New day, new re-edition. That’s at least how I see the watch world at the moment. Are we slumping in terms of new designs? Most definitely. Are the brands now falling back on their heritage to generate sales? Absolutely. Is this the best approach? Well, that one’s a little debatable. How many of the folks in the over-40s generation like to remind us young-uns how it was “better in their day”.
You see it all the time, and it’s often worded condescendingly. Perhaps the reason for all of these remakes of the oldies isn’t because the Swiss have run out of ideas, but because they took the statement in quotation marks seriously. Or, perhaps the Swiss are looking to dominate the r/MailiciousCompliance subreddit by giving us exactly what we asked for to the letter.
Either way, Breitling returns with a new re-edition for us to look at. It’s a remake of the Chronomat, a name which has served on many different watches across Breitling’s history. The Chronomat serves as Breitling’s go-everywhere watch for generally cool people. Compared to some of their other timepieces which are functional instruments, the Chronomat has a bit of everything in its recipe with a dash of polishing to make it more luxurious. With an integrated bracelet, it’s a good looking watch that blends the 1980s design cues taken from the Chronomat’s predecessor, the “Frecce Tricolori”, with modern watchmaking precision.
A unique part of the new chunky-yet-sleek design is the bracelet. As I’ve mentioned, it’s now integrated and takes over from where the lugs end to secure the watch to the wrist while gently tapering towards the clasp. Moreover, the new ‘rouleaux’ (French for ‘rollers’) bracelet features alternating brushing and polishing as well as enough 1980s cool to give Thomas Magnum a run for his money.
Inside this new watch is the thoroughly-modern B01 calibre, the brand’s in-house chronograph movement. It has both a column wheel and a vertical clutch, which are rarely seen together in mass-market focused watches such as this, and it also has a strong 70 hours of power reserve, a 4Hz beat rate and COSC chronometer status.
There are going to be several versions of the ‘Rouleaux-Chronomat’, with various dial colours available to take your fancy. The range will consist of stainless steel watches, two-tone ones and a few solid gold models too. I think my favourite is the two-tone with the blue dial version; it stands out in all the right ways to me. There are also going to be two unique edition watches. One is the ‘Frecce Tricolori’ edition with a blue dial and their logo in place of the Breitling logo. There will be a Breitling for Bentley edition as well, for all the people living in Cheshire who don’t drive a Bentley.
Pricing is quite high. The solid steel versions will be €7900, but the steel ‘Frecce Tricolori’ and Breitling for Bentley versions will come with a higher price tag of €8100. Steel with gold rider tabs (the grips on the bezel) will cost €8950. For the two-tone models, the price is even higher at €11,600, and the full take-no-prisoners 18k red gold watch will cost €19,000.