Are Straps The Ultimate Watch Accessory? Breguet, Hublot, And Bulgari Seem To Think So

Quill & Pad
Mar 7, 2018 · 6 min read

by Lena Michaels

Watch straps have come a long way since the era of Caroline Murat (née Bonaparte), who is said to have commissioned the world’s first wristwatch from the talented and accomplished Abraham-Louis Breguet (see The First Wristwatches From Breguet, Hermès And Patek Philippe Were Made . . . For Women).

Uniting a bracelet with a timepiece was an unprecedented pairing in 1812 when the Queen of Naples ordered her oblong-shaped repeater from Breguet, but it became one that has surpassed the test of time. And since then, interesting straps and bracelets have developed into a big business of their own, currently furthered by the desire for bespoke luxury and customizations.

In some instances, one could argue the strap is just as recognizable as the watch itself. Just look at the famous Double Wrap Hermès strap — like the one on the Apple Watch, for example.

An impressive strap can be just as influential as the watch itself when it comes to convincing the consumer. The two must coexist in perfect harmony, ensuring aesthetic consistency while staying true to the brand’s “DNA.” Whether one is looking for comfort, style, or subtlety, there is an option to suit every personality and occasion.

Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965

The Reine de Naples line by Breguet is famously known for its royal heritage. The Queen of Naples’s adoration of fine watchmaking inspired an entire collection almost two centuries after the first bracelet watch appeared in 1812.

Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965
Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965

Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965

Like the original, the modern Queen of Naples collection is determined by a unique oval case, which is often combined with unusual bracelets or straps. With its unique jewelry-like bracelet, Reference 8965 is one of many from this line epitomizing its refined elegance.

Its pink gold bracelet is formed using three individual chains. The two outer chains are woven with 104 brilliant-cut diamonds adorning the links.

Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965
Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965

Back of the Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965

Despite this, the bracelet does not overwhelm, instead working to complement the pink gold case, bezel, and lugs decorated with an additional 83 brilliant-cut diamonds.

In true understated fashion, the more neutral dial featuring mother-of-pearl and only two curved, applied pink gold Roman numerals at 6 and 12 o’clock allows the bezel and strap to take visual precedence.

Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965
Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965

Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965

Perfectly topped by a crown set with an inverted diamond, the Queen of Naples Reference 8965 is powered by an automatic movement containing high-tech silicon in the oscillator.

For more information, please visit www.breguet.com/en/timepieces/new-models-reine-de-naples.

Quick Facts Breguet Reine de Naples Reference 8965
Case: 33 x 34.95 mm, pink gold, bezel and lug set with 83 brilliant-cut diamonds (approx. 1.53 ct), crown set with inverted diamond, sapphire crystal case back
Movement: automatic Caliber 591C with silicon escapement and balance spring; 38-hour power reserve
Dial: white mother-of-pearl, applied curved pink gold Roman numerals, pink gold hands
Functions: hours, minutes
Price: $52,300

Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull

Hublot is never one to shy away from coloring outside the lines to create an artful timepiece that may otherwise not fit a norm in the world of watchmaking.

Its rebellious attitude is evident throughout the Big Bang range, which to date has featured elements such as composite resin, carbon fiber, scratchproof Magic Gold (a ceramic-and-gold alloy), and even denim.

Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull
Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull

Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull

In a colorful series dubbed Broderie Sugar Skull, Hublot cleverly alludes to ancestral Mexican sugar skulls within the confines of Swiss watchmaking: the entire timepiece is embellished with multicolored embroidery, from the carbon fiber dial through to both rubber-and-silk strap ends.

Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull
Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull

Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull (step back to see the skull)

Informed by high fashion as well as popular culture, the playful design showcases floral motifs, subtly culminating in a skull adorning the dial. Marrying the old and the new, Hublot has revisited traditional materials in a modern way via the exceptional work of Swiss embroiderer Bischoff of St. Gallen.

For more information, please visit www.hublot.com/en/news/big-bang-broderie-sugar-skull.

Quick Facts Hublot Big Bang Broderie Sugar Skull
Case: 41 mm, 18k stainless steel set with 36 red spinels
Movement: automatic Caliber HUB1110; approx. 42-hour power reserve; water-resistant to 100 meters
Dial: carbon fiber and organza silk with embroidered Lurex thread; 12 red spinels as hour markers
Functions: hours, minutes
Limitation: 200 pieces
Price: $13,600

Quick Facts Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch

For a truly alluring and seductive wrist companion, one need look no further than the Bulgari Serpenti Secret Watch.

The Serpenti has been the signature animal at Bulgari since the 1940s, blending Italian creativity with Swiss craftsmanship. Symbolizing the snake and its ability to shed its skin, Bulgari continues to renew its design of the Serpenti year for year, adapting to ever-changing style trends.

Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch
Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch

Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch

Exuding true glitz and glamour, this fully jeweled watch pays tribute to its spirit animal, its “bracelet” seamlessly coiling itself around the wearer’s wrist. Powered by a quartz movement, the secret 18-karat white gold version’s scales sparkle with brilliant-cut diamonds with contrasting eyes glittering in the green of emerald.

Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch
Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch

Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch

The dial is neatly tucked under the snakehead, the mouth opening to reveal this jewel to in fact be a watch.

Whether dressing up for a big occasion or adding a statement piece to everyday attire, it becomes ever more obvious that a watch’s strap or bracelet can be the ultimate accessory with its additional detail making it that extra bit special.

Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch
Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch

Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch

The skilled artisans involved in the making of these special straps and bracelets may just be as valuable as watchmakers, presenting luxurious styles that break fashion boundaries.

You might also enjoy Bulgari’s Beloved Serpenti: A Brief History.

For more information, please visit www.bulgari.com.

Quick Facts Bulgari Serpenti High Jewelry Secret Watch
Case: 40 mm, white gold with brilliant-cut diamonds, emerald eyes
Movement: quartz Caliber B033
Dial: white gold set with brilliant-cut diamonds
Functions: hours, minutes


Originally published at Quill & Pad.

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