Breitling Chronoliner – Vintage Inspired
Our vintage guy Michael Stockton did a huge item on vintage Breitling watches a while ago (you can find it here) where he discussed these watches in-depth with some world renown subject matter experts.
Having that said, I have no deep knowledge on vintage Breitling watches but this new Breitling Chronoliner clearly shows some influences from their rich heritage. Sure, the limited edition we show you here is in gold but there’s also a stainless steel version with panda-like dial. That model reminded me of one of the watch in the article from Michael Stockton to be honest: a Breitling Unitime AVI 1765 (image below by @WatchFred).
Perhaps the older CP ‘AVI’ reference 765 will remind you as well, but those had 12-hour scales instead of the 24 hour scale like the new Breitling Chronoliner.
But let’s make no assumptions here, at least not by me. The Breitling Chronoliner is a modern watch, both in gold and in stainless steel.
The Breitling Chronoliner limited editon (250 pieces only) is a big watch, with a diameter of 46mm. That alone makes a world of difference with most vintage Breitlings from yesteryear. Most Breitling watches are big, as they are supposed to since they are being regarded as real tool watches for professional divers and pilots.
The 18 carat red gold version that we are showing you here, Breitling Chronoliner reference R2431212, comes with a black ceramic bezel with 24-hour scale in gold. The use of ceramic for bezels really start to take of with most big brands, as this will ensure a longer life-time of the bezel and gives it a nice and fresh look & feel. Rolex and Omega are probably the biggest competitors for this aviator brand from Grenchen in Switzerland, and those also use ceramics for their watches these days. The bezel is often the first part that get hit (also from my own experience), so it makes sense to make them scratch-resistant.
The Breitling caliber 24 is based on the ETA / Valjoux 7754, which defined the lay-out of the dial as well, with sub dials on 12, 6 and 9 o’clock. Besides a reliable chronograph and a date, this movement also offers a second hour indicator (24 hour indicator) that can be adjusted separately.
The dial is a stunner on this Breitling Chronoliner, with gold accents and printing as well as 7 gold hands in total. Another nice detail is the date window, Breitling decided wisely to use a black date disc and white printing, but they also printed a matching gold frame around the date aperture. Just like the vintage Unitime AVI ref. 1765 you will find – besides a bezel with 24 hour scale – another 24 hour scale on the dial itself.
This movement, used by a number of other brands as well, is a solid and reliable workhorse. Breitling ensures all of their movements (quartz and mechanical) are chronometer certified by the Swiss COSC organization. Only movements that are certified by this organization are allowed the bear the text ‘chronometer’ on the dial. In order to meet the requirements from the COSC, the movement (not the watch!) is tested for 16 days in 5 different positions at three different temperatures (8°C, 23°C, 38°C). In the end, the result needs to be an average daily deviation within -4 and +6 seconds (for quartz chronometers these requirements are different of course). The caliber 24 movement in the Breitling Chronoliner is chronometer certified as well of course. An interesting note is that Breitling is the no.3 brand with most chronometer certified watches (both quartz and mechanical). No.1 is Rolex and No.2 is Omega on this list. Once in a while these overviews are published, like on the website of our colleague Alexander Linz from Watch-Insider.
The 18 carat red gold caseback is solid, there is no sapphire crystal that allows you to admire the mechanical movement. Instead, Breitling chose to put on a solid caseback with a beautiful relief logo on there. To be honest, I don’t mind solid gold casebacks myself. Perhaps I even prefer this over a sapphire crystal caseback as I think that’s only interesting when a movement is either hand-wound or has a beautiful visible complication or stunning (hand)finishing and engraving. Not wanting to sound snobbish here, but the Breitling caliber 24 is a workhorse and not per definition a movement that will wow you when looking at it.
On the caseback, around the relief logo, Breitling made sure you know that this watch is a chronometer certified chronograph and water resistant to 100 meters (~ 10 ATM). As this is a limited edition of 250 pieces only, the unique number is engraved as well. I like this better than the ‘One of 250’ method of showing it is a limited edition. That particular method (often seen with some Richemont brands, the reason given is that they prevent ‘fights’ over specific numbers this way) is a bit tricky, as you are never sure whether there are more than 250 pieces if a model is really successful or that that they just made 100 and stopped after they realized it didn’t sell. Besides that, it is much cooler to have your own unique number.
The Breitling Chronoliner comes on a beautiful rubber strap (Rubber Aero Classic Black, officially) and a red gold folding clasp.
This Breitling Chronoliner does not come cheap, with a retail price of €28.760 Euro. This, in combination with the limited number of 25o pieces only, will keep it very exclusive for sure.
If you love the Breitling Chronoliner but don’t like gold or simply don’t have the budget for that one, you can also have a look at the stainless steel version that Breitling introduced earlier. The Breitling Chronoliner in stainless steel as pictured below has a friendlier price tag of €6.840 Euro. This watch is also available with the optional Navitimer bracelet, which will set you back €7.600 Euro.
The specifications of the stainless steel Breitling Chronoliner (ref. Y2431012) are identical to the 18 carat red gold version, except for the used materials and color scheme of course. The dimensions and movement specifications are the same.
More information via Breitling.
Ever since he was a young child, Robert-Jan was drawn to watches, even though it were digital Casio and quartz Swatch models at the time. In the mid-1990s, his interest increased when he started to read about mechanical watches in... read more