The Breitling Chronomat is one of the Swiss brand’s most iconic models: a classically brilliant chronograph that established Breitling as one of the world’s most important names in high-performance, high-end timepieces.
It’s a model that’s changed significantly since it was first introduced. Breitling has been making chronographs since the 1800s but the first Chronomat appeared in 1941 – which uniquely featured an integrated slide rule, a tool used for rapid calculations and conversions common before the electronic calculator made them obsolete.
But the most iconic version of the Chronomat has to be the 1983 ‘Frecce Tricolori’, originally made for the eponymous aerobatic demonstration team of the Italian Air Force. Famous for the raised ‘rider tabs’ on its bezel and its onion-shaped crown, this re-introduction of the Chronomat not only redefined the modern pilot’s watch but also signified the comeback of mechanical Swiss timepieces after quartz watches had dominated the market throughout the 1970s.
2021’s Super Chronomat harks back to that groundbreaking 1983 model: taking all of the unique design features that made that high-flyer such a winner and bringing it into the 21st century with a whole suite of technical and aesthetic innovations.
An 80s throwback par excellence, basically.
The core Super Chronomat B01 44 (a 44mm model, funnily enough) is available in three colour schemes: black or blue on stainless steel, or brown on 18k red gold. Despite being quite a large watch – the boldest of its kind – it’s deceptively wearable, even in the gold.
Subtle visual changes from the 1983 model include chunkier chrono pushers; a slightly smaller, minimal crown and critically, a stainless-steel bezel with a ceramic insert – a first on a Chronomat. Its COSC-certified Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01 provides about 70 hours of power reserve and it’s water-resistant up to 200m – some modern perks.
It’s the straps that will really excite Breitling fans. Of course, that iconic Rouleaux metal bracelet returns, but now you also have the choice of a Rouleaux-inspired rubber strap – a clever little design.
The black dial model is also available with a UTC module embedded in a Rouleaux bracelet. A quirky Breitling feature dating back to the 1980s, the module is actually a whole other timepiece, replete with stainless steel bezel and crown. Not only is it aesthetically unique but it allows a wearer to very easily keep track of another time zone.
Alongside the Super Chronomat B01 44, Breitling is also introducing the Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar which, as its name implies, has a semi-perpetual calendar mechanism that needs adjusting just once every leap year – or every 1461 days. It comes in two versions: a black dial on stainless steel, or a blue dial on two-tone stainless steel and 18k red gold.
A four-year calendar complication, made possible by the new Breitling Caliber 19 movement, is a thrilling addition to the Chronomat range – a true hallmark of haute horlogerie – yet it doesn’t compromise the essentially sporty nature of the Super Chronomat. It’s water-resistant to 100m and COSC-certified, too.
In essence, the 2021 Super Chronomat is the ultimate choice for those who want a timepiece mastering the balance between sturdy and stylish. It takes all the glamour of the 80s and imbues it in a timepiece that can keep up with the demands of 21st-century watch fans. In short, it’s a killer collection and one truly worthy of consideration. We’ll raise an Amaretto Sour to that.
Find out more at Breitling’s online boutique here.