Just when we began to think that the watch world had given up the ‘bigger is better’ state of mind, Breitling has decided to take a break from the vintage elegance of their Premier Heritage Collection to show off the proportions of their new, 44mm Super Chronomat. It’s big, bold and pure 80s Breitling.
The Super Chronomat’s overall design has its roots in watches created for the Frecce Tricolori – essentially the Italian Red Arrows – back in 1983, back when sports watches were beginning the transformation into oversized monsters. The aim was to create a cockpit-to-club watch in the vein of older pilot’s pieces.
It’s a piece that was previously commemorated with the Chronomater B01 42 Frecce Tricolori Limited Edition, one that’s now sold out. Despite the same roots however, these new pieces make for a very different wristwear experience.
Super Chronomat B01 44
It’s not just that the case has been upped by 2mm. The chronograph pushers are bigger and bolder than before, while the bezel is now stainless steel with a ceramic insert for durability. It still has the typical Chronomat DNA – including the interchangeable rider tabs at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock – but the changes add up to a more muscular, macho watch than the Chronomat has ever been before.
There are five distinct variations on the newly-proportioned Super, not including different straps or bracelets. The tri-compax chronograph housing the superlative Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01, is available in a steel case with a blue or black dial (complete with matching bezel) or in 18K rose gold with a lovely chocolate brown dial. All have contrasting silvered sub-dials.
Ref: AB0136251B1S1 (black bezel, stainless steel, black rubber strap), AB0136251B1A1 (black bezel, stainless steel, stainless steel bracelet), AB0136161C1S1 (blue bezel, stainless steel, blue rubber strap), AB0136161C1A1 (blue bezel, stainless steel, stainless steel bracelet), RB0136E31Q1S1 (brown bezel, 18k red gold, brown rubber strap), RB0136E31Q1R1 (brown bezel, 18k red gold, 18k red gold bracelet) | Case/dial: 44mm diameter x 14.45mm height, stainless steel or 18k red gold | Water resistance: 200m | Movement: Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01, COSC-certified, automatic, 47 jewels, 346 parts | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 70h | Functions: Hour, minute, second, date window, 1/4th second, 30-minute, 12-hour counters | Strap: Stainless-steel or 18k red gold Rouleaux bracelet, Rouleaux-inspired rubber strap | Price: £6,750 (black/blue bezel, stainless steel, rubber strap), £7,050 (black/blue bezel, stainless steel, stainless steel bracelet), TBC (brown bezel, 18k red gold, brown rubber strap/18k red gold bracelet)
Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar
Then we have two calendar versions, in black or blue, with rose gold trim. Both are equipped with the Breitling Calibre 19 and its 42-hour power reserve. Honestly, they’re not my favourite Breitling releases of the year; I much prefer the less crowded chronographs. What is cool is that they’re technically four-year calendars, meaning they just need setting every leap year rather than an annual calendar which needs to be set every 12 months.
Ref: I19320251B1S1 (black bezel, stainless steel, black rubber strap), I19320251B1A1 (black bezel, stainless steel, stainless steel bracelet), U19320161C1S1 (blue bezel, stainless steel, blue rubber strap), U19320161C1U1 (blue bezel, stainless steel, stainless steel and 18k red gold bracelet) | Case/dial: 44mm diameter x 14.45mm height, stainless steel, 18k red gold and black or blue ceramic bezel | Water resistance: 100m | Movement: Breitling Calibre 19, COSC-certified, automatic chronograph movement, 38 jewels | Frequency: 28,800 vph (4 Hz) | Power reserve: 42h | Functions: Hour, minute, second, day, date, month, moon phase, chronograph: vertical clutch, 1/4th second, 30-minute and 12-hour counters | Strap: Stainless-steel Rouleaux bracelet or Rouleaux-inspired rubber strap | Price: £11,500 (black bezel, stainless steel, black rubber strap), £11,990 (black bezel, stainless steel, stainless steel bracelet), £12,450 (blue bezel, stainless steel, blue rubber strap) and £13,650 (blue bezel, stainless steel, stainless steel and 18k red gold bracelet)
Super Chronomat B01 44 Ref. AB0136251B1A2, £7,990
There is one other bracelet in the offing though and it’s the star of the show. The black version of the chronograph can also come with a Rouleaux bracelet housing a UTC module like a miniature clock embedded at the 6 o’clock end. It might just be the quirkiest strap around.
If you were one of the few longing for Breitling’s return to oversized dimensions then this should be one of the most exciting releases of the year for you. Personally though, the new pieces look like a lot of fun, just not the kind I want to get involved in myself. Like drag racing, or not wearing a mask in public.
All five watches come on two strap options. First there’s a Stainless-steel Rouleaux bracelet, an absolute classic amongst retro timepieces and one of the more comfortable sports bracelets out there. It’s also a lot more durable than it looks. The second option is a rubber strap made to look almost exactly the same. It’s a nice touch and means you still get that quirky look in a more comfortable, dial colour-complimenting version.
More details at Breitling.