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History inspires Breguet’s jewellery-making in great part much akin to its watchmaking
While the art of Breguet is first and foremost devoted to watchmaking, it also finds meaningful expression in the art of jewellery-making. Not only because the beauty of a watch stems notably from the beauty of its exterior – especially when gemset – but also because both arts draw on many of the same crafts: designers, goldsmiths, polishers, gemsetters, stone polishers… And not the least because the history of Breguet and its list of distinguished patrons features a number of illustrious women.
Marie-Antoinette, Queen of France, and the world she invented around herself at Versailles are also inexhaustible sources of inspiration for Breguet. Whether the Petit Trianon domain that was her intimate refuge from the splendours of the royal court, or the Hameau which now bears her name and where she used to revel in the simplicity of nature and gardens, each of these highly symbolic locations is synonymous with refinement, voluptuous pleasures and poetry. They have inspired a number of Breguet’s jewellery creations including the La Rose de la Reine jewellery set, which is enriched with fresh interpretations this year.
LA ROSE DE LA REINE
JEWELLERY SET IN YELLOW GOLD
In her famous portrait painted by Elisabeth-Louis Vigée-Lebrun and entitled ‘La Reine Marie-Antoinette à la rose’, the French sovereign, a client of Abraham- Louis Breguet, is portrayed composing a bouquet of roses, her favourite flower. The ‘La Rose de la Reine’ jewellery set, now presented in an 18-carat yellow gold version, is directly inspired by this painting. It is composed of a set of jewellery creations comprising a ring, a pendant, a bracelet, a pair of earrings anda spectacular two-metre long sautoir necklace composed of 330 Akoya pearls. The central motif of each of these pieces is a cameo depicting an ancient variety of rose, closely resembling the one held by the Queen of France in her portrait. Cameo engraving, a traditional art that originated in southern Italy, consists in hand-carving the surface of a shell in relief in order to create sculpted works of art featuring contrasting colours. Each cameo is thus totally unique. The difficulty in creating those appearing on the ‘La Rose de la Reine’ jewellery set consisted in achieving the velvety, sensual touch of flower petals from the initial shell texture. This feat has been spectacularly achieved by the Breguet artisans who have also engraved the secret House signature on one of these delicate petals. The choice of pearls was no coincidence: their extremely ‘carnal’ nature calls for regular contact with the skin in order to preserve their beauty and ensure they never ‘die’.
LA ROSE DE LA REINE FINE JEWELLERY RING
In its Fine Jewellery version, the ‘La Rose de la Reine’ ring enshrines all the elegance and poetry of the jewellery model bearing the same name. Like the latter, it has benefited from the expertise of the Breguet master-jewellers throughout the process of its creation, the choice of precious stones and gemsetting. This sensual and evocative ring has been created in tribute to the painting entitled ‘La Reine Marie-Antoinette à la rose’, a portrait signed by Elisabeth-Louise Vigée-Lebrun, in which the sovereign is seen holding a rose in order to compose a bouquet. The chaton of the ring features a cameo carving depicting a rose. It is made from a finely hand-chased shell, and the artisan has engraved the Breguet secret signature on one of its petals. Each cameo thus represents a unique work of art. In this version of the ring, available in 18-carat yellow, red or white gold, only the rim of the chaton, depicting a tied ribbon, is set with 33 fullcut diamonds totalling 0.15 carat. The body of the ring is in polished gold, giving it a more understated, restrained appearance that is equally elegant while perhaps more suited to daily wear.
The pendant represents a red gold moon with two faces. A ‘night’ side is paved with a snow setting, an original technique consisting of setting diamonds of different sizes so as to cover the maximum surface area. 93 full-cut diamonds are used in the snow setting, totalling 0.71 carat. The moon’s gentle curves are perfectly outlined by a border of 84 single-cut diamonds, i.e., cut with 17 facets. The ‘day’ side of the pendant is pierced by three stars and reveals a hand-engraved Breguet signature.
GRAND FEU ENAMELLED CUFFLINKS
18-carat red gold cufflinks featuring finely fluted sides, like the caseband of the Classique Moon Phases watch presented this year. Their decoration consists of a miniature dial 14 mm in diameter, entirely handmade, with grand feu enamelling. The dial echoes some of the details of the watch enamelling, such as a numeral, the moon phase, or Breguet’s secret signature. The moon phase and the star are painted in real gold on a succession of blue enamel layers.
MARINE HIGH JEWELLERY CUFFLINKS
Breguet has drawn inspiration from the High Jewellery interpretation of its Marine watch in creating this sparkling pair of cufflinks. Crafted in 18-carat white gold, their upper face is entirely set with baguette-cut stones – one-quarter of which are blue sapphires, while the rest are white diamonds chosen for the exceptional clarity. The baguettecut diamonds and sapphires, arranged around a brilliant-cut diamond in a sunburst motif reflecting that of the watch dial, have been fixed by the Breguet master-gemsetters by means of a sophisticated invisible setting technique revealing only the stones themselves and entirely concealing the gold beneath. The resulting pair of cufflinks is adorned with baguette-cut stones totalling 4.11 carats: 108 diamonds and 36 blue sapphires. The use of this exceptional gemsetting technique and of baguette-cut stones endows these jewellery creations with an intensely pure mineral radiance.