Burdeen’s Jewelry rolls out brand new website

Burdeens New Site rolls  out

After months of hard work, Burdeen’s Jewelry rolls out a new site

Change is in the air at Burdeen’s Jewelry. One thing that we’ve never been afraid of here is moving forward. What we are afraid of is standing still. Matt Burdeen has always wanted to constantly be at the razor’s edge of technology with Burdeen’s advertising, the best watch brands; never fearing replacing some of our lower performing brands to keep up with the best, not only in Chicagoland; not only in Illinois, but in the rest of the United States as well.

Now that we have seven Swiss and German luxury watch brands gracing our cases, we felt that we needed to showcase them online in a way that was worthy of their presence – with a brand new website. That’s why we’ve launched the fifth iteration of Burdeen’s Jewelry website.

This new site gives our Chicago area customers better mobile usability, faster load times, greater stability, as well as a more attractive interface. Late last year, we successfully launched an ecommerce site at shop.burdeens.com for our preowned watch collection. Now, to follow up that effort, we have revamped our burdeens.com site with a completely new site that has every piece of jewelry and every watch for all of our seven brands.

Unlike other stores, we made a concerted effort to include true photos from our store so people who don’t live in the Chicago area could at least get a taste of the Burdeen’s luxury experience.

Whether you’re looking for a new Breitling or Omega; A. Lange & Söhne, IWC or Jaeger-LeCoultre, you can find it right here at burdeens.com. Plus, we are consistently revamping the selection of jewelry on the site with photos from our advertising, photos from the store and more.

Burdeen's Jewelry Addition Plans

Burdeen’s Addition should be completed by Q4 2017.

We’re not closed to finished in 2017

At Burdeen’s Jewelry, we’re not done with just a couple of websites. With all of the digital properties up and running like champions in 2017, we wanted the store to follow suit. If you’ve dropped by the store in the last three years, you may know that we’re in our own 6,000 square foot standalone building. Well, guess what, we’re about to outgrow this location as well.

In less than a month, we’re about to break ground on a 3,000-square foot addition that will house even more preowned watches, estate jewelry and more for our loyal Chicagoland clientele to ensure that Burdeen’s Jewelry can keep serving Chicago, and the rest of the state that we love – Illinois.

Come on in and see us anytime and see how our expansion is doing. In the meantime, check out our new website and tell us how you like it, what you don’t and how we can improve. After all, serving you is our main concern.

For more information, call us at 800-656-0414 or visit our showroom located at 1151 West Lake Cook Road in Buffalo Grove.

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Chicago Cubs set to have 108 diamonds in World Series Ring

NOT the real ring

NOT the real ring

With hell freezing over last year and the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series, there is one thing that has caught our attention: the championship ring. As proud members of the Chicagoland community, and of course, Jewelers, we are very interested in seeing the Cubs’ 2016 Championship ring that’s set to be unveiled tonight during the pregame ceremony.

There is one major aspect that’s set in stone: there will be 108 diamonds in each ring – one for each year in the Chicago Cubs’ historic World Series drought. Who spilled the beans on that design aspect? Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward. While the true ring design has yet to be unveiled, that hasn’t stopped many sports memorabilia companies from taking a crack at it.

While we wouldn’t trounce on such a historic event, we are proud of our North Siders who ended over a century of futility less than six months ago. Let’s make it two and we can’t wait to see the ring!

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Why go with an Authorized Dealer vs. Gray Market?

AD vs. Gray

Why should you pay more for a watch from an Authorized Dealer like Burdeen’s Jewelry? It turns out – more reasons than you think!

As an Authorized Dealer for six of the biggest watch brands in the world, one of the biggest questions that we get asked is why should you pay more to buy a watch from an Authorized Dealer as opposed to a Gray Market site? If you’re into watches, you probably know their names and their unbeatable prices, but as with anything that’s a bit too good to be true, you’ve undoubtedly wondered how they can get to those prices.

