Breitling is on a mission to resurrect and update some of its most iconic models. Less than a month after it introduced a rejuvenated version of the Top Time, the Swiss watch brand is back with a revised model of the Chronomat.
The Chronomat – a combination of the words ‘chronograph’ and ‘automatic’ – has been a staple in Breitling’s arsenal ever since it was introduced in 1984. At that time, quartz movements were the order of business for many watchmakers, but Breitling decided to separate itself from the pack and release a model with a self-winding mechanical movement instead.
The Chronomat was born out of a collaboration with the Frecce Tricolori – or “Tricolor Arrows” – the Italian aerobatic demonstration team, and at the time of launch, it also celebrated 100 years of the Breitling name. An aviators’ watch first and foremost, the Chronomat has also found itself admiration on land and sea, thanks to features such as a tachymeter, which is traditionally reserved for racing-inspired watches.
The 2020 Chronomat Collection comprises several variants of the B01, some full-production with various dial and chronograph counter colour combinations and some limited editions. All models get Breitling’s Manufacture Caliber 01 (which coincidentally debuted on the Chronomat 01 launched a decade ago), which brings with it a power reserve up to 70 hours.
As with previous Chronomat designs, the 2020 version includes rider tabs at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions. These tabs are interchangeable and serve as visual markers, as well as being able to provide extra grip when rotating the bezel when wearing gloves. Finally, all models are water-resistant to 200 metres and the hands are coated with Super-LumiNova.
Breitling has however made some design tweaks for this updated collection. These include reducing the size of the case from 44mm to 42mm and changing the bracelet from the Pilot style (which once featured on the Navitimer), to the Rouleaux. The Rouleaux (French for ‘rolls’) bracelet is made up of several parallel cylinders with rounded edges and has previously featured on Breitling’s Windrider collection.
Starting with the Chronomat B01 42, which is a full-production model. It can be had with either a silver, copper or blue dial with black chronograph counters or with a black dial and silver chronograph counters. These models will cost AU$11,350.
Breitling has once again collaborated with long-term partner Bentley for the Chronomat Bentley limited edition, which rocks a green dial with black chronograph counters, the same stainless-steel Rouleaux bracelet and “BENTLEY” engraved around the caseback. The Bentley edition will retail for $11,500.
In commemoration of the Frecce Tricolori watch of 1983 that was the inspiration for the Chronomat’s existence, Breitling has produced a limited edition model of the 2020 Chronomat, limited to 250 pieces. This Frecce Tricolori version comes with a blue dial with tone-on-tone subdials, along with the Frecce Tricolori logo in place of the usual Breitling logo. It will cost $11,500.
In an effort to appeal to those who want a bit of extra luxury and exclusivity to their Chronomat, Breitling also offers a version of the B01 42 with 18K red gold crown and pushers, and a bezel with 18K red gold rider tabs, numerals and indexes. It also features a silver dial with tone-on-tone subdials and will retail for $12,950.
A similar model with 18K red gold crown, pushers, unidirectional rotating bezel and riveting 18K red gold and stainless-steel Rouleaux bracelet can be had, with a blue dial and tone-on-tone subdials, or an anthracite dial with black subdials for $16,950.
But if you want a complete 18K red gold fix, Breitling can happily oblige thanks to a Chronomat B01 42 with 18K red gold case on a black rubber strap, but with an 18K red gold folding clasp. This model also has an anthracite dial with black chronograph counters and will retail for $28,450.
All Breitling Chronomat models can now be pre-ordered directly from the company’s website.
Breitling CEO Georges Kern said of the new collection, “The 1984 Chronomat occupies a very important place in our modern history. It was the watch that boldly proclaimed Breitling was staying absolutely true to its roots.”
“The Chronomat Collection is a fitting tribute to the amazing watch that, more than any other, put us back in touch with our heritage.”