The new Breguet Reine De Naples Princesse (Ref. 8968) automatic wristwatch delivers you a nice blend of a classic-looking ovoid body with all the usual stuff like a notched side strip and crown, which is quite ergonomically placed at 4 o’clock, and a decisively modern off-centered dial with stylized numerals and a very light variation of the traditional Breguet hands.
With its history spanning hundreds of years, the Swiss watchmaking house known a thing or two about designing timepieces that instantly become living classic and a source of, um, inspiration for dozens of second-tier brands that try to imitate their success, but rarely achieve the target. Their Reine de Naples series of watches, for example, is easily recognizable thanks to its egg-shaped body and the signature off-centered dial makes the piece quite entertaining to look at.
Having generations-worth of design experience, Breguet seems to easily switch from vintage to defiantly modern look without ruining the classic feel of the timekeeper. This new Breguet Reine De Naples Princesse (Ref. 8968) is a perfect example of their prowess when it comes to industrial design.
The usual “Breguet” hour and minute hands are still here, but the dial now features a very impressive combination of textures and the pair of oversized and stylized Roman numerals at 12 and 6 hours looks a lot more energetic. While the aforementioned pair of timekeepers would look great in classic Rolls-Royce or Bentley, this one needs something like current Bugatti Veyron or, at least, Audi R8 with its carbon-fiber and aluminum panels to truly shine.
The watch is said to be powered by their in-house Breguet caliber 591C self-winding mechanism. To my understanding, this is the same cal. 591 base movement that (with an extra moonphase and power reserve indicator module) powers their gorgeous Classique 7787 Moon Phases that was released in 2011.
Beating at standard 28,800 vibrations per hour, the engine delivers just over 38 hours of power reserve. For a casual watch the power rating would not be terribly impressive, but for such an exquisite timekeeper, which is supposed to be worn only on special occasion, this is really not a problem: even a double-mainspring barrel monster that works for weeks would need an automatic winding box if it was put on a wrist four, maybe five times per year.
By the way, the mechanism is thankfully perfectly visible through a circular cutout on the solid gold back of the device. Covered with a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, the viewport lets you see the guilloched rose gold oscillating weight, as well as the bridges and plates that are decorated with perfectly executed Geneva Stripes motif. I must admit that I am really impressed with this sort of visual bridge between the face and back of the timekeeper.
The only thing that I am not sure about is the size of this new timekeeper. While the aforementioned ref. 8918BR/58/864 D00D measured just 36.50 mm x 28.45 mm, this new member of the family is whole 43 millimeters long and almost 35 millimeters wide. While the watch looks truly magnificent, I’m afraid that its dimensions may scare away a great deal of customers used for a lot smaller dressy timepieces.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Breguet Reine De Naples Princesse (Ref. 8968) automatic watch specification
Price: $27,000 (MSRP)
Movement: Automatic, Breguet caliber 591C, silicone spring, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 38 hours
Movement decoration: Gold oscillating weight, Geneva Stripes
Functions: Hours, minutes
Case material: Rose gold
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Ovoid
Bezel shape: Ovoid
Case size: 43.00 mm x 34.95 mm
Case height: No data
Lug width: No data
Dial: Anthracite and silvered (8968BR/X1/986 0D0D), Silvered (8968BR/11/986 0D0D), 18-carat solid gold
Hour markers: None
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather strap
Case back: Sapphire