow stylistic attributes from the watch iconography.
Breguet writing instruments nestle into three collections: Tradition, Classique, and Reine de Naples, all in parallel with the watch collections of the same names.
Speaking of pens
It is not unusual for a company known for luxury timepieces to try its hand at luxury pens. Breguet’s Swatch Group sister brand Blancpain, for example, has introduced several series made by Canadian pen maker Grayson Tighe, whose reputation for meticulous craftsmanship is well known.
The watch brand and the pen maker joined forces in 2006, with the Series I pen collection making its debut in 2007. There have since been four additional series of Blancpain/Tighe writing instruments.
And while Cartier wasn’t founded on watchmaking (though its history includes some pretty incredible watches, as does the present-day collection), it has been proposing amazing jewelry-inspired writing instruments since 1924. I think its Exceptional Pen series comprises some of the most incredible pens-as-art pieces around.
Other watch companies have incorporated pens as promotional “add-ons” with less success – at least as far as the designs of the pens are concerned – making their role as standalone high-end accessories limited.
Pens to watches
On the flip side, some well-known pen companies have chosen to branch out into timepieces. Montblanc, for example, was founded as a pen maker in 1906 in Hamburg and in the late 1990s it introduced its first collection of timepieces.
The watch collections have grown over the years as has the company’s bold creativity, garnering Montblanc increasingly high marks for design and Swiss watchmaking expertise.
I think the pen-watch connection is a natural for many brands since luxury writing instruments and watches share several characteristics: they’re handcrafted, intrinsically valuable materials are used to create them, and they’re collectible.
In addition, they appeal to those of us who wouldn’t leave home without our smartphones yet are beguiled by the artisanal craftsmanship required to produce these small mechanical marvels.
Pens from Breguet
Breguet’s pens are top notch, using precious metals, fine detailing, and even gemstones to create writing instruments worthy of the time-honored Breguet name. And given that many great writers – including Honoré de Balzac, Stendhal, Alexander Pushkin, and Alexandre Dumas – mentioned Breguet in their works, writing instruments seem an obvious extension of the spirit of the brand.
Breguet Classique writing instruments
The Classique pen collection, Breguet’s first foray into pens, is inspired by the watch collection of the same name.
Available as a fountain pen, rollerball or ballpoint, these instruments are crafted in silver and feature a hand-rendered guilloche motif on the cap and barrel.
Coin-edge and resin rings in “Breguet blue” are the perfect counterpoints to the guilloche, as is the blue “jewel” at the top of the clip, which is reminiscent of a Breguet watch hand.
I think these pens are quite elegant with a classic shape and thoughtful details that acknowledge the Classique watch collection without being too heavy handed in their homage.
The 18-karat white gold nib on the fountain pen is a nice touch, too, adding an uninterrupted look to the silver body of the pen when open. I’m not a fan of two-tone nibs on silver pens, and none of the pens in the Breguet collection make this (admittedly personal) faux pas.
Breguet Tradition writing instruments
The Breguet Tradition collection of writing instruments uses titanium for the body of the fountain pen, convertible pen (ballpoint, rollerball or felt pen), and mechanical pencil in a nod to Breguet’s use of titanium for the bottom plate and bridges of its Tradition Répétition Minutes Tourbillon 7087 timepiece.
The matte finish on the cap and barrel recalls the surface treatment that gives the Tradition watch movements a sandblasted appearance. The unique detailing along the length of the pen, as well as its distinctive profile, lend it a contemporary look.
The guilloche rings and other decorative appointments on the body of the pen are white gold with a pink gold option. Here, too, the pen clip is a reminder of an open-tipped Breguet watch hand.
The nib of the fountain pen is 18-karat gold – hand engraved with a sun and the year 1775, acknowledging the founding year of the brand. I really like the juxtaposition of the matte titanium and polished gold, which, like the eponymous watch collection, suggests tradition with a twist.
Breguet Reine de Naples writing instruments
Finally, the silver Reine de Naples pen collection – fountain and rollerball – comes in two versions: a satin-brushed edition set with 14 diamonds or a polished edition devoid of any gemstones.
The cap crown is oval like the case of the Reine de Naples watches, here in mother-of-pearl engraved with a cursive “B.” The delicate pen clip extends from the bezel surrounding the crown, creating a flowing effect that is unique to this collection. A delicate fluted edge is evident on both the cap and barrel.
The cartridge-filled fountain pen is fitted with an 18-karat white gold nib, which is decoratively obscured by the gripping section. This is perhaps the most interesting of the three collections, in my opinion, since I find the proportion of the pen to cap to be quite interesting, as is the curvy design of the gripping section.
Each of the Breguet pen collections is distinctive in its own way, yet they share some luxe attributes that bear mentioning, some undisputed and some unique to my tastes.
Each fountain pen features an 18-karat gold nib that offers intrinsic value and, to some degree (and depending upon whom you ask), better writing quality. The references to watchmaking and specific watch collections – as in the fluted edges, Breguet hand-style clips, surface treatment, and more – add interest without kitsch.
Also, the collections are clearly Breguet, though the logos are tasteful and unobtrusive, which is another win in my book. But, really, when it comes down to it, if someone were to notice the pen I was using was a Breguet, I’d consider it a very good day.
For more information, please visit www.breguet.com/en/accessories/writing-instruments.
Quick Facts Breguet Writing Instruments Classique Collection
Editions: fountain pen, rollerball, or ballpoint
Cap and barrel: silver with guilloche décor and blue resin accents
Nib: 18-karat gold
Prices: fountain pen €2,000; rollerball €1,800; ballpoint €1,600
Quick Facts Breguet Writing Instruments Tradition Collection
Editions: fountain pen, convertible pen (ballpoint, rollerball or felt pen) and mechanical pencil
Cap and barrel: titanium with white or rose gold detail
Nib: 18-karat gold
Price: fountain pen with white or pink gold detail €4,200; convertible pen with white or pink gold detail €3,800; mechanical pencil with white or pink gold detail €3,800
Quick Facts Breguet Writing Instruments Reine de Naples Collection
Editions: fountain pen, rollerball
Cap and barrel: satin-brushed silver with diamonds or polished silver
Nib: 18-karat gold
Price: brushed silver fountain pen with diamonds €4,600; polished silver fountain pen €3,000; brushed silver rollerball with diamonds €4,400; polished silver rollerball €2,700