Ever wondered why Breitling does chronographs so well? The iconic Swiss watch brand is synonymous with expert chronographs and classic pilot’s watches. Some of the top models within the company’s catalogue are split-second chronographs.
Not every watch wearer will take the time to obsess over the finer details and intricately arranged components of a luxury watch, but those who consider themselves Breitling enthusiasts will agree that paying attention to the smaller details is a part of collecting and owning these wristwatches. Breitling chronographs have never lost their appeal. Which explains why a complication originally developed for timing the laps of a race car or the fly-by timings of a plane, is still used today in the modern world.
A chronograph watch from Breitling can be enjoyed by both male and female enthusiasts, assisting with small tasks and still prove their elegance.
Breitling chronograph watches span all the way back to 1884 when Leon Breitling had the vision to create the most accurate tool for scientific, industrial and military use. Breitling produced the ‘Vitesse’ pocket watch in 1906, a timepiece capable of measuring speeds reaching up to 150 kph. Between this point in history and the year 1915, Leon Breitling received several awards for his timing instruments, the first wrist-worn chronograph can be officially linked to the year 1915 and featured a pusher separate to the crown, yet it would be another eight years before Gaston Breitling would develop a separate pusher at 4 o’clock, enabling for the start and stop button to be detached from the reset button.
Breitling stayed in the hands of its original family for three generations before being headed by pilot and watchmaker, Ernest Schneider. In 2017 Breitling began to run under the direction of CEO, Georges Kern, who has focused firmly on revisiting some important horological milestones within the brand’s heritage, hence its strong emphasis on vintage chronographs from a bygone era.
Although the Navitimer is indisputably the most recognised chronograph from Breitling’s renowned catalogue, other chronographs prove to be popular collectables. Here’s a comprehensive guide to some of the best Breitling Chronograph watches to collect, starting with a model inspired by a special vintage aircraft.
The Breitling Aviator 8 B01 42 Mosquito honours the De Havilland Mosquito - a British aircraft with a lightweight wooden construction that made it one of the fastest planes in the skies during World War II.
Its black dial with silver-filled chronograph counters displaying 30-minute, 12-hour and small second functions at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock respectively oozes vintage charm. Full of character, the 43mm stainless steel chronograph from Breitling is powered by an in-house manufactured movement, making it a popular collectable to own. Breitling only began manufacturing its own movements in the year 2009.
Case/Dial: 43mm Stainless steel, Black Dial (Reverse "Panda")
Movement: Breitling 01 (Manufacture), Self-winding
Strap: Calfskin leather
The self-winding Caliber 01 produces a 70-hour power reserve, making it more than capable of keeping accurate time during periods away from the wrist. A brushed DLC-coated bidirectional rotating bezel pairs nicely with the red and orange accents of this Breitling Chronograph watch from the Aviator 8 series, which recalls the marking and military roundels of the fuselage of the De Havilland Mosquito, built between 1940 and 1950.
This classic and simple-looking Breitling chronograph from the Premier collection boasts a stunning panda dial, along with a tachymeter scale running around the edge of a silvery dial. The pushbuttons, enabling effortless control over the chronograph functions, hug the shape of the stainless steel case for a more ergonomic finish, whilst the watch’s 100-meter water-resistant case protects the COSC-certified in-house Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01.
The 30-minute and small second sub-counters at 3 and 9 o’clock are complemented by slim stick hour markers and central hands in a matching profile. This stylish Breitling chronograph is completed on a black alligator leather strap with white contrast stitching, secured with a stainless steel folding clasp for wearing every day of the week.
Demanding attention with its vibrant yellow and black aesthetic, the Breitling Endurance Pro is a bold and powerful-looking watch, steeped in masculine elements and powered by a precise chronograph movement. What makes this Breitling chronograph such an appealing watch to add to any growing collection is its black Breitlight case – a proprietary material that promises a weight that is three times lighter than titanium and almost 6 times lighter than stainless steel.
Breitlight is also hypoallergenic, anti-corrosive and resistant to scratches. This popular Breitling chronograph features luminous hands, vivid white Arabic numerals hour markers, a date window at 4:30 and chronograph counters at 2, 6 and 10 o’clock providing 1/10th of a second, small seconds and 30-minute functions. This Endurance Pro watch is powered by a COSC-certified Thermoconpendated SuperQuartz™ movement, which promises an accuracy ten times greater than any standard quartz movement.
Breitling chronographs from the Superocean Heritage range are resolutely vintage-inspired and come with a chunky unidirectional rotating bezel for measuring elapsed time underwater effectively. In addition to this, they feature luminous hour markers and hands, and a reliable automatic movement. This Breitling chronograph is powered by the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01 and features silver-filled sub-counters at 3, 6 and 9 o’clock offering 30-minute, 12-hour and small second functions respectively.
In addition to this, a date window is located at 4:30 against the model’s rich black dial. The Breitling chronograph is water-resistant to 200 meters and is topped with a pane of anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass, along with a screw-locked crown at 3 o’clock with two gaskets to uphold the chronographs’ impressive water resistance. A textured rubber strap dries easily whilst in and out of the water with this sporty yet retro-looking Breitling chronograph strapped to the wrist.
The 765 AVI instantaneously became the perfect alternative to the Navitimer back in the 1960s with its legible dial and engraved rotating bezel. Today, the Breitling AVI ref. 1953 re-edition watch celebrates all the watch’s key characteristics, paired with the reliability of its modern in-house Breitling Manufacture Caliber B09. This chronograph from Breitling will appeal to devoted chronograph collectors but also to those with an interest in the brand’s heritage in creating impeccable timekeeping tools for pilots and the aviation industry.
The watch features a black dial with vintage-coloured Super-LumiNova-treated Arabic numerals and cathedral-shaped hands. The watch offers 1/5th second, 15-minute, 12-hour functions, combined with a steel engraved bidirectional rotating bezel to match the material of its 30-meter water-resistant case, and comes completed on a stylish black calfskin leather strap. The leather band, with its cream contrast stitching and tang-style clasp crafted from steel, helps to complete the retro-inspired feel of this Breitling AVI ref. 1853 re-edition watch.
The Breitling Super Chronomat BO1 44 is one of the brand’s most recent additions to the Chronomat series. Inspired by the original 1980s Chronomat, this Breitling chronograph features the ionic rider tabs on the model’s blue ceramic bezel, as well as rouleaux-inspired blue rubber strap. Perfect for those in need of an all-purpose sports watch, this Chronomat B01 44, as its name suggests, is powered by the in-house manufactured Breitling 01 Calibre.
The Super Chronomat is also 200-meter water-resistant and topped with a sapphire crystal glass front for a glare-free view into the dial. The 1/4th second chronograph, 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers are controlled effortlessly by the steel push-pieces at 2 and 4 o’clock on the side of the model’s steel case and are finished in blue to match the rich blue colour of the dial and rubber strap.
Lastly, the Breitling Top Time Chevrolet Corvette watch is inspired by the second generation of classic 1960s cars manufactured between 1963 to 1967. The “Sting Ray” took inspiration from a 1959 racing-focused prototype and featured a red and black aesthetic that is echoed in the dial of this Breitling chronograph. The vintage-inspired top Time watch is powered by the Breitling Calibre 25 and precisely measures 1/8th of a second.
Orange and yellow accents can be seen in the tachymeter scale around the edge of the dial, whilst the chronograph sub-counters themselves are filled with a sleek black colour. The 42mm stainless steel Breitling chronograph watch is fitted on a perforated black leather strap and secures to the wrist with a steel folding clasp to finish its sporty 1960s racing car-inspired look.