Breguet reinvents its classics for 2021

Luxury & Brands

Text by Shraddha Jahagirdar-Saxena

More than two centuries after Abraham-Louis Breguet opened his workshop on Quai de l’Horloge, Ile de la Cité in Paris in 1775, the horological house that bears his name continues to be powered by his far-sighted vision for turning timekeeping into a polished art. The legendary watchmaker, who was born in Neuchâtel, Switzerland, spent most of his working life in Paris, the French capital that saw the quiet genesis of the brand that soon came to be known as “the watchmakers of the kings; the king of the watchmakers”.

The Swiss watchmaking giant continues its journey on the pioneering path drawn by its founder – each of its timepieces is marked by outstanding craftsmanship, intricate designs and trendsetting innovations like the tourbillon that the house invented 220 years ago. The brand has always been known for its commitment to horological excellence and establishing benchmarks in the domain of haute timepieces, and Breguet remains the world’s most recognised address for fine watches today.

Earlier this year, Breguet unveiled a new member of its Reine de Naples family that woos the modern, refined customer – the Reine de Naples 8938. Boasting a gentle snow-setting technique for the stones, one that adds charm to its dial and infuses it with a delicate luminosity, the Reine de Naples 8938 has been created in two variants: white gold with a blue bracelet and rose gold with an orange bracelet.

On browsing through the pages of Breguet’s history, you realise that royalty – including Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI – have always been its devoted patrons. But it was Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples, Napoleon Bonaparte’s sister, who had a particular passion for the house and its creations. And it was for her that A.-L. Breguet created the first wristwatch – a very thin oval repeater with complications, mounted on a wristlet of hair and gold thread, which could be worn like a bracelet. This delicate adornment transformed watches from bulky objects that were hidden in pockets into jewellery splendours that could be proudly shown off.

Over the years, Breguet’s Reine de Naples range has captured the essence of femininity in its exquisite designs, and these elegant pieces are a paean to inner strength, poise and grace.

Reine De Naples 8938

The latest in this illustrious line, the Reine de Naples 8938, is a fine example of how pleasing aesthetics and new technology merge seamlessly in Breguet’s Manufacture. This offering also incorporates the snow-setting technique that has, for centuries, decorated timepieces with glittering precious stones. Distinct from the traditional concentric setting, the snow-setting technique involves the use of different-sized stones to cover the dial. It lends the watch face a charming radiance as the visibility of the material on which the stones are set is optimally minimised.

Like its predecessors, the Reine de Naples 8938 comes in an oval shape, with distinctly feminine embellishments. Its dial is attractively enhanced with an off-centred natural-white mother-of-pearl hours chapter at 6 o’clock. Breguet’s famed numerals and the timeless moon-tipped hands are instantly recognisable. The bezel, dial flange and lug are set with 161 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately 1.82 carat) while the crown is set with a briolette diamond (approximately 0.26 carat). The watch boasts a sapphire crystal caseback, and more than three carats of diamonds add to the precious shine of it.

The watch is also an expression of the cutting-edge mechanics and technological advancements seen by the house. It is equipped with a self-winding mechanical movement that has an escapement and silicon balance spring, and a finely engine-turned platinum rotor brings the latter to life.

Watch aficionados can make a statement by taking their pick from the two variations of this scintillating timepiece. The Reine de Naples 8938 is available in white gold with a blue bracelet, held together by a gold triple blade folding clasp set with 28 brilliant-cut diamonds, and also in rose gold with an orange bracelet.


In the past, timepieces were used as scientific instruments for maritime navigation. They were an integral part of the exploration and conquest of waters, both known and uncharted, and hence called for unquestionable accuracy.

A.-L. Breguet’s deep interest in marine chronometry found expression in his accurate timepieces that were held in great value by the French fleet. Hence, Louis XVIII, the King of France, named him “Chronometer-Maker to the French Royal Navy” in 1815. The house’s association with the navy continued beyond his lifetime and into the leadership of the house by his son, Louis-Antoine.

Each addition to this line is endowed with all the high-quality craftsmanship details that marine watchmaking demands – including unmatched precision and the latest technological advancements – which combine to make for a visually distinctive and avant-garde adornment.

This year, the Marine collection welcomes new entrants, which are variations of the earlier Marine 5517, 5527 and 5547 watches. These, unveiled in rose gold with a slate-grey dial and in titanium with a blue dial, are available with a variety of straps including leather, rubber and metal, giving the watch cognoscenti ample choice.

