By Kien Lee
Breitling has pulled the covers off the new Chronomat, a collection that first saw the light in the 1980s. The name it took on nearly 40 years ago is a portmanteau of "chronograph for mathematics," first used for several timepieces from Breitling in the 1940s.
However, in 1984, the "Chronomat" would come to define a sports watch from the Swiss Manufacture that boasted both a chronograph function and automatic movement.
The Chronomat 01 First Launched in 1984
When the Breitling Chronomat was first launched, it bucked the onslaught of quartz on the marketplace in the 1970s. Eschewing the "battery-operated" approach, Breitling went bold and offered mechanical Swiss-made watches, rare because few watch companies had survived into the new decade, rare because most who survived did not feel mechanical watches in all its self-winding artistry could still appeal to the customer.
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. When much of the industry focused their efforts and energies on quartz watches, the Chronomat reminded the world that Breitling had essentially invented the modern mechanical chronograph. The message resonated and the brand prospered."
Georges Kern, Breitling CEO
The Chronomat 01 Launched in 1984
Inspired by the Frecce Tricolori watch, which had been developed and launched in 1983 in collaboration with the famed Italian aerial squadron of the same name, the Chronomat of 1984 marked a hundred years of Breitling's founding.
It was quite figuratively, the triumphant raising of the flag for the Swiss watchmaker who had built its reputation of the mechanical chronograph.
Not Just Aviation; Land, Air and Sea
Perhaps it was down to a one-two combo with Breitling's other iconic watch, the Navitimer, and the inspired creation of the Chronomat based on the Italian flight operators, which contributed to the brand's strong and proud association with aviation.
The Iconic Breitling Navitimer 1 Collection
Launched in 1952, Breitling's Navitimer 1 has its place in the annals of watchmaking. Instantly recognizable with its circular slide rule on its bezel, the timepiece performed a range of calculations relevant to aviation, and was quickly adopted by pilots. This relationship was especially embraced by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), with a successful partnership propelling it to greater awareness and heights, and eventually, a warm reception by the general public and watch buyers.
In 2018, under the leadership of the new incoming CEO Georges Kern, the Navitimer collection adds eight new references, offering a variety of sizes, dial options, bracelets, and straps. Read More.
However, the Chronomat would cross over from air to land and sea. In the late 80s and early 90s, the Chronomat's tachymeter would see it embraced by Formula 1 racing teams, and the reversible feature of the rider tabs on its rotating bezel, well suited the countdown nature of sailing regattas.
Countdown to the Start
Sailing yachts competing in a regatta cannot, unlike race cars, line-up at a starting line due to the nature of the open seas and winds. Instead, the boats need to manoeuvre themselves behind a start line that is defined by an imaginary line drawn between two buoys. A gun or cannon shot signifies a countdown to the beginning of a race, oftentimes 10 minutes, and thus begins the countdown when teams need to manage their timing, momentum, speed and direction to cross the line as close to zero as possible. Too early and they incur a penalty. Too late and they have lost valuable positioning against a competitor.
Continuing with its legacy and versatility as an all-purpose sports watch for all mediums, the new Breitling Chronomat retains several features of its namesake from the 1980s. In addition to the rider tabs on its rotating bezel, we are also drawn to the Rouleaux bracelet with a butterfly clasp, and its timeless appeal; a perfect example of the modern-retro style and design that the Brand now celebrates.
The Chronomat Collection is a fitting tribute to the amazing watch that, more than any other, put us back in touch with our heritage."
Georges Kern, Breitling CEO
- The rider tabs located on the bezel of the Chronomat at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock, true to the original, are interchangeable, so the wearer can use them either for a “count up” or “count down” function.
- Each chronograph in the new collection is powered by the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, an in-house mechanical movement that delivers an impressive power reserve of about 70 hours. When Breitling launched its in-house Manufacture Caliber 01 more than ten years ago, it was introduced in the Chronomat 01.
- The hands of every Chronomat B01 42 are coated with Super-LumiNova®, a luminescent material that enhances legibility in all lighting conditions. All of the models except for the Chronomat Frecce Tricolori Limited Edition have a red chronograph second hand, which also contributes to easy readability.
- Like all Breitling watches, the Chronomats are COSC-certified chronometers, an independent confirmation of their precision. All of the models are water-resistant to 20 bar (200 meters).
The Chronomat B01 42 with a 42 mm stainless-steel case comes with a choice of a silver, copper, or blue dial with black contrasting chronograph counters.
It is also available with a black dial with silver contrasting chronograph counters. Each model is presented on a stainless-steel Rouleaux bracelet with a butterfly clasp.
The Chronomat Bentley celebrates Breitling’s partnership with the great British luxury car brand. It has a 42 mm stainless-steel case with a green dial and black contrasting chronograph counters. This watch, presented on a stainless-steel Rouleaux bracelet with a butterfly clasp, features a “BENTLEY” engraving around the transparent sapphire caseback.
The new Chronomat Frecce Tricolori Limited Edition has a blue dial featuring tone-on-tone subdials and the Frecce Tricolori logo on the dial, positioned where the Breitling logo is normally placed. Limited to 250 pieces, with its caseback engraved with the words “ONE OF 250.” Like the rest of the collection, it is presented on a stainless-steel Rouleaux bracelet with a butterfly clasp.
The Chronomat B01 42 with an 18k red gold crown and pushers and a bezel with 18k red gold rider tabs, numerals, and indexes. It has a silver dial with silver tone-on-tone subdials and a 42-millimeter stainless-steel case, and is presented on a stainless-steel Rouleaux bracelet with a butterfly clasp.
The Chronomat B01 42 in an elegant blue dial with tone-on-tone chronograph counters or an anthracite dial with black contrasting chronograph counters. It is highlighted by an 18k red gold ratcheted unidirectional rotating bezel and an 18k red gold crown and pushers. This model is presented on a riveting stainless-steel and 18k red gold Rouleaux bracelet with a butterfly clasp.
The Chronomat B01 42 with a striking 18k red gold case presented on a black rubber strap with an 18k red gold folding clasp. It has an anthracite dial with black contrasting chronograph.
Breitling Marina Bay Sands
2 Bayfront Avenue, #01-50 The Shoppes at Marina Bay Sands
Tel: +65 6688 7258
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Tel: +65 6732 8582