Breitling Top Time Limited Edition
Breitling brings the ref. 2003, else known as "Mask of Zorro", back to life.
Breitling keeps re-issuing vintage timepiece and, after introducing the superb AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition, made in collaboration with vintage collector better known as Watchfred, on Instagram, or launching successful projects like the Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 Capsule Collection. The new project draws inspiration from the brand's heritage, which dates back to the early '60s. Back then, the Top Time was among Breilting's most-wanted pieces, and, from the early sixties to the end of the seventies, it was produced in a variety of models, among which the reference 7656 Jumbo currently stands out, from a quotation point of view.
The references produced in those almost 20 years are several and sport round or cushion case, bi-compax, or V-shaped register lay-out. In designing the 2020 Breitling Top Time Limited Edition, the brand's designers took inspiration from a specific model, the reference 2003, probably the sportiest Top Time ever released by Breitling. The brand has proved that, when it comes to re-issuing old models, it holds to the original design in an attempt to offer two different groups of timepieces. The new and most modern ones are crafted to attract a younger audience. In contrast, its vintage watches re-editions, seem geared towards the large group of Breitling collectors and vintage references' aficionados.
Equipped with a bi-compax dial, with the two registers slightly recessed on the white dial, the Top Time 2020 replicates the signature "Mask of Zorro" style that made the ref. 2003 so sought-after, and set this chronograph apart from the countless bi-compax chronographs introduced during those years. However, that design also includes details that belong to other Breitling Top Time chronograph references, however, and will quickly explain to you which ones.
The base of the hands placed inside the seconds' counters (at 9 o'clock) and the 30 minutes' Chrono register (at 3 o'clock) are a nod to Breitling references 2211 and 814 (the latter sporting a V-shape lay-out, and three counters). Furthermore, the slide Chrono buttons of ref. 2003 have been replaced by mushroom pushbuttons, as seen on Breitling ref. 2002. In a nutshell, the new Breitling Top Time Limited Edition incorporates design cues from various Top Time watches introduced throughout the collection's life cycle.
The steel case has grown to 41mm, across, and 14,27mm in thickness (it is a self-winding chronograph). An interesting detail is in the crown's design: it is thin, whereas the Chrono push buttons are long instead. This detail makes for the entire case to look more balanced compared to some competitors', whose design showcases a too-big and protruding crown. Breitling thus confirms excellent attention to detail, keeping grace into account, when re-issuing models from the past, as it once did when crafting chronographs, which are today highly desirable, for their taste other than their technical prowess.
Another nice touch is the groove between case and lugs. The Breitling Top Time Limited Edition comes equipped with Breitling Caliber 23, a mechanical movement known to most Breitling fans. It cannot equal manufacture caliber B01's performance and refinement. It is a customized version of an industrially sourced movement, which has been Chronometer certified. However, it guarantees reliable performance. Retailing for €4,850, the Breitling Top Time Limited Edition 2020 will be produced in 2000 specimens. Not a low price, considering it comes with non-in-house movement, yet includes "halo product" and nostalgia factors.
(Photo credit: courtesy of Breitling)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®