Well, as an Authorized Dealer, we have to adhere to certain standards in order to sell these beautiful items. We train our staff to give our clients like you the best possible experience in our store that we possibly can. While that may not affect our online clients, we work hard to train everyone in our store to adhere to the exacting standards of Breitling, IWC, Omega, Ulysse Nardin and the rest of our brands.

We have a rapport with all of our clients that has kept many of them coming back for years or even decades.

True, Blue Warranty

Now, you may think, “I don’t care about the in-store experience – it’s all about the dollars and cents.” Well, with an Authorized Dealer, you get the peace of mind of a Full Factory Warranty. While Gray Market Sites may have a warranty – read the fine print. They have their own warranty – not the factory’s.

If they do carry a warranty, typically, a Gray Market warranty means a shorter duration than a Factory Warranty and if there’s a problem, when you send your watch in for repairs, it’s going to go to an in-house watchmaker, not to the brand’s actual watchmakers. Plus, you may have to jump through hoops like an activation window that renders the warranty null and void that’s just not existent with a factory warranty.

Brand Swag

One of the fun perks of getting a watch from an Authorized Dealer is the swag that comes with it. These items include hats, luxury pens, branded luggage, clothing, watch winders, travel cases, and more.  Then, as time goes on, and more Breitlings pile on, the gifts get bigger and bigger. While pens and hats may not seem like a lot compared to the thousands of dollars for a brand new Swiss watch, it’s a fun little perk that you just don’t get with Gray Market watches.

In-House vs. Factory Watchmakers

In-house watchmakers are plenty capable of maintenance and standard repairs, but you’ll never know if legitimate parts were used on your watch. We go to great lengths to ensure that we have the correct parts go to each and every watch and no short cuts are taken. After all, Authorized Dealers’ watchmakers have better access to parts. As an AD for Ulysse Nardin, UN will ship us parts for installation in a customer’s timepiece. Meanwhile, a gray market dealer will have to “back channel” any new parts or they may block the order altogether forcing the watchmaker to go with non-factory parts.

So, while you may save money upfront on the watch, if there’s an issue on the watch, you may lose it all. Plus, if you collect – and believe us – once you start down the path, you can’t stop – you may end up ahead on one watch only to lose that advantage on a repair on the next one – especially if it has a complicated movement.

Check before buying

As with the warranty, always read the fine print with a gray market dealer. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. We recently encountered a gray market Ulysse Nardin that was touting itself as a brand new watch, but when we checked the serial number, was actually a preowned watch. A client would have had no way of knowing that, but as a UN Authorized Dealer, it was a computer search away.

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Next generation alloys ‘steel’ the show at Swiss watch brands


There’s much more to the watch game than dials and movements. Before a watch even gets designed, metallic and ceramic alloys must be created. Many of these alloys are created just for the watch brands that enthusiasts like you and I love.

So let’s take a look at the alloys that some of the most iconic brands in the world use. From steels to ceramics to even golds and diamonds, we swear you’ll be surprised at the work that goes into the materials in Swiss watches.


Breitling lives up to its aviation history – right down to its alloys

Breitling makes its steel watches out of 316L antimagnetic stainless steel. So, just what do all of these numbers mean?

Grade 316 is known as Marine Grade stainless steel. The “L” part is known to exhibit better corrosion resistance and stronger to higher temps. This is what makes 316L steel perfect for Breitling. The brand’s known for its roots in aviation, so temperature resistance is an excellent attribute. Plus, high corrosion resistance is an excellent alloy attribute for any watchmaker, regardless of the price point.

This alloy’s corrosion resistance is so high that it’s resistant to even several types of acid including the ones you dealt with in high school including: hydrocholoric, sulfuric and acetic acid. This type of resistance is exactly the type of strength that made this metal so attractive to Breitling.

“If you play your cards right, you can engineer any attribute into your alloy – strength, corrosion resistance, high temperature strength – anything,” Kevin Christie CEO of a components company who engineers custom alloys for clients said. “Seeing corrosion resistance brought to the forefront of a high-end watch does not surprise me one bit.”

Stainless steel isn’t the only game in town for Breitling. Its titanium watches are made from Grade 2 Titanium. What separates Grade 2 from the other types of Grades? Unalloyed titanium is rated into Four Different Grades.

