Measure of style: Victoria Beckham’s Chronomat 36 for Breitling

Victoria Beckham is customising Chronomat 36s with her nonchalant glamour for Breitling

Watches & Jewellery 13 Mar 2024

Victoria Beckham teamed up with Breitling for the customisation of a limited collection of Chronomat 36s

Beckham is back at Breitling. No, not that one, this time it’s Mrs B and she’s not just modelling the watches, she’s collaborating on them as well. Breitling has teamed up with Victoria Beckham in her capacity as head of her eponymous fashion label to customise a limited collection of Chronomat 36s. Beckham’s designs have evolved since her 2008 debut at New York fashion week from restrictive Mouret-esque dresses into more relaxed silhouettes, an elevated everyday vibe more reminiscent of The Row than of Roland. She brings that same nonchalant glamour to the Chronomat 36 Victoria Beckham collection. 

In many ways the Chronomat was the perfect watch on which to collaborate with Beckham. Like her, it has been in and out of the spotlight in different guises. It first appeared in 1941 as a result of the 1938 establishment of the Huit Aviation Department by Willy Breitling, grandson of founder Léon. The “huit” was chosen as a reference to the eight-day power reserve that was a signature of Breitling’s clocks and watches, and the department was devoted to manufacturing precise and solidly built cockpit clocks for military planes.

Victoria Beckham teamed up with Breitling for the customisation of a limited collection of Chronomat 36s
Victoria Beckham teamed up with Breitling for the customisation of a limited collection of Chronomat 36s

Two years later it also unveiled the Chronomat – the name a portmanteau of “chronograph for mathematics”. It was the world’s first-ever timepiece to have a logarithmic scale on its rotating bezel. Based on the slide rule invented by mathematician Marcel Robert, it allowed pilots to convert between standard miles, kilometres and nautical miles and, in conjunction with the chronograph function, calculate distance travelled, fuel consumption, and climb and descent rates. Surprisingly, given all these real-world uses, Breitling chose to market the Chronomat to scientists and mathematicians. It would be the Navitimer, launched in 1954, that would be deemed worthy to grace a pilot’s wrist, while its predecessor was shelved only to be dusted off, sans slide rule, in 1969 for the honour of housing Calibre 11 – the world’s first automatic chronograph. It has had various redesigns and reimaginings, the latest of which has been overseen by Beckham.

The rouleaux bracelet hasn’t changed, neither have the raised tabs at 15-minute intervals on the rotating bezel. What has is the range of dial colours, all of which are inspired by Beckham’s SS24 colour palette, and Breitling has revived the use of yellow gold especially for this collection. In interviews, Beckham has said that her SS24 ready-to-wear line is inspired by her ‘relationship with dance and the British countryside’ and there is the same combination of grace and grit in her interpretation of the Chronomat 36. The watch’s functional lines remain, but the dials bring that fashionable flair that makes this timepiece perfect for everyday wear. The steel version, of which there are 400 in each of the dial colours (navy, emerald green, and grey) retains the utilitarian aspects of the original, while the yellow gold option – 100 of each dial colour that swaps out the grey for a gorgeously complementary sand shade – brings some decadence to the design. The second hand is tipped with the initials VB and her name is on the closed caseback. Just in case you were in any doubt as to which Beckham is working with Breitling now. 

Steel, £4,700, except grey dial, £4,950; all dial colours in gold, £23,750;