The Breguet Ref. 8918 gets a new enamel execution
Breguet’s Reine de Naples collection has come of age with new enamel dials highlighting its artistic and royal heritage.
Named for the lady who commissioned one of the earliest multi-complication wristwatches from Breguet himself, the Reine de Naples collection truly celebrates feminine gentility. Consider its design – a rounded oval, slightly wider at the base than the top and curved along its profile. The teardrop form is trailed by a cabochon-style bottom lug and decorated crown at 4 o’clock.
The decorative details found on the Reine de Naples watches are often as fascinating as the technical creativity applied to the collection. Dials are often elaborate, ranging from mixing lacquers to mother-of-pearl engraving, cameo, and gold engraving or unique gem-setting.
The Reine de Naples Ref. 8918 explores the simplicity of a time-only model with the inclusion of classic crafts used in watchmaking. From the braided gold thread bracelets that are inspired by the brand’s notes from Caroline Murat’s commission to guilloché à main and mother-of-pearl engraving, the style of the Ref. 8918 has become unmistakable. Now, the brand has introduced a new variation that celebrates the craft of enamel.
The Ref. 8918BR2C/364/D00D
The Ref. 8918 is a two-hand watch that is incredibly recognisable thanks to a time display that occupies the lower half of the dial, along with a large teardrop gemstone that sits at its base. On the dial, oversized hour markers in a calligraphic style font occupy the majority of the display, surrounded by a ring of diamonds set on the flange of the case, as well as on the bezel. The latest model of the watch features a grand feu enamel dial with a hand-painted minute track with diamond and arrow shapes for the quarters and hours. On the crown sits a large diamond to match the teardrop on the dial.
Enamelling is an art that’s challenging for many different reasons. In grand feu enamelling, an artist first mixes the metal oxides with the substrate to create the right colour when heated. For special colours, this requires expert knowledge to create the desired hue. This is then fired in a kiln at high temperatures of around 800-1,200°C to melt the enamel powder and harden it. Multiple coats and firings are done to achieve the depth of colour. For the Ref. 8918BR2C/364/D00D, the dial is in pink enamel, a beautiful coral hue that is brand new to the model. Simple and elegant, they combine Breguet’s mastery of gem-setting with the traditional craft of enamelling in one stunning watch.
The movement that powers the Ref. 8918 is the in-house Calibre 537/3, a compact, self-winding movement with 45 hours of power reserve. It has a silicon balance spring and escapement and a platinum rotor to drive the watch. The rotor is also decorated with a spiralling guilloché pattern that’s mesmerising to watch as it spins.
The Ref. 8918BR2C/364/D00D is a watch that works with every occasion, styled either with a satin or alligator leather strap, or in more sophisticated options, gold bracelets in different styles. It’s both jewellery and timekeeper, which recalls the style of Caroline Murat, the Queen of Naples, who commissioned its predecessor over 210 years ago. And within the world of fine watchmaking, it’s a unique design that stands out.
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