The new generation of the Marine line, characterised by sporty elegance and nautical overtones, was launched by Breguet in 2017. When the 5517, 5527 and 5547 models were unveiled in 2018, the house brought in a new element – titanium – for the range. This material was considered to be perfect for the contemporary maritime watches because apart from being impervious to corrosion and salty air, it is also intrinsically lightweight. And since 2019, a titanium bracelet has also made an appearance. The house has given the titanium Marine watches a sunburst finish that is hand-perfected, and, as an ode to the oceans and seas, they gleam with hues of blue.

Interestingly, the variations in rose gold of the Marine models have a type of guillochage – a technique that is not new to the house. The gold dial, mirroring a ship’s porthole that gives glimpses of the ocean, integrates a wave-like guillochage pattern.

Marine 5517

The extremely compact 5517 version has a thickness of 11.5 mm and is home to a three-hand display with a date function. It is water-resistant up to 100 metres. Engine-turned, it has a slate-grey dial in gold, hours chapter with Roman numerals and luminescent dots, faceted Breguet moon-tipped hands in gold with luminescent material, a date window at 3 o’clock and a central second hand that draws inspiration from maritime codes. It also comes with a fluted caseband with a protected crown and is completed by a sapphire caseback.

Marine Chronographe 5527

This Marine variant has a diameter of 42.3 mm and a thickness of 13.85 mm. It is water resistant up to 100 metres. It flaunts a sunburst blue dial in gold and an individually numbered and signed Breguet hours chapter with Roman numerals and luminescent dots. Its minute counter is placed at 3 o’clock, the hours at 6 o’clock, and the small seconds at 9 o’clock, and its date window sits between 4 and 5 o’clock. And maritime codes are the inspiration for its central chronograph hand. Available in 18-carat rose gold with a slate-grey dial in gold, its bracelet options are titanium, leather or rubber.

Marine Alarme Musicale 5547

As its name suggests, this Breguet timepiece has a fascinating mechanical alarm that can be set up to 12 hours in advance. At the pre-fixed time, the alarm will dutifully sound as the striking mechanism gets activated and the hammer strikes the gong in repeated succession. With a diameter of 40 mm and thickness of 13.05 mm, the mechanism comes enclosed in a titanium case with a fluted caseband and is water resistant up to 50 metres. On the sunburst blue dial in gold, the alarm subdial stands out at 3 o’clock while the time-zone display is seen at 9 o’ clock. In the Breguet Marine Alarme Musicale 5547, the central second hand has been inspired by the maritime codes. To be strapped on the wrist by a leather, rubber or titanium bracelet, this timepiece is also equipped to display a second time zone.

The timepieces in this collection spearheaded the trend of offering a peek into the workings of the entire movement within the dial. While this collection is an ode to horological advancements, it stays true to the spirit and history of the house of Breguet, as each watch is a contemporary interpretation of the subscription watches designed by the luxury brand. These had become known for the architecture of their fully symmetrical calibre. This year, a limited edition of 88 timepieces that celebrate the art of gem-setting rounds off the iconic line.

Tradition 7035

This sparkling creation carries all the distinctive features of the Tradition line, like the offset dial that can be seen at 12 o’clock. The natural-white mother-of-pearl hours chapter gives an uninterrupted view of the movement that is set around the central barrel, which is indicated by its rosette motif, with aesthetically positioned traditional bridges, wheels, pare-chute, and balance wheel.

This new timepiece that is embellished by the snow-setting technique has all the delicacy and artistry of fine jewellery. Diamonds of differing sizes adorn the dial, plate and bridges. The dial in gold is paved with 74 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately 0.192 carat). The gold plate and bridge are encrusted by 190 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately 0.456 carat), endowing the Tradition 7035 with an unparalleled lustre. While brilliant-cut diamonds illuminate the bezel, the seconds indicator has a gradient of rubies and pink sapphires, which are in tune both with the rubies on the movement and the one seen upon the crown.

The timepiece is completed by a leather strap with an 18-carat rose-gold pin buckle that is set with 25 brilliant-cut diamonds (approximately 0.124 carat).

Breguet’s dedication to horological perfection continues thanks to the skilled craftsmen who fashion timepieces with meticulous attention in production workspaces in the Vallée de Joux. They script the future of time through designs that are steeped heavily in the house’s history and heritage while allowing for seamless reinvention.

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