While Grade 4 is considered the highest strength, Grade 2, is used for, you guessed it, Aircrafts. In other words, it’s perfect for Breitling’s uses. Just like Grade 316L Stainless, it’s also corrosion resistant, making this titanium perfect for watches.

Rolex steels the alloy game

While Burdeen’s isn’t an Authorized Dealer for Rolex, we’d be remised if we didn’t mention the largest Swiss watch manufacturer in the world. Rolex created its own alloy called 904L Stainless Steel. It’s an aerospace grade steel that’s non-magnetic and resistant to corrosion just like Breitling’s Grade 316L. Rolex has made a big deal out of using this metal due to its purity. It actually has just .02% Carbon while 316L Steel that Breitling uses has .03%. It may not sound like much, but if you were to read some Rolex marketing material, it would probably turn that .02% to .03% change to “50% more” and it would be technically correct.

In addition to steel, Rolex uses 950 platinum alloy. This is considered a high grade platinum alloy because it has an impressive 95% purity. Kudos to Rolex. Finally, one of its crowning achievements is the creation of Cerachom ceramic bezels. Unveiled in 2005 and slowly rolled out in the GMT Master II lineup, it has made Rolex was able to combine ceramic and stainless steel – making its bezels virtually scratchproof, corrosion resistant, and resistant to fading. Now, all of its watches have ceramic bezels with Cerachom ceramic bezels.


Omega Ceragold Alloy marries gold & ceramics

Similar to Cerachom, but with a more ‘brilliant’ base than stainless steel, Omega created a ceramic and gold alloy called ‘Ceragold.’ Rather than bonding stainless steel and ceramic like Cerachom, the process of creating Ceragold bonds 18K gold and ceramic. But, the end result is much the same: it allows gold and ceramic bezels that are scratch resistant and smoother to the touch.

You may be thinking, “My gold jewelry is plenty smooth!” Yes, but Omega wanted a perfectly smooth transition from the ceramic of its standard bezel to the gold numbers and back. Omega’s metallurgists were worried that there would be an abrupt change in feel from the numbers and the rest of the bezel, making for an unsatisfying wearing experience. After much work, Omega got where they wanted and the unique Ceragold alloy was born.

Ulysse Nardin Dimonsil takes the pressure

If Rolex was able to combine ceramic and steel and Omega has combined gold and ceramic, Ulysse Nardin may have topped them all with its proprietary Dimonsil alloy. Many brands have been moving to silicon watch parts for the last decade or so, but UN’s Dimonsil is extremely interesting because the escapement of its Caliber UN-118 is made from a synthetic diamond grown on a silicon base.

Like other synthetic diamonds, UN and its partner, Swiss firm Sigatic, place the silicon under intense pressure, creating the diamonds much like carbon gets placed under intense pressure in nature to make real diamonds.

So while gold is plenty brilliant, as they say, diamonds are forever.

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Baselworld: Where’s Ulysse Nardin?


During our Baselworld coverage of our brands this year, you may have been wondering about one thing: where’s Ulysse Nardin? As one of our most innovative brands, they typically make their presence known at both SIHH and/or Baselworld every year.

While Breitling and Omega made big splashes at this year’s Baselworld, Ulysse Nardin stood pat with what they did for SIHH. Nevertheless, it doesn’t make 2017 any less eventful for UN. While the Marine Regatta is an interesting watch with its UN-155 movement and countdown mechanism, one Ulysse Nardin in particular blew away viewers at SIHH, and by extension, this year’s Baselworld.


UN’s Marine Tourbillon was the talk of SIHH, not necessarily due to the use of earth-shattering materials or even the first-time application of a tourbillon. Yes, tourbillons are always interesting, yes they are always exotic, but this one is like every other tourbillon on every other Swiss watch. The most interesting part about this particular tourbillon is the fact that you can knock a zero off the price of this tourbillon – and you’re still getting the brand prestige of Ulysse Nardin.

Real tourbillon, fake price? 

