Chronographs are one of the most easily recognised watch complications around, useful in any number of scenarios from measuring lap times to coordinating air traffic. Some of the key innovations that make chronographs so versatile are the legacy of Breitling’s Founders Squad, who built the company in 1884 and turned it into the horological powerhouse we know today.
In the first 50 years of its existence, Breitling helped take the chronograph from a useful variation on a pocket watch to a fully-fledged, versatile and popular wristwatch complication that is a staple of modern day horology – quite the legacy. A lot was learned in those years making the following 1940s a golden era for Breitling Chronographs.
To celebrate the connection between Breitling and chronographs, a new Premier Heritage collection has been announced featuring three timepieces inspired by the historic Premier chronographs produced by the brand in the 1940s. The watches in the new collection are The Chronograph, The Duograph and The Datora.
Premier B09 Chronograph 40
First up is the B09 chronograph, a relatively simple take on the chronograph formula available in two colour combinations. Understandably, your eye is instantly drawn to the pistachio green dial version with 40mm stainless steel case, it’s an unusual colour to see in modern watchmaking where deep emerald colours are currently more popular than the pastel shade seen here. It’s accompanied by a more traditional silvertone dial and 18k red gold option.
Both options feature vintage-inspired hands as well as large Arabic numerals and alligator straps. On this inside is the Breitling Manufacture Calibre B09, a manually wound movement inspired by the Breitling Manufacture Calibre B01, it has an approximate power reserve of 70-hours. Modern convenience hasn’t been compromised for vintage flair but they maintain a characterful design.
Ref: AB0930D31L1P1 (stainless steel, pistachio green dial, gold-brown strap), RB0930371G1P1 (18K red gold, silver dial, dark-brown strap) | Case/dial: 40mm diameter x 13.08mm thickness, stainless steel or 18K red gold, pistachio green dial or silver dial | Water resistance: 100m | Movement: Breitling Manufacture Caliber B09, hand-wound, COSC-certified | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 70h | Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds,1/4th second, 30-minute counter, column-wheel, vertical clutch | Strap: Gold-brown or dark-brown alligator leather with folding clasp | Price: £6,200 (pistachio green dial/stainless steel case) and £14,400 (silver dial/red gold case)
Breitling Premier B15 Duograph 42
The second watch in the collection is based on the 1944 Duograph and has the same name. The two options here aren’t quite as daring as the green dialled Chronograph, with a simple black dial and red gold case version and a blue and stainless steel one, both measuring 42mm in diameter. The ‘Duo’ part of its name comes from the doubled-up chronograph hands that form part of the rattrapante function, which allows the wearer to measure two elapsed times simultaneously, one of the most technically advanced complications that is regularly seen on chronos.
Again, the new version of the Duograph has been given the full modern refit while paying homage to key vintage elements like the layout and hand styling. The movement inside is the B15, based on the B03, reflecting the fact that this a slightly later watch than the original Premier chronograph. It has a 42-hour power reserve that is adequate but not outstanding.
Ref: AB1510171C1P1 (stainless steel, blue dial, gold-brown strap), RB1510251B1P1 (18K red gold, black dial, black strap) | Case/dial: 42mm diameter x 15.35mm thickness, stainless steel or 18K red gold, black or blue dial | Water resistance: 100m | Movement: Breitling Manufacture Caliber B15, hand-wound, COSC-certified | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 70h | Functions: Hour, minutes, small seconds, split-second chronograph, 1/4th second, 30-minute counter, column-wheel, vertical clutch | Strap: Gold-brown or black alligator leather | Price: £7,700 (blue dial/stainless steel case) and £15,900 (black dial/red gold case)
Breitling Premier B25 Datora 42
Rounding out the collection is The Datora, stylistically the most interesting of the lot, its look being updated and changed over the years with models like the Montbrilliant in the 50s. The new silvertone and red gold version in particular is reminiscent of Patek Philippe Grand Complications like the Ref. 5270, a recipe for success. The second option for The Datora is a copper-coloured dial in a stainless steel case – both versions measuring 42mm in diameter.
The combination of chronograph functions with the flair of a moonphase is a match made in heaven and makes the piece feel much more aspirational and bolder. The movement inside is the Calibre B25 with an approximate power reserve of 42-hours.
Ref: AB2510201K1P1 (stainless steel, copper dial, dark-brown strap), RB2510371G1P1 (18K red gold, silver dial, dark-brown strap) | Case/dial: 42mm diameter x 15.35mm thickness, stainless steel or 18K red gold, copper or silver dial | Water resistance: 100m | Movement: Breitling Manufacture Caliber B25, automatic, COSC-certified | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 70h | Functions: Hour, minutes, small seconds, day, date, month, moonphase, 1/4th second, 30-minute counter, column-wheel, vertical clutch | Strap: Dark-brown alligator leather | Price: £9,250 (copper dial/stainless steel case) and £17,950 (silver dial/red gold case)
The 1940s was a golden age for Breitling chronographs, with icons like the Premier in 1943 creating a legacy that still encompasses the quintessential qualities of chronographs to this day thanks to its innovation and execution. The 2021 Premier Heritage collection captures the same spirit of evolution and refinement that has come to define Breitling chronographs over the years. A worthy homage to the brand’s heritage.
More details at Breitling.