Heart To Heart: Breguet’s Reine De Naples Cœur
Breguet marks the passing of time with a moving heart.
One of the most important figures in watchmaking history, Abraham-Louis Breguet, is responsible for some of the greatest inventions to have impacted the world of horology. The tourbillon? Breguet’s brainchild. Pare-chute shock protection system? His idea, too. In fact, archival evidence also adds another feather to the cap of Breguet’s long line of achievements—that of the first wristwatch ever made.
Caroline Murat (below), Napoléon Bonaparte’s sister and the Queen of Naples, had commissioned Breguet to create a wristwatch for her in 1810. Two years later, the Reference 2639 was delivered but, although the watch came back to Breguet for repairs in 1849 and 1855, the whereabouts of this precious timepiece is unknown today. However, the collection inspired by the Queen of Naples continues and, this year, the series sees a stunning new model with a sublime invention Breguet himself would have been pleased with.
Christened the Reine de Naples Cœur (French for ‘heart’), this limited-edition timepiece with just 28 numbered pieces, is clothed in a romantic colour palette of vermillion red and white, evocative of the traditional colours for love.
Throughout the timepiece, various accents come together to paint a Cupid-approved picture. The minutes chapter is marked with a tiny heart at every five-minute interval, while quarter numerals are larger and enhanced with a vermillion outline.
The hours are presented as red numerals, displayed in a window at the centre of the dial, and the crown is set with a ruby cabochon. Taking the sparkle up a notch, the rose gold flange and bezel are set with 128 scintillating diamonds, complemented by 28 more on the folding buckle of the red alligator strap.
Flip the watch around and you’ll see the Calibre 78A0 through the sapphire caseback, as well as the individual number of the watch, engraved on the gold rim. In line with Breguet tradition, each numbered timepiece is recorded in the archives of the House, which have been kept since the end of the 18th Century—a romantic notion, no doubt.
But perhaps the most fascinating feature of the watch is its unique heart-shaped minute hand. Comprising two arms travelling at different speeds, the minute hand travels across the oval-shaped dial in a subtle dance as it evolves in shape over the course of an hour.
Using an oval-shaped cam, one of the arms is attached to the inner pinion while the other is on the outer pinion. As the arms move around the dial, elongating towards the 12 o’clock position, they almost double in dimension, making for a truly captivating show as they recover their rounded shape at the bottom half of the dial.
Of course, that begs the question—why not use this technology (protected by four patents) for the seconds function instead, since that would show the movement of the ever-changing heart more clearly? Well, the simple answer, as Claudio Cavaliere, head of Breguet’s product management team, reveals, is that the system consumes a lot of energy so using it for the seconds hand is just not feasible.
It’s heartening to see Breguet continue its founder’s penchant for innovation and making remarkable timepieces. And that it is doing it not just for men’s watches but for the ladies as well.
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