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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.