The Breguet watch manufactory has released the Perles Impériales Haute Joaillerie model - a kind of homage, a tribute to the courage and ingenuity of watchmakers who, in one piece, turned the usual perception of such a primordially masculine toy as a watch.
The global struggle for freedom of action and expression in fashion did not begin with getting rid of corsets, wearing trousers, tight "lame skirts" suitable for airplanes, or protesting against uncomfortable cuts. To find a starting point, just look at the Perles Impériales Haute Joaillerie, presented by Breguet at the BaselWorld 2016 watch and jewelery fair in Basel, Switzerland. This model was created based on a watch made by the manufacture especially for Napoleon's first wife Josephine Beauharnais. She, like many members of the imperial family, including Bonaparte, was a fan of Breguet. Alexander I also ordered watches from Breguet, and after him many Russian aristocrats began to turn to Swiss watchmakers.
But what was so surprising about the Empress Josephine's watch? Firstly, the very fact that women’s watches were created at that time is nonsense. Before the First World War, watches were considered a men's accessory, a prerogative, and they were worn on a chain. Women used them as jewelry and wore them in the form of a pendant. This little thing was so shocking that even to watch the time in public was considered a daring act. And, of course, in the 19th century, no one could have thought that women, even the most powerful and wealthy, could appear with this mechanism in the world. Secondly, in order to implement the idea of Josephine, who soon became the French empress, the watchmakers had to use a lot of imagination. The craftsmen of the manufacture found an elegant solution: they disguised the mechanism as a medallion decorated with blue enamel. Thirdly, the production of this model took many years. First, the mechanism itself was created. Then, in honor of the coronation of Napoleon in 1804, the case was framed with diamonds. And five years later, Josephine decided to give an unusual piece of jewelry to Princess Augusta Amelia of Luxembourg before the wedding of the latter with Napoleon's son Eugene. Then the empress came up with a simple and functional way to appear with a watch in society and not cause indignation at the same time. She "spied" it from her "colleague" - the predecessor of Elizabeth I and ordered jewelry bracelets to which the medallion was attached. This elegant way appealed to the ladies, who, although not immediately, but gradually began to wear watches on their wrist more and more often in society. So Josephine defended the right to the “man's” privilege to watch with her. By the way, the Empress paid £ 3000 for her watch, and in November 2007 they were auctioned off for $ 1.3 million at Christie’s auction.
The design of this antique watch forms the basis of the modern version. The Perles Impériales Haute Joaillerie model is decorated with diamonds set in a special chaton technique and a rare large akoya pearl brought from the island of Tahiti. Every detail of this watch is a memory of the Empire style. The mother-of-pearl dial looks like delicate embroidery or textured wallpaper of high-class salons.
Unlike men's models, in women's watches, the masters pay more attention to the appearance than to the mechanism. As for this model, it has a transparent sapphire caseback, through which you can see the guilloche rotor in 950 platinum, which drives the hands at the bottom of the dial. They show hours and minutes. This non-standard position is also a tribute to the original model. The watch is self-winding. The power reserve lasts for 38 hours.
In addition to the model in memory of the Empress, Breguet jewelers created a set of earrings and a ring. The decorations in this set are reminiscent of flowers.Their middle is made of pearls and edged with diamond petals. As conceived by the authors, the headsets are a collective image of jewelry of that era, created by the brand's masters.
The jewelry, created in honor of the great woman, became a reminder of the fight against convention and prejudice, albeit in detail. Everything is beautiful in them: both the form and the ideology, which is hidden behind the romantic halo of the history of creation. This watch on the wrist is not just another trinket, a pretty thing, but a talisman that makes you think that you need to always remain true to yourself and your nature.