Injecting new vitality into old things is a special talent of today’s Swiss luxury watch industry. The formula is very simple. Take something from the past, adopt it according to today’s taste, and make sure that when people see it, they are not quite sure what era it was made for. Breitling re-launched the Chronomat with a tubular “Rouleaux” bracelet, which is largely an exercise in today’s watch industry. Breitling quietly shelved the previous Chronomat model (it has been in production for ten years or more), and then brought back from the world of Breitling some things that I think retailers have never seen in their stores since the 1990s thing.
The bad news is that terms like “Chronomat” have become a lot like “911” (in Porsche’s words). They do refer to a kind of car/watch, but not necessarily to any specific item. So let’s call this watch by its slightly more precise (albeit also vague) name, Breitling Chronomat Bo1 42. The rest of the aBlogtoWatch team has seen this watch before. Launched in 2020 during the pandemic, it is impossible for us to meet Breitling at an inclusive event. aBlogtoWatch first launched the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 watch here, and then our David Bredan personally experienced the larger Breitling Chronomat B01 42 chronograph series here.
The question I want to answer for myself with Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is, considering the work of collectors today, how does it perform in the competition. The starting price of Chronomat is just over $8,000. It is not only another interesting aviation-inspired tool watch, but also a serious luxury. Buyers need to cooperate with Rolex, Omega, Blancpain, Glashütte Original, TAG Heuer , IWC and other competitions. The challenge for Breitling is to produce a product that can do three things at the same time. The first is that the watch needs to fit the mold of the traditional tool watch. Secondly, the watch needs to be visually beautiful and complement the wearer’s style. Third, the watch needs to come from a brand that is worthy of luxury positioning and buying confidence in today’s attractiveness and popularity.
Many people will argue that, compared with many other brands, Breitling is more about these things than most of its competitors-especially in terms of brand and luxury positioning. Currently, under the leadership of Georges Kern, Breitling is fortunate to be able to release a number of new watches in late 2019 and early 2020 (and most competitors are waiting to release new watches for trading). The show was cancelled by the pandemic). Breitling also invested a lot of money in marketing before the pandemic, and this noise momentum continued until the first half of 2020. At present, Breitling is quite popular for collectors.
The core story behind Chronomat is the type of military collocation, which is the basis of many great watch stories. Around 1984, Breitling produced a watch for the Italian Air Force Pilot Squadron (Frecce Tricolori), which eventually became the first Chronomat model. At this time, Breitling first introduced the Rouleaux bracelet and the rotating bezel with the “rider label” (I call it “bezel claw”). This appearance (especially the bezel) has dominated the appearance of Breitling watches for nearly a decade. When Breitling began to manufacture their own internal caliber B01 automatic chronograph movement, Chronomat lost the bezel and bracelet-it became something more versatile (although still very good) and helped Breitling through an important era. In aBlogtoWatch I reviewed the previous generation of Breitling Chronomat 44 GMT. Although using the same movement, the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is a very different watch. I find it interesting that although it was inspired by almost all generations of Breitling Chronomat watches, it eventually became something completely new.
Case size has always been a topic. People are trying to lean towards more comfortable and easier-to-wear watches-which means that some older Breitling watches are more outdated in style. The largest case size of the previous Chronomat was 47 mm wide-obviously huge for many wrists. 2020 Chronomat B01 42 is 42 mm wide and about 15 mm thick. In my opinion, it wears big but not too big. The sense of size is actually the function of all the polished steel and wide lugs combined with the eye-catching taper of the Rouleaux bracelet. Like Breitling, the stainless steel case (two-tone or full-gold version is also available) is well-made and has an excellent surface finish.
Breitling now also has a watch that can compete in the “steel watch market with integrated bracelet” at least in appearance. For me, this is the best technique used by the Chronomat B01 42, because it was not traditionally considered a watch suitable for this style-now it does. From a structural point of view, the new bracelet is completely different from the traditional Rouleaux bracelet decades ago. The manufacture of these new products is more like contemporary luxury products, the parts are individually processed and polished, and stronger metal parts are usually used. The old Rouleaux bracelet will bend and stretch over time. Over time, this bracelet does not seem to show any such wear. The fresh form of the bracelet is important. Very comfortable, yes, but more importantly, it stands out and helps to make the experience of wearing Chronomat B01 42 more unique. This will only help many consumers to increase the value of the watch, because people do not want to get an ordinary luxury watch experience at these price points.
The new rotating bezel design was obviously inspired by the original Chronomat watches, but they lacked many fashionable features. Breitling has done an excellent job of making them feel refined and high-end, that’s for sure. In other words, the strangeness of the screwed “rider tag” and the protruding peripheral screws have disappeared. The bezel of the new Chronomat series even has these screws on the periphery, but they are effectively minimized so that you can’t really call them a key part of the personality of the work. It is not that the bezel is a missed opportunity, but Breitling has made a specific decision that it should not be a major part of the unique characteristics of the new Chronomat-they left it to the bracelet. online shop for watch
Many brands, including Breitling, are happy with the updated retro “hot dog stick” hour and minute hands, making them feel more modern and angular. Similarly, the hands of the new Chronomat adopt the shape of an old Chronomat watch and are rendered according to today’s taste. The tri-compax array chronograph dial of the Chronomat watch is very delicate and elegant, demonstrating the simple conservatism enjoyed by Breitling today. Due to the familiar appearance and good use of colors and materials, the dial experience is effective. Breitling doesn’t have much innovation in this area, but I don’t think the dial will make anyone feel anything, but “that’s a beautiful watch.”
I do like how Breitling managed to design a screw-in chronograph button. This residual element is designed to provide more water and element resistance, but in most cases it just prevents more people from using the chronograph. Without the screw-in chronograph button, this watch is still water resistant to 200 meters-in my opinion, this is a success. I also like the slightly oversized appearance of the crown and the design of the entire crown and button area of the watch on the right side of the case. According to your taste and budget, Breitling offers the Chronomat B01 42 case and bracelet, which are made of all-steel material, or different degrees of gold for the two-tone model. There is a full gold model, but I don’t believe there is a pure gold bracelet option. Eventually, there will be,
With diversity in mind, Breitling designed the Chronomat B01 42, which has dozens of versions every year. Simply by swapping colors and materials, the cumbersome Chronomat B01 42 case with a chronograph movement can be presented in many interesting ways. I happen to like those dials with contrasting subdials, and now, I happen to prefer all-steel watches. The movement is not new, but Breitling’s self-made movement B01 automatic chronograph has excellent performance and has been in good condition. It still looks great when executed. Although it is not industry-leading in any respect, it is a stable 4Hz frequency movement with a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. You can view the movement through the sapphire crystal window on the back of the watch.
Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is very popular. I think most watch lovers will like it because it combines conservative masculinity with stylish and high-quality construction. If Mr. Kern can maintain the momentum, then he has been hit once again for a brand that has done a good job. It remains to be seen how likely this will be during the pandemic, but at least for him, Breitling has an advantage over most others. The three Breitling Chronomat B01 42 watches are Chronomat B01 42 stainless steel copper (refer to AB0134101K1A1) and silver (refer to AB0134101G1A1), and Chronomat B01 42 stainless steel-180100C stainless steel and 18R 1810K red gold).