As the leading watchmaker of his day, Abraham-Louis Breguet hobnobbed with France’s royalty and aristocracy. Apart from his commissions for gentlemen, his celebrity client list also included Queen Marie-Antoinette, Empress Josephine, and Caroline Murat, Napoleon Bonaparte’s youngest sister, aka the Queen of Naples. A keen collector of Breguet’s revolutionary timekeepers, in 1810, Caroline Murat placed two orders: a grande complication carriage clock and an oblong-shaped minute repeater that could be attached to the wrist, considered one of the first purpose-built wristwatches. Although the original was lost, its oval shape was the muse for Breguet’s successful Reine de Naples collection, launched in 2002. With the year drawing to a close, Breguet gets a head start on Valentine’s Day 2024 with a dainty Breguet Reine de Naples model glowing with passionate red rubies and white diamonds.

The egg-shaped 18k white gold case has petite feminine dimensions with a diameter of 24.95mm, a length of 33mm and a slim height of 8.5mm. The fine fluting on the caseband is a distinctive feature of Breguet’s watches and follows the contours of the oval shape that is wider at the bottom and narrower at the top. The crown, placed at 4 o’clock – so as not to interfere with the oval case shape – is set with a bright red cabochon-cut ruby, while the distinctive round-shaped attachment covering the strap at 6 o’clock is set with diamonds. Underscoring the tapering egg-shaped case, the 45 hand-set diamonds in the bezel follow the contours beautifully.

Compared to the complex model created for the Queen of Naples with a minute repeater, a moon phase complication and a thermometer, the Reine de Naples 8925 is a lavishly decorated but straightforward time-only model.

Moving to the shimmering white mother-of-pearl dial, the highly stylized Breguet Reine de Naples numerals are graduated in size, with the Arabic numeral 12 commanding most of the upper half. The slanted Breguet numerals emphasize the egg-shaped case’s diminishing size as they reach the lower half of the dial. As a watch designed to celebrate the most romantic day of the year, the flange is set with 66 rubies, and there are twelve red heart-shaped hour markers on the off-centred sub-dial. Finally, the classic Breguet open-tipped hands are varnished red.

The Breguet Reine de Naples 8925 is equipped with the automatic in-house calibre 586/1 with a silicon balance spring, a 38-hour power reserve and a 3Hz frequency. As is Breguet’s tradition with the Reine de Naples series, each movement and each case is individually signed and numbered. A sapphire crystal window on the caseback reveals the platinum rotor with its guilloché decoration and the Côtes de Genève and bevelling on the mechanism. Unlike Caroline Murat’s wristwatch, attached by a bracelet made of hair and intertwined gold threads, women will be pleased to note that the Breguet Reine de Naples 8925 comes on a bright, glossy red alligator leather strap with a buckle set with 28 diamonds.