Breguet Introduces the Reine de Naples 8918 ‘Grand Feu’ Enamel

White and blue enamel.

Breguet’s Reine de Naples has an unusual distinction in modern watchmaking, being an iconic ladies’ watch design of the 21st century. Characterised by an egg-shaped case, the Reine de Naples was inspired by a long-lost watch made for the Queen of Naples in 1810.

The watch has long been available with a variety of dials, from carved seashell cameo to guilloche gold, but not enamel – perhaps a surprise given the frequent use of enamel dials on Breguet’s watches for men. But now enamel is no longer the exception with the debut of the Reine de Naples 8918 with grand feu enamel dial.

Initial thoughts

The Reine de Naples – named after Napoleon’s sister Caroline Bonaparte, who ordered the long-lost watch while she was Queen of Naples – is available in a bewildering variety of guises covering the entire price spectrum. While the entry-level models tend to look, well, entry-level, the high-end models can be quite exquisite.

Going by photos, the new version with an enamel dial falls into the latter category. The enamel dial is simple but distinguished by elegant details like the graceful serifs on the numerals and the quirky minute track inspired by 19th century pocket watches.

And the quality promises to be excellent, from dial to movement, going by everything else that Breguet does. It costs a bit under US$40,000, which is mid-range for a Reine de Naples, but reasonable as far as diamond-set ladies’ watches go, especially with a grand feu enamel dial.

Diamonds and enamel

Done in bright white vitreous enamel, the dial also features markings in enamel, meaning that the numbers and minute track are executed in the same manner as the dial. Blue enamel powder is mixed with oil or water, painted on the white enamel base, and then fired in an oven to melt the enamel, resulting in markings that are richer in colour and fade-resistant.

The case is 18k white gold, and set with brilliant-cut diamonds along its bezel and dial flange. The slightly more substantial diamonds are found on the dial at six o’clock, which contains a pear-shaped stone, and in the form of a briolette-cut diamond in the crown.

Inside is the cal. 537/3, an in-house movement developed specifically for ladies’ watches. Like most other Breguet movements, it is traditional in style – the rotor engine-turned 18k gold – but equipped with a high-tech heart. The pallet lever, escape wheel, and balance spring are in silicon, a material that’s non-magnetic and resistant to fluctuations in temperature, resulting in more stable timekeeping.

Key facts and price

Breguet Reine de Naples 8918 in grand feu enamel
Ref. 8918BB/28/964 D00D

Diameter: 36.5 mm by 28.45 mm
Height: 10.05 mm
Material: 18k white gold set with diamonds
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 30 m

Movement: Cal. 537/3
Functions: Hours and minutes
Frequency: 25,200 beats per hour (3.5 Hz)
Winding: Automatic
Power reserve: 45 hours

Strap: Alligator leather with folding clasp set with diamonds

Availability: From July 2020
Price: US$37,400; 53,700 Singapore dollars

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