BY HARLAN CHAPMAN-GREEN
Breitling has had a bit of a, shall we say, rough time with its designs in recent years. One could potentially attribute this to Breitling’s take-over by a group, or maybe the design team. Either way, it’s taken a while for Breitling’s models to start looking good again, at least in my eyes. The new Chronomat with its sexy roller bracelet was excellent, and now Breitling has upped the ante.
The Super Chronomat goes in the opposite direction to most brands, which are looking to downsize their watches. The Super Chronomat has a 44mm case with all the fussy aggression to match the new size. I like the integration of the ‘rider tabs’ on the ceramic bezel, it adds depth and presence, which is what this one’s all about. The Super Chronomat B01 44 comes in three colours, black, blue or brown, the latter of which is only available on the solid 18k red gold version.
These watches all feature the classic tri-compax chronograph layout we’re used to seeing, and can be had on either the roller bracelet or a rubber strap with a 3D effect that mimics the bracelet’s appearance. The black version of the watch is also offered on a roller bracelet with a UTC module, a quartz movement placed within a link in the bracelet, designed to keep track of a reference timezone as you zip across the planet.
All models of this watch come with the calibre B01, Breitling’s premier in-house chronograph movement. It has a column wheel and a vertical clutch chronograph, just about the best you can get for a chronograph, ensuring accurate control and maximum durability. It has a 4Hz beat rate and a 70-hour power reserve. The price of these starts from $8500 on a rubber strap and stretches to $35,000 in solid gold.
Perhaps the more interesting version of the new Super Chronomatis the Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar. It ups the ante and provides a genuine competitor to Omega’s Speedmaster Moonphase. The Four-Year Calendar watch doesn’t need adjusting until a leap-year rolls around, meaning it’s less complex than the perpetual calendar (which needs no adjustment) and the annual calendar (which needs changing once a year on the 29th of February).
It also comes in a 44mm case. This time it’s two-tone steel and red gold with either the blue or black dial and bezel and either a strap or bracelet. My choice would be the blue, which works excellently with the gold accents.
Inside the watch is not an in-house calibre, surprisingly. It’s a modified ETA 2892 with two modules added, one of which is the chronograph module and made by Dubois Dépraz, the other is made in-house by Breitling and adds the calendar function. The calendar has been seamlessly integrated with the design of the watch, and while I think it might be a little hard to read, it’s definitely a worthy addition along with the moonphase. The calibre B19, as it’s called, has a 42-hour power reserve and a 4Hz beat rate.
For the black dial with a rubber strap the price is $14,600, and that price rises by $1150 for the blue strap version (not sure why). The highest price currently is the blue dial with bracelet, which costs $17,250. Weirdly, this version is only water-resistant to 100m, while the regular Super Chronomat is water-resistant to 200m. On the plus side, it’s only 0.1mm thicker than the regular Super Chronomat at 14.55mm thick.
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