1808 - Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples

Caroline Murat, Queen of Naples

With the acquisition of thirty-four clocks and watches from 1808 up to 1814, the ambitious and very beautiful Queen of Naples easily took pride of place among Breguet's best clients.
The younger sister of Napoleon reigned with her husband the king, Joachim Murat, from 1808 to 1815, and the special relationship which she fostered with Breguet during this time was to give rise to the first watch specially designed to be worn on the wrist. Commissioned in 1810, paid for in 1811 and delivered in 1812, it was revolutionary in conception: an ultra-thin repeating watch, oblong in shape, equipped with a thermometer and mounted on a wristlet of hair entwined with gold thread. No difficulty was too great for Breguet to overcome in his determination to satisfy Queen Caroline, and he was to be duly rewarded.

During the summer of 1813, when the European crisis was at its most acute and the firm had lost its best clients, Queen Caroline bought a further twelve watches (eight repeating and four simple) from her favourite watchmaker, thus providing a much-needed boost to the firm's funds at a moment when it was the least expected.

Caroline Murat also completed her collection with a number of thermometers and barometers and several dozen commercial watches: modestly priced pieces intended as gifts.

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