The Reine de Naples (French for Queen of Naples) wristwatch was designed by A.L. Breguet for Napoleon Bonaparte’s younger sister Caroline Murat in 1810. Breguet asserts that this was the world’s first wristwatch the queen specifically asked for the timepiece to be designed to be worn on her wrist and if you want receipts, the company has all the paperwork in its archives to prove it. Caroline Murat took delivery of the wristwatch in 1812 and though the timepiece has vanished, there are two service records of it dated 1849 and 1855. Apparently, she was quite the watch collector, with over 30 Breguet timepieces in her collection. In 2002, Breguet unveiled the Reine de Naples collection, inspired by the Queen of Naples’s bespoke design. Fast-forward to 2024, and the Reine de Naples remains Breguet’s flagship women’s watch collection, characterized by egg-shaped cases (or as the brand more elegantly calls it, ovoid-shaped) and available in a wide range of styles from pared-down to over-the-top. The newest style to join the lineup is the Breguet Reine de Naples 8918 in mint green, aptly announced on International Women’s Day.

The ovoid-shaped case of the Reine de Naples 8918 measures 36.5 x 28.45mm (10.1 mm thick) and is crafted in 18k white gold. As is traditional for the vast majority of Reine de Naples watches, the bezel is set with diamonds. Look closer at the flange, and you’ll see a ring of diamonds there too. 117 brilliant-cut diamonds are spread across the bezel and flange; plus, the crown, which is positioned at 4 o’clock, is set with a briolette-cut diamond. Like all Breguet watches, the case sides are decorated with fine fluting. As expected, water resistance is not a priority here but if you’re curious, it is rated to 30 meters.

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To state the obvious, green is the watch color du jour. Breguet’s execution is fresh and minty, appearing on the stylized and exaggerated Breguet numerals on the dial and the pearly alligator leather strap. The strap is furnished with a triple-blade folding clasp, embellished with 28 brilliant-cut diamonds.

According to Breguet, two shades of green were layered to create the numerals, adding depth and richness. The only number missing is “6,” replaced by a pear-shaped diamond, positioned under the off-centered hour and minute subdial. The subdial sparkles with more diamonds, positioned using the increasingly popular snow-setting technique whereby various gem sizes are placed together to create an irregular yet cohesive pattern. Of course, indicating the time are the signature blue Breguet open-tipped hands, which point to a black minute track that includes symbols that the company says are inspired by pocket watches developed by the founder. Finally, under the Breguet logo wedged between 11 and 12 o’clock is the watch’s unique number a tradition that has remained since the earliest history of the watchmaker.

The back of the watch offers a view of the 537/3 self-winding 3.5 Hz movement that powers the Reine de Naples 8918. It has 191 components including a flat balance spring and an in-line Swiss lever escapement made of silicon for added magnetic resistance. There’s also a platinum rotor, spinning to supply the movement with 45 hours of power reserve. As expected, the Breguet movement is expertly decorated with traditional finishes such as the Côtes de Genève pattern, polished screws, and chamfering.

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I’ve tried several Reine de Naples watches previously; it’s one of those watch models that generally look much better on the wrist than in photos. Some iterations are even fun and whimsical — and all of them are distinct. Once you know what a Reine de Naples looks like, you can spot one from a mile away. Judging by these press images, this fresh mint green hue looks good on the watch; it adds a more casual vibe to an otherwise very dressy watch collection. On paper, white-mother-of-pearl, buckets of diamonds, and a somewhat petite precious metal case sound run-of-the-mill for what luxury brands rely on when designing women’s watches. Yet, this one isn’t run-of-the-mill; I think it’s a strong contender for an unconventional-shaped watch that isn’t from the other maison with French roots. The Breguet Reine de Naples watch (ref. 8918BB5D964D0) in mint green is priced at 49,700 USD and is available now at Breguet boutiques and authorized retailers. For more information, please visit the brand’s website.


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