This isn’t some Chinese tourbillon – this is the real deal. This is Ulysse Nardin – and you’re still getting a spectacular watch that may have cost $100,000-plus a few years ago for less than $30,000 now. Much in the same way that Tag Heuer rolled out its own budget tourbillon with the Carrera Heuer-02T, UN and Tag have suddenly made tourbillons relatively accessible to ‘normal’ Swiss watch collectors. However, unlike Tag, UN has a much higher brand prestige to stand on. At $28,000, the Marine Tourbillon is roughly a tenth of what Swiss tourbillons have traditionally cost.

While the Tag undercuts the UN by a good $8,000, we’d wager that the change from a Tag Heuer to a Ulysse Nardin as well as the change from sporty to classic design might be enough to sway buyers to open their wallet to get the Marine Tourbillon.

Regardless of their choice, most Swiss watch collectors will also have the ‘good old days’ of 2016 in the backs of their minds when tourbillons cost in the six-figure range and having one cost less than $30,000 (or even $20,000) was a mere dream.

So, when Ulysse Nardin was relatively quiet at 2017’s Basel, they still cast a big shadow thanks to their big cast of watches from SIHH. At Burdeen’s Jewelry, we’re just glad that we were here to see it, and we’re glad that we’ll see these UN beauties in our store.

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Baselworld Day One: Updated Superocean, Navitimer from Breitling

Breitling Baselworld Watches Header

Breitling made a splash at this year’s Baselworld with the all-new Navitimer Rattrapante, Colt Skyracer with its Breitlight case & low price point; redesigned Ceramic Superocean Heritage and a slew of Chronomats including this Blacksteel with a yellow face.

The more things change, the more they stay the same for Breitling at Baselworld. Much like other Swiss watch brands, Breitling came out with multiple updates for their best-selling lines including the Navitimer, Colt, Chronomat, and Superocean Heritage. Breitling went beyond the addition of a couple of new colored dials and fonts (we’re looking at you, Rolex) Breitling made some meaningful changes of their lines.

Subtle, but massive alterations

Speaking of Rolex, Breitling followed the biggest luxury brand’s lead with its Superocean Heritage line. A layman probably wouldn’t be able to see any differences between the outgoing Heritages and the all-new lines. But, if you’re an enthusiast, or, if you’re an owner, the new one is simply a better watch all-around. Why? Well, it all starts at the bezel.

Swiss watch brands from Rolex to Omega to Breitling to Chanel have been migrating away from stainless steel to ceramic for their bezels for one reason: they don’t scratch. Titanium watches were all the rage in the 00′s, but owners quickly found out the hard way that even though titanium is one of the hardest (and most durable) metals known to man, it scratches easily when subjected to the rigors of being placed on the wrist.

Breitling Superocean Heritage

Breitling’s all-new Superocean Heritage has several new features including a more durable ceramic bezel, new movement and a new color.

This all-new Heritage will sport an all-new ceramic bezel starting with one of three colors for both the 42mm and 46mm sizes: Volcano Black, Gun Blue and Copperhead Bronze. While black and blue have long been a staple for this watch, bronze is a newcomer for the Heritage line. As one of the volume lines for Breitling, it certainly made a big splash at this year’s Baselworld.

Navitimer will not be forgotten 

As always, Breitling had its fair share of Navitimers on-hand for Basel but the big story was the Rattrapante. With its all-new in-house B03 movement and its split-seconds chronograph, this Navi is sure to be a classic. While Breitling has had split-seconds chronos before, this is the first time the brand has used its own movement.

Like the Superocean, the new Rattrapante went with bronze as its all-new color. The new watch is available in both stainless steel as well as a Limited Edition gold version. Whichever you choose, this will be an excellent watch for collectors and newcomers to Breitling, alike.

