Throughout the 1930s and early 1940s, Breitling became synonymous with attractively priced high-quality wrist-worn chronographs, especially when the first chronograph with double start/stop and reset buttons was released in 1934. surface. The Chronomat of 1942-a hybrid of chronograph and mathematics-put Breitling on the watch map of that period. Its uniqueness lies in the circular slider created across the edge of the dial and the two parts of the chapter ring. According to a patented design filed in 1940, the two logarithmic scales are opposite to each other. One is fixed on the dial, and the other rotates according to the user’s whim. It allows to perform tachometer, pulse meter and rangefinder calculations. In addition (please forgive the pun) simple mathematical operations can also be performed. This enables the wearer to solve multiplication, division, interest rate, percentage, productivity and exchange rate issues. The Chronomat, driven by the Venus 175 movement with an atypical 45-minute chronograph minute recorder, quickly became very popular.
In the following years, Chronomat underwent various updates, including a moon phase version, which remained Breitling’s flagship model until 1952 when the Navitimer was released at the request of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). The basis of this new model named after the navigation and timer properties is based on Chronomat, but now includes an inverted external scale so that the two logarithmic scales run in parallel in a clockwise direction.
However, I digress, because we are talking about Chronomat here, which has hardly changed in the 1960s, only minor adjustments have been made in the contemporary era.
When we reached the 1970s and the period when the mechanical watch industry corroded quartz movements, Chronomat had disappeared from the catalog. Of course, we should not confuse Chronomat with the similar nickname Chronomatic. This extremely important watch was designed in a joint venture with Heuer, Hamilton-Bruen and Dubois-Depraz. As the first automatic chronograph movement in history (hence Chronomatic-the merger of chronograph and automatic watch), this heralds a new era in horology.
The next part is on the occasion of the brand’s centenary, that is, in 1984, Ernest Schneider (Ernest Schneider) re-launched Chronomat. As mentioned earlier, the advent of Seiko’s cheaper and more precise quartz movement caused serious damage to the Swiss luxury watch industry, and many brands had to file for bankruptcy. Although Breitling launched its own quartz watch, sales have fallen sharply since the mid-1970s, but this terrible situation cannot be avoided. In 1977, it even produced a battery-powered Navitimer with an LCD display, which seemed a heresy ten years ago.
In 1978, as the Swiss economic system followed suit, the overvalued Swiss franc and the disappearance of suppliers, Willy Breitling was forced to close his 96-year-old family business. Despite the closure of the Montbrillant factory and the dismissal of all employees, Willy Breitling is still determined to keep the name of Breitling in its proper place in the Swiss watch industry. Georges Caspari is Breitling’s current redundant advertising director. He recommended Willy Breitling an old friend of the Swiss army. Ernest Schneider is an electronic engineer who used to specialize in transmission in the Swiss Army. Since 1957, he has been a director of Sicura Watch Company, which has continued to grow its business and employs more than 300 people. This is due to the innovation of solar cells and quartz watches. Schneider is also a big aviation enthusiast with a pilot’s license and his own aircraft. He is a fan of Breitling pilot watches and owns several at this time. After Caspari approached, he didn’t hesitate. On April 6, 1979, Ernest Schneider acquired the Breitling Watch Company and all its rights. Willy Breitling sadly passed away only 39 days later, but his last name will continue to exist. In 25 years, it has grown into one of the top five luxury watch brands in the world.
Ernest Schneider brought his extensive knowledge of quartz watches to Breitling, and the company quickly gained momentum. However, Schneider is very aware of Breitling’s brilliant career based on mechanical chronographs. In 1983, when Schneider was considering paying tribute to Breitling’s legacy, he learned that the world’s most prestigious aerobatic team, the Italian Army’s tricolor aerobatic team, was issuing a tender invitation for its official timepiece. In addition, the timing is perfect, because the watches that the Italians need must be mechanical chronographs. Unlike other watch brands that contacted the Italian display team, Schneider did not want to adjust the existing model, but wanted to create one from scratch. This is a great opportunity to design something new that is based on advertising and integrity from the beginning. In 1983, Breitling Frecce Tricolori was launched.
The case, buttons, crown and bracelet are all brand new. However, the most modern element is the bezel markings at 3, 6, 9 and 12 o’clock. As we all know, these rider tags were designed by Schneider to protect the crystal from impact and ensure optimal operation when wearing pilot gloves.
