Time for brand to celebrate
As one of the most prestigious names in Swiss watchmaking, Breguet has a rich history of haute horology and it has courted royalty, politicians and military leaders among its clientele.
This year is the 200th anniversary of the year that A. L. Breguet presented a watch to the Queen of Naples. To mark the occasion the watchmaker has added the first grand complication to the women's Reine de Naples collection. The Reine de Naples Automatic Strike is an elaborate timepiece which marks each hour with two strikes - and repeated three times thereafter. A push-piece button deactivates the function.
The automatic strike sits in a new egg-shaped movement developed in the Breguet workshops and designed specifically for its women's watches. The movement is engraved and decorated by hand.
In addition to technical considerations for the acoustics of the strike and repeater mechanisms, Breguet sought the best aesthetics for the watch. The movement's bridges and oscillating weight, and the decorative work, form the image of a dove in flight which is visible on the case back through a clear sapphire plate. The watch is set in a white gold case with a white mother-of-pearl dial and a diamond-set bezel. The striking mechanism has a diamond indication and the hammers are visible on the upper part of the dial.
But the Breguet Tradition 7047 Fusee Tourbillon is perhaps the watchmaker's most innovative novelty this year. The watch features an overcoil silicon balance spring. The balance spring is the heart of timekeeping precision and it is its oscillations that give the movement rhythm and regulates the time. Traditionally, the spring is made of metal, which makes it vulnerable to environmental elements such as shocks and magnetic fields that can affect its precision. Silicon, however, has numerous advantages over metal, as it is resistant to magnetic fields, to corrosion, friction and shocks.
Breguet began using silicon balance springs and escapements in selected watches four years ago. Now, happy that the material is far superior for its purposes, it has turned its attention to developing springs featuring Breguet's overcoil with curve. After much fine-tuning - unlike metal, silicon lacks malleability - the watchmaker developed an overcoil silicon balance spring with the Breguet terminal curve. It now features in the Tradition 7047 and will be added to future Breguet calibres.
The overcoil balance spring awaits patent approval.
The Tradition 7047 has a fusee-and-chain transmission connected to the barrel, which gives it a constant force as long as the watch is running.
Aesthetically, the watch is reminiscent of the first tourbillon pocket watch made by Breguet. It comes in platinum with a fluted case band. The silvered gold dial is engraved and individually numbered. The tourbillon sits at one o'clock.
Also new is the Breguet Tradition 7057 that now comes with a white gold case. The design shows the details of the hand-wound movement on either side of the main plate. An opening at 10 o'clock shows the bridge for the 50-hour power reserve.
A new addition to last year's Marine Royale design is the Marine Royale 5847, which now comes in white gold with an engine-turned silvered gold dial. The sports watch has an alarm that is operational 300 metres underwater.
Breguet also has a tradition of creating haute joaillerie and this year it unveiled a series of bold, contemporary designs under the Crazy Flower title. The collection includes a watch with a self-winding movement but it is the exterior that demands attention.
The case has asymmetrical rows of baguette-cut diamonds fixed with 'springy' settings so that each of the diamonds moves individually.
The dial is constructed from 206 brilliant-cut diamonds that are 'inverse-set' on a concave face and circled by 66 more diamonds. The hour circle at the bottom of the dial, meanwhile, is set with 20 diamonds.
The Crazy Flower collection also includes jewellery pieces such as rings and earrings.