Baselworld Navitimers

Navitimer Rattrapante & this all-black Navitimer 01 were the stars of the show at Baselworld

Sure, the Rattrapante got all of the press for Basel, but believe it or not, it wasn’t the only Navi that Breitling brought to the show. Breitling created an absolutely stunning black dialed version of its Navitimer 01 that recalled its recent Panamerican Black and Navitimer 1884 Limited Editions with their black dial, black subdials and black slide rule. If you ever wanted a “murdered out “Navitimer,” then this is about your fifth shot at it. But, to be fair, this is your first shot at an actual black dialed 01 – not one with a gray dial (like the Stratos Gray); not one with a heavily-modified Valjoux movement (like the Navitimer 1884) or one with two subdials and a black case (like the Black steel).

So, yes, black cases and dials may be a thing for Breitling, but it seems they’re not getting off of that train anytime soon. And, this 01 is plenty different from similar watches to blaze its own trail.

Blazing new trails for Breitling

One of the more under-reported stories to come out of Basel was the fact that Breitling is trying to blaze new trails with its new entry level watch: the Colt Skyracer. Made from Breitlight and paired with a Superquartz movement and a rubber strap, this watch has a retail price of just $2,000.

We believe that this may be Breitling’s stab at capturing the ever-elusive Millenial market. While other Swiss watch brands are trying to wow them by effectively copying the Apple Watch (looking at you, Tag Heuer), Breitling is moving in a different direction: realizing the product that they make is essentially men’s luxury jewelry and instead of fighting a losing battle against Apple, they are making their product affordable for new luxury buyers who are moving beyond the smartwatches and just entering the high end watch market.

Now, with the Breitlight material, Breitling is now capable of creating an affordable watch that will appeal to a new demographic that will grow up with the brand and eventually grow into more prestigious lines as they earn more money.

Tell us what you think about Breitling’s Baselworld choices by emailing us at dan@burdeens.com.

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Pre-Baselworld 2017: Omega Rumors – Reincarnated Railmaster

Reincarnated Omega Railmaster

With Baselworld so close, we can’t get it off of our mind even after covering our Breitling desires, so we’ll just push forward with another one of our brands. Now, keep in mind that even as an Authorized Dealer, our brands don’t tell us anything about what’s about to come out in their big shows. Whether it’s SIHH or Baselworld, we’re just as in the dark as you are.

While Omega did give us a pre-Basel appetizer in the form of the Speedmaster Moonwatch Automatic Master Chronometer, complete with its Caliber 9900 movement, we highly doubt that Omega is done there.

Why? Because Omega just released the following teaser video via Facebook:


Railmaster 1

As you can see from our screenshot, the movement is a Co-Axial 8806. This movement was previously used on the Omega Speedmaster ’57 60th Anniversary Limited Edition. Like many Omega’s Aqua Terra 15,000 Gauss, the 8806 is resistant to magnetic fields up 15,000 gauss, putting Rolex’s famed Milgauss and its 1,000 Gauss protection to shame – and Omega doesn’t even brag about it.

So, what do we think this all new watch will be?

Given the train sound effects, the lack of a date or any other complications as well as the pointy hands teased in this video, we believe this watch will be a reincarnation of the Omega Railmaster. If you’ll remember, this watch was discontinued in the beginning of the decade when Omega was still using ETA movements as opposed to in-house movements. After the watch was discontinued, the Aqua Terra took its place with in-house movements as a suitable dress watch in Omega’s Seamaster lineup.

Railmaster 3

Why reincarnate the Railmaster name?

So why bring it back? As Omega has been moving steadily up-market for the last decade or so, it has almost left Omega-philes that loved the brand and could afford it before behind. While in-house movements are a great thing, other brands such as Rolex (with its Oyster Perpetual 39 No-Date); Breitling with its soon-to-be-released Breitlight Avenger are all rolling out or finding success with entry level models that are low on complications and price, but high on character. Omega has no such entry level watch beyond standard Seamaster and the aggressive Speedmaster Racing.

We believe that this move is due to a market that confounds the Swiss watch market: Millenials. While Tag Heuer has rolled out a smartwatch to draw in Millenials with help from Google, Omega, Rolex and Breitling are all taking a different approach: realizing that high end watches are no longer high end timekeeping devices, but high end jewelry. In order to snare a younger audience, you must make these pieces semi-affordable for an audience that’s only starting to earn money.

