The wise moon

The Breguet Heritage Phases de Lune Retrograde 8860 was launched at Baselworld 2012. A new timepiece presented in a tonneau-shaped case, it harnesses many styling details which have become synonymous with the Breguet name.

Breguet Heritage Phases de Lune Retrograde 8860

As I write this article, I am sailing across the Adriatic, admiring the basalt black sky adorned with flawless diamonds which promise fortunes faraway. Amidst the twinkling treasures beyond my grasp, sits the proud and resplendent moon. She sits all knowing, watching over all she surveys, omnipresent in the nocturnal ambience of dreams and slumber.

The moon is entwined with the various symbolic attributes of; love, femininity and wisdom.

It is wisdom borne of horological excellence which is indelibly linked with the Breguet name. Abraham-Louis Breguet was the greatest watchmaker of all time. His inventions have become legendary, seldom bettered to this day. His prowess of aesthetics, the successful mastery of forms and shapes, continues to impart pleasure to admirers of his horological art.

A new pearl of horological wisdom has emerged from Breguet. The Breguet Heritage Phases de Lune Retrograde was launched at Baselworld 2012. A new timepiece presented in a tonneau-shaped case, it harnesses many styling details which have become synonymous with the Breguet name.

This is a watch which will suit the feminine wrist with its elegant styling, yet harnessing horological excellence, seldom bettered.

The dial

The hub of the dial, is mother of pearl, engine-turned by hand, presented in a “flinqué alterné” pattern. The alternating waves depicted on the mother of pearl, flirt with light in an enchanting courtship ritual. Radiating lines from the centre of the dial provide discreet frames to the alternating patterns. At the base of the mother of pearl pattern is the unique serial number of the Breguet, faithful to the traditions of the brand and admired by the cognoscenti.

A circlet surrounds the mother of pearl centre, finely marked with diamond-shaped and round indices to convey minutes.

Roman numerals are depicted on the outer edge of the dial, following the profile of the case shape. These numerals are presented in grey, outlined in blue, almost floating on the frosted silver chapter ring.

The famous Breguet signature is visible on the chapter ring. Originally an anti-counterfeiting measure it now adds to the historical kudos of owning a brand favoured by the great and good for hundreds of years.

The complication which features in the nomenclature of this particular model, the moon phase is located in the top right hand corner of the dial, between noon and 1 o’clock. The gilt moon on a blue night sky peeps through the crescent shaped aperture. The moon is depicted with a winking eye reaffirming its wise character.

The hands are presented in the house style; open tipped and blued, historically termed “Breguet Hands”.

The case

Whilst I adore many circular shaped watches, the tonneau shaped case is refreshingly individual with its fusion of straight and curved lines, oozing sophistication from every angle.

The case dimensions are 35 mm x 25 mm, offering a diminutive timepiece suiting many ladies seeking understated refinement.

The caseband fluting is a further nod to Breguet’s iconic architecture. The vertical lines toy with light imparting pleasure to the fortunate wearer.

Breguet has eschewed the welded lugs synonymous with the brand, however, prospective purchasers are rewarded with a clean, uncluttered marriage of strap and case. This is perfectly judged and underscores their wisdom.

The strap is brown and woven, I would have preferred a non-woven strap variant, but I am sure some ladies will appreciate the originality of the pattern presented. Alternatively, the watch is available in different metals and with bracelets, but to my eye the rose gold with a brown leather strap is the astute choice.

The movement

The self-winding movement incorporates a rotor constructed of platinum, engine-turned by hand. I only wish they would share the beauty of this with the wearer with a sapphire caseback. The watchmaker clearly wishes to selfishly retain the beautiful view of his work solely for his own delectation.

The moon phase would ordinarily increase the height of the movement but then Breguet have always been able to optimize space like few others, preserving the svelte lines of the movement.

The watch may originate from a brand which has a history dating back to the 18th century, but this does not mean the watch dispenses with modern-day know how. The flat balance spring within the watch is made of state of the art silicon, providing superior stability and slender proportions.


Many ladies watches, harness quartz movements, which denies women the choice of a mechanical movement. Sometimes, ladies models focus more on the styling of the dial and case and patronizingly assume the mechanical aspects are not as important to women as they are to men.

Breguet have created a watch with beautiful styling, yet, harnessing a mechanical movement of peerless provenance. It is wonderfully crafted from a brand patronised by many important ladies of the past including Marie-Antoinette, Empress Joséphine of France and Queen Victoria.

A lady who chooses to wear Breguet is not trying too hard. She appreciates elegance, heritage and sophistication few other brands could meet those desires better. A Breguet is the perfect exemplar of feminine wisdom.

Technical specification

  • Model: Breguet Heritage Phases de Lune Retrograde 8860
  • Reference: 8860BR/11/386
  • Case: 18-carat rose gold; dimensions: 35 x 25 mm. Water resistant to 3 bar (30 m); sapphire crystal to front and solid case back.
  • Functions: Hours; minutes; moon-phase indicator.
  • Movement: Calibre 586L, self-winding; frequency 21,600 vph (3 Hz); 38 jewels; power reserve 40 hours.
  • Strap: Woven leather strap on rose gold pin buckle.

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