If you’re at all familiar with the name Breitling, you’re surely aware that the Swiss watchmaking legend is synonymous with adventure, and more specifically aerial adventure. Their original Navitimer is arguably the most iconic pilot’s watch of all time. But the Navitimer is hardly the only aviation-themed watch in their history.
Back in the 1980s, Breitling created a special edition watch for the pilots of the famed Italian Air Force aerobatic jet squadron, the Frecce Tricolore. The watch was as bold as anything from the era, perfectly suitable for piloting a Bertone-designed Lamborghini, as well as a fighter jet. It was from this watch that the original Chronomat was born in 1984, a mechanical chronograph flying in the face of the prevailing quartz-movement revolution. It was a daring move, and with its big, bold design cues, it was the perfect sports watch of its time.
Swiss Made Excellence
In its latest release, Breitling declares that the Chronomat’s time has come again, bigger and bolder than ever. At 44mm, it’s a statement watch not only in size, but in attitude as well. Yet despite its case measurements, the Super Chronomat wears surprisingly well on a variety of wrists.
There are five different variants in the new Super Chronomat 44 line, but they all share a few characteristics in addition to case size. They come on your choice of an all-stainless ‘Rouleaux’ bracelet, or a newly designed rubber strap in the same style. The Rouleaux bracelet is super-comfortable, and with a bit of imagination, resembles an ammunition belt. It’s one of the most distinctive features of the Chronomat line.
Another shared feature is the stainless bezel with ceramic insert, first for a Chronomat. The Chronomat bezel is also unique for its vintage inspired ‘rider tabs’, which not only protect the sapphire crystal, they’re also interchangeable. You can swap the tabs at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions, thereby allowing you to use the bezel for counting up as well as down.
Now let’s explore the differences. The chronograph versions, in blue or black on stainless, or brown on red gold, all utilize the 47-jewel COSC certified Breitling Manufacture B01 in-house movement, good for 70 hours of power reserve. In another throwback to the vintage version, the black/stainless model has a uniquely 80s quirk, featuring a UTC module embedded in the bracelet for displaying a second time zone at a glance. It’s an acquired taste, to be sure, but truly original.
Fine Features Top To Bottom
Moving onto the 4-year-calendar versions, your choices are stainless/blue or stainless/black, both with red gold accents. Apart from the striking look, there’s some serious horological alchemy at work. The Breitling Caliber 19, a COSC-certified semi-perpetual calendar movement keeps you on time, on date, and even tracks the phases of the moon. What exactly is a semi-perpetual calendar? In layman’s terms, it means you’ll only be resetting the calendar once every leap year, which is pretty incredible for a mechanical timepiece. All this, and it’ll keep up with an active lifestyle, with 100 meters of water resistance.
In a mantra that recalls the go-go 80s, sometimes more is more, and in the case of the Super Chronomat 44, Breitling seems to be shouting it loud and clear. It’s big, it’s bad, and it’s bold, and it doesn’t care who knows it. And as they continue to swing for the fences while honoring their heritage, it looks like their streak of hit releases from the last few years is going to continue.
D.C. Hannay is a writer, commercial producer, voiceover artist, and musician from New York, writing professionally for over 20 years. He’s been fascinated with watches his whole life, beginning with his father’s 1970 Breitling Navitimer, and will always have a soft spot for anything Casio.
Via The Coolector.com