Some of Breguet’s most important clients have been women. In 1783, founder Abraham Breguet was commissioned to create his most complicated timepiece ever for Queen Marie Antoinette; in 1812, he presented the first wristwatch in history to Queen Caroline Murat. Both queens, as well as Empress Joséphine Bonaparte, count among the watchmaker’s most esteemed patrons and continue to be an inspiration for Breguet’s contemporary feminine creations — most notably, the iconic Reine de Naples collection and others such as the Secret de la Reine and Plume creations.
At Baselworld this year, Breguet introduced other new feminine watches that bore the same air of sophistication. Deserving every bit of the spotlight is the Tradition Dame 7038, the first Tradition watch created for ladies. Introduced in 2005, the inimitable line took its design codes from Breguet’s souscription watches of the past. Featuring a single hand and an enamel dial, these watches were equipped with a large central barrel and were sold on a subscription basis only, as its name suggested.
The new Tradition Dame 7038 is powered by the calibre 505SR, a self-winding movement featuring an inverted in-line lever escapement with silicon pallets and a Breguet balance spring in silicon. On the escapement’s bridge is a hand-chamfered pare-chute to protect the balance-staff from shocks. Breguet bestowed a decisively feminine aesthetic to this watch: It features a central barrel decorated with a floral design and has an engine-turned Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial, complemented by retrograde seconds engraved at 10 o’clock. The movement’s finishing is also very unusual, with the dark or rose gold NAC treatment — typical of the Tradition line — replaced with a frosted white movement. Further adding to its ladylike allure is a 37-mm diamond-set white gold case, synthetic ruby jewels on the movement and crown, as well as a deep red leather strap.
Offering a more classic take on time is the Classic Phase de Lune Dame, presented in a discretely sized 30-mm gold case with fluted sides. There are eight new references in this line that offer various degrees of opulence: From non-gem-set gold models with white grand feu enamel dials, to ones with gem-set bezels and natural, engine-turned mother-of-pearl dials. They are powered by the Breguet 537L calibre, a self-winding mechanical movement equipped with a silicon escapement and balance spring.
The beloved Reine de Naples collection expands on the Princesse Mini line that is available for the first time in white gold. The new Reine de Naples Princesse Mini 9818 has a diamond-set bezel and lug, as well as a beautiful lavender-coloured mother-of-pearl dial. Despite its delicate 32.7mm-by-27.3mm dimension, it is powered by the self-winding calibre 586/1 movement complete with a silicon balance-spring and an engine-turned platinum oscillating weight.
The grand finale is the Perles Impériales haute joaillerie watch, which elegantly combines Breguet’s jewellery expertise with its watchmaking know-how. Created with royalty in mind and directly inspired by Empress Joséphine, the watch is framed by a row of prong-set brilliant-cut diamonds. An additional row of chaton-set diamonds was added underneath these prongs to ensure a more mesmerising effect, while a large pearl takes the place of the ball-type lug at six o’clock. There are two variants to this model: One in a white gold case with an engine-turned white mother-of-pearl dial and an Akoya pearl; the other, offered in a rose gold case with an engine-turned Tahitian mother-of-pearl dial and Tahitian pearl. The watch is powered by a self-winding movement with a silicon balance-spring.