That’s where the reincarnated Railmaster comes in. Kudos to you, Omega. Of course, this may all be conjecture and this may not be a Railmaster after all. Or Omega could just be remaking this watch because the Railmaster has become a cult classic in just over a decade and the company has simply decided to take advantage of the excitement the watch organically created. Whatever the reason, we hope it becomes a smashing success.

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Pre-Baselworld 2017: Breitling Hopes & Desires


Another year, another Baselworld. Even as a Breitling Authorized Dealer, we’re never too sure what’s coming around the corner for our oldest brand. Now, there are a few definites heading into the 2017 Baselworld for Breitling: 1. There will be a 46mm Navitimer 01. 2. Breitling is rolling out a Breitlight version of the Colt Skyracer – and word around is that it will be one of the most inexpensive watches in the Bretiling lineup.

Why are these pieces of news so important? Well, the 01’s new size is important because this 46mm version of the Navi marries the best Navitimer with the watch’s most attractive size – how could this possibly go wrong? As for the Breitlight Skyracer, this watch may be the entry level watch that Breitling has been looking for – perfect for young people looking to get into the Swiss watch collecting hobby. As more people look at watches just for the decoration and not for timekeeping, watches like the new Skyracer are essential in a watchmaker’s lineup.

Beyond the Navitimer and Skyracer, we’re unsure what else is coming down the Breitling pipeline. But, if we were in control, there are a few ‘colorful’ things that we might try at one of our favorite brands.

We would be so excited if Breitling would make a Navitimer 01 Blacksteel & Super Avenger II Blacksteel - with a Blacksteel bracelt.

We would be so excited if Breitling would make a Navitimer 01 Blacksteel & Super Avenger II Blacksteel – with a Blacksteel bracelt.


What do we want? More colors! Breitling has made its name by offering choice upon delivery and recently they’ve made an effort to ‘Black Steel’ almost every watch in their lineup. But maybe they haven’t quite gone far enough. While Black Steel Cases are a welcome respite from your average polished Breitling case, we would love to see a Black Steel version of every bracelet. Some wearers would rather have bracelets than croc, leather or rubber strap and keeping the ‘murdered’ out look would be spectacular in 2017 and beyond.

Thus far, Breitling has offered just a black rubber variant of its Ocean Classic bracelet. We want the real deal for every black watch that offers the Ocean classic. Black Transocean? You get a Blacksteel Ocean Classic! Chronoliner? Transocean? Everybody gets a Blacksteel Ocean Classic!

Like we said, what sets Breitling apart from other high end watch brands is not necessarily the in-house 01 Movement; it’s not the fact that they get their movements certified – it’s the fact that you get to customize your watch right from the get-go.

We believe there's room in Breitling's Superocean lineup for more colors. Make it happen!

We believe there’s room in Breitling’s Superocean lineup for more colors. Make it happen!

‘Diving’ in head-first

That said, Blacksteel isn’t the only color that we want. Omega made a fortune on its Planet Ocean lineup by offering just about every color. We would love to see the same thing in it Superocean and Superocean Heritage diver lineups. While the Superocean Heritage lineup has a nice amount of choices with green, blue, black and gold, we believe that Breitling would hit it out of the park with even more choices.

While the Superoceans are extremely handsome in their own right, there should be rainbow of colors to choose from – especially with the Superocean II. With its polished case, it is attention-grabbing to say the least, but the bezel only comes in a few colors – gray, black, white and blue. While there is a red version of the watch, it comes with red subdials while the bezel stays in the same old black. We think this should change and Baselworld 2017 is the perfect chance to make a ‘splash’ with Breitling’s impressive line of divers.

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UN’s all-new Classic Sonata marries beautiful music & attainable price


If only every alarm sounded this nice – perhaps we wouldn’t ever have been late to class! Ulysse Nardin’s redesigned Classic Sonata marries the classical styling and quality craftsmanship that UN is known for with a far more pleasing ‘cathedral chime’ than the chime from previous Classic Sonatas.

