Breitling unveils the new Chronomat B01 42mm
The term Chronomat is rooted in the 1940s when Breitling assigned some of its watches this title. It is the portmanteau of "chronograph for mathematics," with a direct reference to the calculations done during flights. After nearly 40 years, when the modern Chronomat originally appeared, Breitling has today unveiled a new Chronomat collection during a webcast video conference. The 2020 Breitling Chronomat B01 42mm pays tribute to the chronograph once supplied to the legendary Italian military aerobat team, else known as "Frecce Tricolori," launched in 1983. In that iteration, the term Chronomat was synonymous with chronograph equipped with an automatic movement, as a direct response to the then-leading quartz equipped timepieces.
Please welcome the new Breitling Chronomat B01 42 (this is the collection's full name). Style and features are a nod to a chronograph which became highly sought-after, back then, and preserve the signature modern-retro style that made that Chronomat a must-have among watch aficionados across the globe. First, the brand's designers restyled the rotating bezel and its unmistakable rider tabs (something that helps you recognize any Chronomat from afar), which allows you to grab the rotating bezel safely.
Those placed at 3 and 9 o'clock, as once was on the original model, can be unscrewed and interchanged, allowing the wearer to use them for countdown too. Aesthetically, the satin/glossy finish is such than, in comparison to the original model, the bezel has a glossy finish while the rider tabs are satin-finished instead.
Breitling has preserved the crown's onion shape, although the current one is less protruding than before; it also is flat on top, to accommodate the engraved "B" logo. The Chrono push-buttons are not rounded any longer, but feature an unusual elliptical shape, thus making the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 sleeker. The lugs are solid and elongated to accommodate the integrated steel Rouleaux bracelet, whose finish is as brushed as the case. Its design is a hallmark; the horizontal links include thin and shiny inserts that enhance the premium touch and feel.
Since it is a preview, we look forward to getting our hands on these new timepieces anytime soon and discover how each model wears. At first glance, it seems the brand paid great attention in making the watch as comfortable as possible, something Georges Kern highlighted during today's webcast. More to come once will be allowed to warp them around our wrists. The case measures 42mm, across, and is 15,1mm thick. Through the sapphire case back, you can enjoy a view of the mechanical movement that powers this new chronograph, the in-house Breitling 01 caliber, widely recognized as a best-in-class automatic movement both in terms of performance and robustness.
Equipped with a bi-directional winding rotor, it runs at 4Hz (28800v.p.h.) and offers no less than 70 hours of power reserve. The chronograph comes also equipped with a column-wheel mechanism and vertical clutch. All the new Chronomat B01 42 are COSC certified as chronometers and are waterproof up to 20 bar (200 meters). Summarizing, if the previous Chronomat has never been my cup of tea, I believe Breitling hit the nail on the head with this new collection. The brand revamped a legendary collection while holding its pedigree, and confirming the Chronomat as one of the most recognizable chronographs in the industry.
To my great surprise, no GMT variant has been released so far, something I hardly understand given the direct link to flight, which also means traveling across different timezones. The current line up offers four product references and ten variants: six come in steel, three in steel / red gold, all offering a Rouleaux bracelet, while the red gold Chronomat B01 42mm comes on rubber. Pricing starts at Euro 7,900 up to Euro 19,000 for the red gold one. A full gold version is also available (price not yet defined). The only variant that is limited in numbers is the "Frecce Tricolori," whose 250 pieces cost each Euro 8100.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Breitling)
Francesco Falcone @Horbiter®