The new name for the mechanical chronograph
The Watch Quote™ - March 26th, 2009
The Breitling Chronomat B01 watch
The ultimate chronograph
A powerful, unique and quintessential design, masterfully reinterpreted. A selfwinding chronograph movement entirely developed and crafted in the brand workshops. A stunning presence on the wrist distinguished by a blend of strength and elegance. Breitling has created a highly exclusive version of its leading Chronomat model, which is asserting itself more forcefully than ever as the benchmark in the field of mechanical chronographs. Equipped with the very first 100% in-house chronograph movement, the Chronomat B01 majestically heralds Breitling’s grand entrance into the selective circle of genuine watch movement manufacturers. Designed to guarantee maximum precision, reliability and functionality, it represents the culmination of the long-running quest for performance characteristic of Breitling “instruments for professionals”. Crafted with extreme concern for details, this flagship luxury model is bound to delight devotees of fine timepieces born to accomplish great feats.
The mechanical chronograph has a new name
A perfect fuselage
Ideally melding form and function has been Breitling’s consistent goal in developing its “instruments for professionals”. Such is the ever-present challenge brilliantly taken up by the brand designers. In the Chronomat B01, this subtle balance is pushed to a whole new level. Built to guarantee a high degree of sturdiness, watertightness and shock resistance, the case features a new elongated profile that smoothly molds the wrist. The unidirectional rotating bezel – an essential companion in measuring flight or dive times – is adorned with exclusive engraved numerals ensuring excellent readability while endowing the chronograph with an eminently recognizable face. Available in hour-marker or Roman numeral versions, the dials display their information with great clarity in a clever play on colors, materials and depth effects that contributes to enhancing their visibility. The supple, ultra-sporty bracelets are equipped with mobile lugs guaranteeing optimal fit and comfort. Visual pleasure and functionality are thus combined in every detail of the finishing – exactly like a streamlined aircraft fuselage slicing through the air.
An exceptional motor
Endowed with an original and innovative architecture, Caliber B01 embodies all the wealth of experience gained by Breitling in its chronograph stronghold since 1884. The brand undeniably played a major role in the development of this type of instrument. When presenting the first wristworn chronographs in 1915, the founder’s son Gaston Breitling had the ingenious idea of creating a pushpiece to handle the three chronograph functions (start, stop and reset) that would be separate from the crown. This marked the birth of the first independent pushpiece. In 1923, he perfected this system by separating the “start/stop” functions controlled by the pushpiece at 2 o’clock from the “reset” function activated by the crown – a patented innovation that enabled the users to add up several consecutive times without needing to return the hands to zero. In 1934, Willy Breitling, representing the third generation of the family firm, set the finishing touch to the modern face of the chronograph by creating a second independent pushpiece reserved exclusively for resetting. In 1969, the firm rose to one of the greatest 20th
century watchmaking challenges by launching the first selfwinding chronograph movement, the “Chrono-Matic” Caliber 11. The advent of Caliber B01 now marks an historic turning point that sees Breitling join the prestigious ranks of the rare watch companies to possess their very own mechanical chronograph movement. A major accomplishment that is also a springboard towards the future.
An authentic Breitling “wrist instrument”, the Chronomat B01 bears the hallmark of a universe dedicated to performance, personal achievement and excellence. It is tailor-made to withstand the most extreme conditions while never failing to fulfill its mission. Chronometer-certified like all Breitling movements, Caliber B01 has successfully undergone the fifteen days of merciless testing performed by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) – a supreme token of reliability and precision. The oversized hands and hour-markers, accentuated by a luminescent coating, guarantee optimal readability while lending exceptional character to the dial. The sophisticated design of the crown guards as well as the protective pushpiece rings ensures an impregnable defense against impacts and the hazards of daily use. The various control organs – crown, pushpieces and unidirectional rotating bezel – combine comfort and functionality, while meeting the stringent demands of intensive use. The metal bracelets, as well as the leather straps and their buckles, are designed, produced and tested to withstand extreme traction.
The case of the Chronomat B01 is fashioned from steel or 18K gold by a lengthy cold-stamping process consisting in a succession of high-pressure swaging operations that give the metal its peerlessly robust consistency. For its steel components, Breitling uses only highly corrosion-resistant alloys guaranteeing enduring quality and beauty. The crown, pushpieces and screwed-in backs, as well as the highly sophisticated gasket systems, guarantee the Chronomat B01 exceptional water resistance to a depth of 500 meters (1,650 feet/50 bars) – a feat worthy of an authentic professional diver’s watch. The scratch-resistant sapphire crystal is glareproofed on both sides to eliminate any undesirable glinting, whatever the lighting conditions and the angle of vision. Its positioning, slightly recessed below the bezel, ensures enhanced protection against impacts.
