What’s Love Got To Do With It? Everything, Says Breguet With These 5 Stunning Watches
by Nancy Olson
Women have played a significant role in Breguet’s history, acting as inspiration or catalyst for some of the company’s most memorable timepieces – a phenomenon that continues today. So in 2018, when Breguet launched a timepiece in honor of St. Valentine’s Day, it was the start of an annual ode to love that has become as highly anticipated for watch lovers as the holiday itself.
A beautiful watch is often a symbol of passion or friendship. But perhaps more profoundly, a timepiece connects the past with the present in a fervent story still unfolding.
Women from the past inspiring Breguet
Marie Antoinette sated her desire for fine timepieces via Louis XVI’s largesse. And in 1783, Count Hans Axel von Ferson, friend and purported lover of the famed queen of France, augmented her cache when he commissioned a Breguet watch as a gift.
Von Ferson requested that the timepiece comprise every complication known at that time. The resulting masterpiece became known as the Breguet No. 160, or less formally the Marie Antoinette pocket watch. Sadly, it wasn’t completed until 1827, 34 years after her death.
Caroline Murat, queen of Naples (and sister of Napoleon Bonaparte) was another important influence on Breguet and these coveted timepieces. Company founder and master watchmaker Abraham-Louis Breguet created what may well be considered the first wristwatch (model no. 2639) for Murat in 1810 and presented it to her in 1812. She eventually acquired more than 30 Breguet watches and clocks over her lifetime – a feat that would make any modern-day watch collector proud.
In contemporary brand history, the Reine de Naples collection, named in Murat’s honor, was introduced in 2002, achieving pillar-of-the-brand status shortly thereafter thanks to its feminine style and serious watchmaking attributes. It is known today for its sleek and highly recognizable oval silhouette (the original was oblong), refined features, and plethora of interesting iterations, one more beautiful and functional than the next.
Breguet’s St. Valentine’s Day annual limited editions
Breguet has thus far introduced five limited edition timepieces in honor of St. Valentine’s Day: below I’m going to start with this year’s collection and work my way back in time.
Each example is part of a limited edition of just 28 numbered watches, with the exception of 2018’s Phase de Lune Dame, an edition numbered just 14 pieces. These annual debuts cross collections and styles, but they share a spirit and palette that is all about the “holiday” devoted to love.
Breguet Reine de Naples 8905: 2022
This year’s Reine de Naples 8905 has a natural white mother-of-pearl dial connoting puffy clouds soaring between the white gold moon phase display and the offset subdial for hours, minutes, and seconds.
The power reserve indicator impels a sweep of vivid red lacquered dots, while the subdial for seconds features a novel double heart indicator, also in red.
The automatic Caliber 537DRL20 movement animates the whimsical dial tableau. It features a power reserve of 45 hours, a platinum oscillating weight, and a frequency of 3.5 Hz.
The white gold case is set with 128 diamonds on the bezel and flange, while the crown is set with a ruby cabochon. The Reine de Naples 8905 is outfitted with a red leather strap with a white gold triple-blade folding clasp set with 28 diamonds.
Breguet Reine de Naples Coeur 9825: 2021
Innovation has always been Breguet’s middle name, and here it is demonstrated by a patent-protected mechanism creating the heart shape of the minute hand, dependent on its position on the dial.
In Quill and Pad editor-in-chief Elizabeth Doerr’s own words, “While not obvious, the heart forming the minute hand comprises two independent arms that twist. These arms, crafted in an innovative, light, and flexible pink-gold-plated nickel-phosphorus LIGA material, dance to the beat of a set of gears that instruct them to behave like an expanding and contracting heart – beating for all intents and purposes. The expansion ranges in length from 7.7 to 16.8 mm.”
See more details about this watch at Breguet Reine De Naples Coeur Reference 9825: Be Still My Shape-Shifting, Beating Heart.
Breguet Classique Dame 9065: 2020
This round Classique model is fitted with a Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial. The subtle garnet tones in the polished surface are amplified by the choice of a red backdrop on the date window and a red textile strap with a pink gold pin buckle. In an understated and elegant nod to Valentine’s Day, the pink gold second hand seemingly pierces a small open heart.
The pink gold case is alight with 88 diamonds, and the crown is set with a ruby cabochon. Inside, automatic Caliber 591A powers the central hours, minutes, seconds, and date at 3 o’clock.
For more on this beauty, please see Breguet Classique Dame Ref. 9065 Features Tahitian Mother-Of-Pearl Dial And More Than A Touch Of Romance.
Breguet Reine de Naples 8905 Valentine: 2019
This edition takes a lovely turn, offering a Valentine’s Day spin that tends to the pinks, mauves, and purples rather than more traditional red. From the mother-of-pearl dial to the moon phase indicator to the cabochon on the crown, each offers a complimentary tone that when pulled together displays bold design.
The white gold watch’s bezel is embellished with 128 diamonds, and the case back provides a clear view of automatic Caliber 537DRL2.
The mauve strap really sets the tone.
Breguet Classique Phase de Lune Dame 9085: 2018
The first of Breguet’s Valentine’s Day series, this Classique Phase de Lune Dame model joined the Breguet collection in 2016, just two years before this Valentine’s Day model was created.
The bezel and lugs of the 30 mm white gold timepiece are set with diamonds and pink sapphires, while the white natural pearl dial takes on whispers of the adjacent shades. The dial features a prominent moon phase indicator at 6 o’clock with concentric small seconds. These and the central hour and minute hands are driven by automatic Caliber 537L.
The satin-finished pink alligator leather strap is secured to the wrist by a white gold pin buckle decorated with sapphires and diamonds.
Quick Facts Breguet Reine de Naples 8905
Case: 36.5 x 28.45 x 10.96 mm, white gold, fluted case band, bezel and flange set with 128 diamonds (approx. 0.45 ct), crown set with ruby cabochon (approx. 0.32 ct)
Movement: automatic Caliber 537DRL2, 3.5 Hz frequency, silicon escape wheel and balance spring, 45-hour power reserve; platinum rotor
Functions: hours, minutes, small seconds with heart-shaped hand
Strap: red leather with white gold triple-blade folding clasp set with 28 diamonds
Limitation: 28 pieces
Quick Facts Breguet Reine de Naples Coeur Reference 8967
Case: 36.5 x 28.45 x 10.96 mm, pink gold set with 128 diamonds (approx. 0.77 ct), crown set with ruby cabochon (approx. 0.25 ct)
Movement: automatic Caliber 78A0, 3.5 Hz frequency, silicon escape wheel and balance spring, 40-hour power reserve; platinum rotor
Functions: hours (digital), minutes (heart-shaped hand of varying length)
Strap: red alligator skin, triple folding clasp set with 28 diamonds (approx. 0.17 ct)
Limitation: 28 pieces, only available in Breguet boutiques
Price: €44,500 / CHF 45,000
Remark: comes with a calfskin leather clutch bag that doubles as a case
Quick Facts Breguet Classique Dame Reference 9065
Case: 33.5 x 7.55 mm, pink gold, bezel and lugs set with 88 diamonds (0.606 ct) and one ruby on the crown
Dial: Tahitian mother-of-pearl
Movement: automatic Caliber 591A, power reserve 38 hours, 4 Hz/28,800 vph frequency
Functions: hours, minutes, seconds; date
Strap: iridescent red satin with pink gold pin buckle
Limitation: 28 pieces, Breguet boutiques only
Price: $28,600 / 27,900 Swiss francs