Breitling has relaunched the Chronomat for the Georges Kern era. The new collection, called the Chronomat BO 42 is available in a clutch of new dial colors and case materials and marks the return of Breitling’s Rouleaux ‘bullet’ bracelet. Let’s dive right into the new collection.
The Chronomat, which made its debut in 1948 was the first to feature the aviator’s slide-rule bezel now the hallmark of the Navitimer. It was resurrected in 1984 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the brand. It was developed for Italy’s famed Frecce Tricolori aerial squadron, the 1984 Chronomat was clearly influenced by aviation style, but it also appealed to auto racing fans with its tachymeter-scale flange and to yachting enthusiasts with its emblematic “rider tabs” at the quarter-hours on the rotating bezel that could be gripped easily to set countdown times with the stopwatch.
Both elements are present in the new Chronomats, which also ramp up the retro charm with their distinctive “Rouleaux” style integrated steel bracelets with butterfly clasps. Bonus: the rider tabs at 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock are interchangeable, meaning they can be used either for tallying up or counting down the first 15-minute interval.
The watches all feature 42-mm cases, in either stainless steel or 18k rose gold, and a tricompax dial arrangement with subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock — a configuration that, as per current Breitling styling, speaks to their use of an in-house chronograph-equipped movement, Breitling’s automatic B01. Appropriately enough, that movement, whose attributes include a column-wheel chronograph architecture, a COSC chronometer certification, and a 70-hour power reserve, made its debut more than a decade ago in a Chronomat model.
The Chronomat B01 42 is available in a range of colorful variations. One model in stainless steel offers a silver, copper, or blue dial with contrasting black subdials. Another special edition, produced as part of Breitling’s longstanding collaboration with Bentley, has a dial in British racing green with black subdials and a sapphire exhibition caseback engraved with a Bentley logo. Honoring the original timepiece that inspired the 1984 Chronomat revival is the Chronomat Frecce Tricolori Limited Edition (pictured at top), with a blue dial and tone-on-tone subdials. A Frecce Tricolori logo replaces the Breitling logo on the dial, and the inscription “ONE OF 250” is seen on the caseback.
On the more luxurious end, the Chronomat B01 42 is available in a steel case with rose-gold crown, pushers, and rider tabs and a silver dial with silver tone-on-tone subdials. On another model, the entire bezel is made of rose gold, along with the pushers and crown and components of the steel-and-gold Rouleaux bracelet.
The rider tabs at 12 o’clock and 3 are interchangeable making it ideal of tallying up or counting down.
This version offers dials in either blue with tone-on-tone subdials or anthracite with black subdials. At the highest echelon of sporty luxury is the one model mounted on a black leather strap rather than a bracelet, in a case of full 18k rose gold and anthracite-and-black dial. Prices for the new Chronomat collection range as follows: $8,100 for the steel editions with silver, copper, black or blue dials; $8,250 for the Bentley and Frecce Tricolori editions; $9,350 for the steel model with gold rider tabs; $12,100 for the steel-and-gold models on bracelets; and $20,200 for the gold-cased models on rubber or leather.