Schneider immediately realized that he had built a potential flagship model for Breitling. On the occasion of the brand’s centennial birthday in 1984, this new model was launched.
This is a brave decision, because the current trend is still ultra-thin, high-precision, and inexpensive quartz watches. However, the new Chronomat was named after the reverence of the original version in 1942, and it was successful and became the main symbol of the brand along with its brother Navitimer. More importantly, it allows Schneider to pay tribute to Breitling’s history of innovation and success in mechanical chronographs.
In 2009, Breitling’s superb self-made chronograph movement 01 was installed in the new Chronomat, which was the next decisive correction. This polarized and radical new design was ridiculed by the media and Breitling fans from the beginning, mainly because the numbers on the bezel seemed to be inconsistent with the rest of the watch. However, due to its flawless details and decorations, it has become a popular backbone in the Breitling catalog.
I realize that I have covered up the very successful Chronomat Evo, but this is really just, as the title implies, an evolution of the 1984 model.
At first glance, the new 2020 Chronomat B01 42 seems to be a complete redesign of the current catalog Chronomat 44, but it is more in line with the style of the 1984 model, and it is itself a re-introduction of the 1942 original Chronomat. For me, this is the most triumphant interpretation of Ernest Schneider’s original vision 36 years ago.
The case, bezel, dial, markings, buttons and crown have all been redesigned. However, the first thing that caught the eye was the amazing reinterpretation of the classic “Rouleaux” bracelet.
Compared with any other products produced by Breitling since then, the buttons and crown are more reminiscent of the “Schneider” 1984 Chronomat. They are placed on the billet part on the side of the case and rise from the case to become an engraved crown protector. I am of course very happy that they made screw-in putters redundant. It makes quick access to chronographs impossible unless you keep them open and then look awkward. The half onion crown continues to meet its design purpose by providing excellent grip without causing any discomfort to the user. It also looks very delicate, with a discrete flying B logo on the outer surface.
The dial is dynamic, not ostentatious. The recessed sub-dial has a circular pattern that ripples from the center and stops at one-third of the distance from the periphery. These small details add character and topography to the dial. The sunburst colors used are kaleidoscopes because they capture different light.
The bezel is unidirectional and has enough resistance when moving, so that it is easy to use without affecting the safety of the predetermined positioning. Despite the integrated redesign from Chronomat 44, the rider tab still achieves the best grip. It is also a more elegant design. I don’t know why only the upper part of the bezel has a one-minute integer mark. I think this is to maintain symmetry, because it has no practical use I can think of. Only the first 15 minutes of the diver’s bezel need to be recognized every minute. The use of polished chamfered edges has some subtle design nuances that really raise the standard of this bezel.
The rest of the 200-meter waterproof case has been carefully polished. I particularly like the 45° top edge, which covers the entire side of the case.
Chronomat 44’s diameter reduction of 2 mm doesn’t sound like much, but it improves comfort through size and weight, and makes Chronomat 01 42 less fatigued and therefore more enjoyable for long-term wear.
Through the sapphire case back, you can witness the brilliant and skilled self-made 01 movement. In my opinion, this peeping porthole is a prerequisite for any Chronomat redesign, because the Chronometer is rated 47 jewel 01 caliber and is one of the most beautiful and thoughtful chronograph movements in the new millennium. Breitling created this movement from scratch, which allows them to integrate very useful but very rare functions, such as safe date changes, a patent that allows accidental pressing of the reset button while the chronograph is running. Causing catastrophic damage, a single barrel provides a 70-hour power reserve, and the modular structure allows easy access to important parts for maintenance and adjustment without disturbing the chronograph structure.
Interestingly, unlike all other Chronomats before, there is no option to buy new models with straps (except for solid 18ct red gold). The lug width is still the standard 22 mm, so you can buy leather, rubber or alligator straps and install them retrospectively. But why do you want? The bracelet in the new collection is definitely a highlight. It uses a stunning original design and redefines it for today’s market with extraordinary compassion. This begs the question: Why did Breitling take half a century to do this?
The new Chronomat B01 42 will be available in all steel, steel and 18ct red gold-with steel bezel and steel bracelet-steel and 18ct red gold-with full gold bezel and bimetal bracelet-and full 18ct red gold Strap and folding clasp unit.
The following are the flavors of the Chronomat B01 series. A complete list of available dials, material straps and bracelets can be found here. online shop for watch