The Breguet Reine De Naples Princesse 8968 (Refs. 8968BR/11/986 0D0D & 8968BR/X1/986 0D0D) delivers a blend of a classic-looking ovoid body with all the usual stuff that we expect from the collection. The list includes a notched side strip and crown, a decisively modern off-centered dial with stylized numerals, and a slight variation of the traditional “Breguet” hands that so many -ahem- other watchmakers love so much.
With its history spanning hundreds of years, the Swiss watchmaking house knows a thing or two about designing timepieces that instantly become the 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 collection, for example, is easy to recognize thanks to its egg-shaped body and the crown ergonomically placed at 4 o’clock. The signature off-centered dial makes the piece quite entertaining to look at.
Having generations’ worth of design experience, Breguet easily switches from the vintage to a defiantly modern look without ruining the classic feel of the timekeeper. This new Reine De Naples Princesse (Ref. 8968) is a perfect example of their prowess when it comes to industrial design.
As you can see, the dial of the ref. 8968 looks different from those of their earlier 2011 MY Reine de Naples (ref. 8918) and the 2012 Reine de Naples Charleston (ref. 8928).
The usual “Breguet” hour and minute hands are still here, but the dial now features an impressive combination of textures, while the pair of oversized and stylized Roman numerals at 12 and 6 hours looks a lot more energetic. The aforementioned pair of timekeepers would look great in classic Rolls-Royce or Bentley, yet this one needs something like the current Bugatti Veyron or, at least, an Audi R8 with its carbon-fiber and aluminum panels to truly shine.
The watch sports the in-house Breguet caliber 591C self-winding mechanism. To my understanding, this is the same cal. 591 base movement that (with an extra moon phase and power reserve indicator module) powers their gorgeous 2011 Classique 7787 Moon Phases.
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 occasions, this is 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 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 lot of customers used for a lot smaller dressy timepieces.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Breguet Reine De Naples Princesse 8968 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: Rose gold
Dimensions: 43.00 mm x 34.95 mm
Dial: Anthracite and silvered (8968BR/X1/986 0D0D), Silvered (8968BR/11/986 0D0D), 18-carat solid gold
Hands: Rose gold
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Black leather strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective