In the 1980s, as the rising popularity of quartz was causing massive upheaval in the watch industry, a small handful of traditional Swiss watchmakers were taking bold bets on introducing innovative new mechanical timepieces. One such was Breitling with the Chronomat, a watch with serious aviation chops that would soon find favour with fans of all sorts of active pursuits thanks to its sophisticated-yet-sporty style.
The Chronomat was launched in 1984 to mark Breitling’s centenary, and took its cues from a watch the brand developed the previous year with Italian aerial squadron Frecce Tricolori. While its reputation as a pilot’s watch needed little introduction, its versatile features meant it was quickly adopted by a number of other sports, from the tachymeter that attracted the interest of Formula 1 teams to its reversible rider tabs, perfectly suited for regattas.
This year, the timepiece has been reimagined in a collection spanning different dial colours and case materials, each incorporating the distinctive features that has made the original such an enduring classic. These include the signature rotating bezel with interchangeable rider tabs, allowing the wearer to use them for a “count up” or “count down” function. The vintage-inspired look is completed with the signature stainless-steel integrated Rouleaux bracelet with a butterfly clasp. The watches come powered by the COSC-certified, in-house Manufacture Calibre 01, which first made an appearance more than 10 years ago in the Chronomat 01.
The new collection includes two extra-special pieces that are sure to draw the eye of collectors. An eye-catching green-dialled version has been created to celebrate Breitling’s ongoing association with Bentley, the longest-running partnership between a car brand and luxury watchmaker. Meanwhile, there’s also a limited-edition timepiece paying tribute to the original Frecce Tricolori watch from 1983. Limited to 250 pieces, it features the Frecce Tricolori motif prominently on the dial, positioned where the Breitling logo is normally placed.