Beyond the sound, previous Sonatas had dials that were far busier than this current model. UN has found the beauty in simplicity with this watch. This one, better known as Reference 672-05/92 features a clean white or black 44mm dial with a stainless steel or rose gold case. The model that we got to play with was the stainless model with a white dial.

Driven by their in-house UN-67 automatic movement, this watch is an amazing piece of craftsmanship. The movement features a silicon escapement, hairspring and other innovative features that aren’t found on other high-end timepieces. Left alone, the watch will keep itself powered for 42 hours.

Out with buzz, in with the chime

One of the best features of the Classic Sonata is its all-new alarm. While previous UN Classic Sonatas featured a buzzing alarm, this model features a pleasant “cathedral gong” system. We made a video of the chiming sound so you can get the full effect:

As you can see, it is a much nicer sound than any buzz and it would be something that any watch enthusiast would want to show off. That said, getting the watch to chime the first time can be somewhat frustrating as you must set the alarm and wind up the alarm to full power. That said, changing time zones is incredibly easy. Time zones can change both forward and backwards with the push of a button.

Luckily, you also get the benefit of a display back, so you get the full benefit of seeing the beautiful movement. If you love chiming watches, or even just high-complication watches, then you’ll love the Classic Sonata.

If you want to take a look at it, we’ve got a stainless steel Sonata right here at Burdeen’s Jewelry. Give us a call at 800-656-0414.


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Navitimer 1884: Heart of a Champion

Navitimer 1884

These days, your eyes can be deceiving. At first glance, the Breitling Navitimer 1884 is just another Navitimer. In fact, a quick look might have you mistake this watch for the 01 Blacksteel or Stratos Gray variants. Another look might show the subdials at 12, 9 and 6 o’clock; telling you that it’s related to the less expensive Navitimer World and not one of the 01’s with their in-house movements.

However, upon closer inspection, the 1884 will yield plenty of surprises beyond its use of an off-the-shelf ETA Valjoux 7751 movement. Called the Breitling B21, the base movement might be common, but what a movement it is! Not only is this watch a Certified Chronometer (like all Breitlings), but features a slew of complications that simply aren’t found on most other timepieces.

Navitimer 1884

The Navitimer 1884 features an incredible amount of complications not seen on a Navi since the Navitimer 1461

Complications Galore

What do we mean by that? Well, the 1884 features not only the standard Navitimer chronograph and slide rule, but also Day, Date, Month & 24-Hour complications. The 24-hour clock is the subdial at 9 o’clock; the day and month are in the 12 o’clock subdial and the date is denoted by the crescent moon.

If you love complications, then this is the Navitimer to get over even the 01 variants. Minus a moonphase, this watch is one of the most sophisticated watches in the Breitling lineup and we might eve get this over the brand new 46 mm Navitimer 01. Why? Well, barring a leap-year, you won’t have to set this watch for three years if you keep it charged. Plus, this watch’s production is Limited to 1,884 (get it?) pieces worldwide with each piece numbered on the back of the case to commemorate Breitling’s founding in 1884.

Close to, but not perfect

We found that one of the most difficult aspects to get used to on the watch is the crescent moon date as well as the use of a separate tool to set the day function. While this practice is standard operating procedure on Swiss watches with complications beyond GMTs and chronographs, it is a bit of a pain to fish out a separate tool to set the day-date – and can be a bigger hassle if you have a multi-watch rotation or if you’re afraid that you’re going to lose the tool.

It’s 46 mm, but due to the shorter hands, wears somewhat larger than its brethren. Thanks to its black dial and short hands, it creates an optical illusion that makes the watch look more like the 48 mm Navitimer 01 GMT than the 46 mm Navitimer World that it shares a movement and measurement with.

This watch is truly one-of-a-kind – not only in the Breitling lineup, but in the Swiss watch world in general. While we got to wear it in the crocodile strap variants, the watch is also available with a rubber strap and Navitimer steel bracelet. Regardless of what you choose, this watch would be a welcome addition to any collector’s watch box – but you better hurry up, because given the limited production, there won’t be many left. But, lucky for you, we actually have in stock.

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