By Harlan Chapman-Green
Can you smell that? A fresh, crisp breeze is in the air. The wind has a slight chill to it, there’s a few white and fluffy clouds drifting lazily through the sky. The sea is a lovely deep, calming blue and the surface shimmers in a way like no other. On the horizon, small sailing yachts are making their way, from A to B in a relaxed way and, what’s this? A new shape is looming in on the horizon. It might seem similar to what we’ve seen before, but it has a few subtle differences that help make it noticeable, but not overbearing. Enough with the poetry, it’s the new Chronoliner from Breitling, and it’s stunning.
There are two rarities about this watch, one is personal and one isn’t. First off, this is a completely new line of watches. That’s not something we see from Breitling too much any more. They’ve been subtly upgrading the movements of their watches, beefing up the cases and generally making a few tweaks here and there. Breitling has adopted a similar stance to Rolex recently: Evolution not revolution. They might make a couple of new additions to an already existing range but it’s extremely rare that they make a new watch, and it’s very exciting.
Before I continue I should address the personal issue I had with Breitling. I wasn’t interested in them, I respected their technicality and their history involving the chronograph but I really wasn’t all that fussed. The only exception was the Navitimer 01 on their beautiful polished bracelet. Now it’s got company.
The Chronoliner was designed to be a perfect pilot’s watch. Proof of this is the GMT hand that extends from underneath the chronograph seconds, hour and minutes hands. To accompany the new, red tipped hand there’s also a 24 hour scale on the deep black bi-directional rotating bezel. The bezel also has useful looking grips around the edge which are not only able to provide good traction for your hand, but also look very pleasing to the eye. There’s also the creamy white sub-dials, thin and elegant hands and a date window to keep your eyes drawn on the front of the watch. They are organised to the left hand side of the watch with the Breitling ‘Wings’ logo and the date at 3 O’Clock. One at 12 O’Clock measures the chronograph minutes, at 9 O’Clock there’s the running seconds and an hour counter at 6 O’Clock.
Inside this watch is an automatic Valjoux/ETA 7750 movement (or a similar movement made by Sellita). This has been modified by Breitling to make a Calibre 24 movement. One which has been in faithful service in Breitling watches for a while now and is proven to be reliable as it is a COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute) certified chronometer. The caseback of the watch has two aeroplane outlines engraved onto it, welcome nod to Breitling’s involvement in aviation.
This watch itself is 46mm in diameter, making it rather chunky. The polished case will certainly garner some intrigued looks, but in today’s life with shiny glass buildings and chrome trimmed cars, it won’t be as noticed as it would’ve been 50 years ago. It’s also waterproof to 100m down, but we don’t recommend using the chronograph underwater.
When it’s unveiled at Baselworld next month the new Chronoliner will be offered on both a steel Navitimer and a shark mech (or as Breitling likes to call it, Ocean Classic) bracelet. We’ll give you an update on the pricing information once we have it. all I can say is that you should watch (ha, another terrible pun) this space closely. We reckon there’ll be more where that came from. For more info, please visit breitling.com
Harlan Chapman-Green – Contributing Editor
First introduced to horology with the Patek Philippe Calibre 89 by his father few years ago, Harlan enjoys his passion for fine horology. He prefers to spend his time in the boutiques of upmarket brands, trying out new pieces constantly. His preferred 3 brands are A. Lange & Söhne, Breguet and Vacheron Constantin. Although not much for the smaller brands, he still finds the complications intriguing and wishes to own one watch from each of his three favourites. Read his articles here.