Refined aesthetic appeal
From overall design through to the slightest finishing details, the Chronomat B01 reveals a constant concern for aesthetic sophistication that earns it a place of its own within the chronograph world. Few watches successfully marry a technical vocation with such an innate sense of elegance. The subtly designed volumes and proportions of the case are highlighted by a meticulous polishing expressing the full measure of the craftsman’s dexterity. The circle of engraved numerals with their vigorous upstrokes and downstrokes features a depth effect and a matt finish that make a striking contrast with the polished surface of the bezel. The dials with hour-markers or Roman numerals are adorned with an unusual geometric design characterized by a gridwork pattern that is subtly revealed as the light plays over it. They come in a broad choice of refined colors that are matt or metallic, understated or bold, thereby lending each model its unique character. The Pilot bracelet with its slanted-cut polished links adds a particularly dynamic touch on the wrist, while the straps cut from the finest leather strike a resolutely sporting chic note.
The Chronomat B01 is available in four versions: all-steel, steel with a bezel bearing four solid gold quarter-hour markers; steel with a gold bezel, and all-gold. The precious metal comes exclusively in the warm, modern glow of 18K rose gold (4N). The dials are graced with sophisticated details such as diamond-polished hands, finely-turned totalizers and hand-applied numerals and hour-markers. The Roman numerals create an original effect playing with the circles of the totalizers and the square grid-patterned zone. The four applied quarter-hour markers on the bezel feature a convex profile ensuring a silky-smooth feel. Displaying a characteristic flair for detail, Breitling has opted to facilitate handling by slightly “lowering” the upper surface of the bezel on the side where the finger rests when performing the unidirectional rotation.
The true face of luxury
Heir to top-flight expertise and representing a considerable sum of joint efforts, the Chronomat B01 is an authentic luxury object combining performance and craftsmanship; an intensely valuable creation focusing on essence rather than appearance, on efficiency rather than ostentation. Its numerous assets include the exclusivity of a mechanical chronograph movement entirely developed and produced by Breitling in the Breitling Chronométrie workshops in La Chaux-de-Fonds. The supreme distinction of the official COSC chronometer certificate – a much-coveted seal of approval to which only 5% of watches produced in Switzerland can lay claim. The nobility of a 100% Swiss-made timepiece – from case to movement and from dial to bracelet. A unique and highly recognizable design enhanced by the extreme care lavished on its finishing. A production quality proven by over one thousand tests performed throughout the production process and on the finished watch. The excellence of the Breitling customer service guaranteeing consistent attention and maintenance worthy of a high-end timepiece, and throughout the world for decades to come. All converge to make the Chronomat B01 the absolute benchmark for devotees of mechanical chronographs.
Breitling Calibre B01 in house
A movement cut out for greatness
Reliable, sturdy, precise: Caliber B01 ideally embodies the entire philosophy of the Breitling chronograph. Equipped with a column-wheel device, the hallmark of the finest mechanical chronograph movements, it is distinguished by its vertical coupling clutch ensuring perfectly “clean” start-ups with no jump of the hand. Its over 70-hour power reserve – a decidedly user-friendly feature – guarantees steady regularity of rate by optimizing the force of the mainspring. Breitling has also equipped Caliber B01 with resolutely innovative characteristics serving to facilitate both its production and use.
The patented self-centering device for the resetting hammers does away with the need for the traditional correction individually performed by a watchmaker on each movement. The exclusive index-assembly system means the watch rate can be rapidly personalized to suit each owner. Designed to ensure optimal functionality and security in everyday conditions, Caliber B01 has an instant date-change calendar that can be adjusted at any time, with no risk of damaging the movement. The chronograph mechanism has also been built in such a way as to eliminate the risks of impairment due to inappropriate handling. The intelligent architecture of the integrated yet fairly modular movement affords significant advantages in terms of assembly and maintenance.
A revolutionary mode of assembly“Quality produced in series”:
with Caliber B01, the 1940s Breitling motto is expressed in dazzling new style. To guarantee the industrial-scale authentic reliability of its first 100% in-house movement, the firm has chosen to innovate in terms of its production method. The goal is to rationalize production and to entrust machines with all the operations where they guarantee performances far superior to those of the human hand. Inspired by a high-tech concept used in other cutting-edge sectors and adapting it to the field of watchmaking, Breitling has developed an industrial production chain concept that revolutionizes traditional movement assembly.
Each caliber is placed in a “shuttle” and individually monitored by an ultra-sophisticated computer program that automatically directs it towards the appropriate workstation, along a route alternating between fully automated workstations and others requiring manual intervention. All the rating stages are fully integrated within this process, and upon emerging from the chain, each Caliber B01 is ready to face the rigorous COSC tests. Demonstrating a rare degree of mastery, Breitling handles the assembly of the B01’s oscillator, the movement’s regulating organ that guarantees its precision. Moreover, the ultra-modern Breitling Chronométrie building in La Chaux-de-Fonds also houses one of the best-equipped laboratories in the entire watch industry.