It started as soon as I got home from picking this Chronomat B01 up from the Breitling boutique. Both my wife and daughter simultaneously said, “Now that’s a nice watch!” It’s quite different from the “Is that a new watch?” that I usually get when wearing something for review.

Breitling Chronomat B01 42 two-tone blue dial

Breitling Chronomat B01 42

The funny thing is that nearly all the positive comments I received when wearing this steel and rose gold Breitling Chronomat B01 42 came from people outside our watch bubble. I wore this watch during Watches and Wonders, for example, and many frowned upon it (and me), including brand representatives.

Well, forget them! I like the looks of the watch. It brought out my inner 1980s/’90s child in a modern guise. And just like me, the watch got bulkier and better looking. The Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is a very obvious descendant of the 1983 Chronomat designed for the Italian Frecce Tricolori aerobatic team. Blending the words “chronograph” and “automatic,” the civilian version debuted in 1984 to mark Breitling’s 100th anniversary.

The iconic rider tabs, meant to protect the crystal, were prone to getting knocked off. The new bezel has rider tabs that feel much more integrated (but detachable). In addition, this version’s bezel, hour markers, hands, crown, and pushers are made of 18K rose gold. This adds a substantial premium compared to the €8,950 full-steel models. This bicolor version of the Chronomat B01 retails for €13,400.

Going blue!

The Breitling Chronomat B01 is available in 42mm and 44mm cases, with the latter also referred to as the Super Chronomat B01. The larger version uses ceramic for the bezel, pushers, and crown and comes on a rubber Rouleaux strap instead of a bracelet. The 44mm version is not for me, although it does fit my 18cm wrist. The Chronomat B01 42 is suitable as an everyday watch, which I discovered in the past few months while wearing this chronograph. It appears larger than 42mm on the wrist, mainly because the crown guards make it look bigger.

I picked the Chronomat B01 42 version with the blue dial. There’s also a version with a gray/anthracite dial and black sub-dials, which perhaps has a more timeless look, but the blue-dial version speaks to me more. If you go full steel, there are even more colors. Blue and rose gold combine very well, just like green and yellow gold. Certain combinations are just a given.

Breitling Chronomat B01 42 two-tone blue dial close-up

So many details on the Chronomat dial

The dial shows an incredible amount of very welcome details. At 12 o’clock, we find Breitling’s “B” logo, signature, founding year (1884), the word “Chronometer,” and the model name. As you know, a brand can only put “Chronometer” on the dial if the watch’s movement has been officially certified as one. Breitling has famously undergone this certification process for all its calibers for years.

The chronometer-certified B01 movement

I remember the printed watch magazines showing the top 10 brands with the number of chronometer movements they had certified. For a long time, Breitling was right there with Rolex and Omega, leaving a big gap between those three brands and the fourth one (Mido). The Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, or COSC) stopped providing these numbers a while ago. However, Breitling has been getting all its movements certified since 1999, so I assume it is still one of the top three brands in that regard.

Breitling Chronomat B01 42 two-tone blue dial

Let’s get back to the dial and its details. The three recessed sub-dials have an engraved concentric pattern, creating some depth. The gold hour markers are applied and filled with Super-LumiNova. All three small hands have a Super-LumiNova filling as well. The large red chronograph seconds hand has a gold counterweight with the famous Breitling logo. At 6 o’clock is a date aperture with a disc matching the dial color.

On the rehaut, you will find a red decimal scale and a white tachymeter scale on the upper side. The 18K gold bezel has a 60-minute dive scale and can only rotate in one direction for safety. Breitling polished the surface of the bezel, which looks good, but it will quickly show fingerprints (and scratches). The raised rider tabs, of course, add some protection here and display a brushed finish.

The famous Rouleaux bracelet

Part of the fun of this Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is the bullet (“Rouleaux”) bracelet. It’s the bracelet I remember best from watching the Seinfeld TV show in my younger years. In many episodes, Jerry Seinfeld wore a reverse-panda-dial Chronomat on the famous bullet bracelet.

Whereas the old bullet bracelets weren’t the best quality, the new Breitling Rouleaux bracelet seems rock solid. It’s a heavy but comfortable bracelet to wear, and the gold elements give a great contrast to the steel links.

The bracelet also adds significant weight to the watch. The watch head weighs 111.2 grams, and together with the bracelet, it totals nearly 205 grams. As a comparison, it’s heavier than my 1991 gold Rolex Day-Date on its President bracelet and slightly lighter (by about 15 grams) than my all-gold Omega Speedmaster Professional on a bracelet. The Chronomat is certainly chunky, and I’m constantly aware of it on my wrist, but I happen to like that. There’s also a full-titanium version of the Breitling Chronomat B01 42, which weighs considerably less but is still significant at 151.5 grams.

Breitling Chronomat B01 42 two-tone blue dial pocket shot

Is the Chronomat so provocative?

After wearing this Chronomat B01 42 for a while, I’m still wondering why I received so many negative comments from those who are “into” watches and praise from those who are not. Was it due to snobbery toward two-tone watches, the Chronomat, or Breitling in general? Honestly, I didn’t expect to get that kind of feedback; I thought it was reserved for brands like Hublot. The Breitling Chronomat B01 42 in steel and gold is definitely in your face, which might have triggered some people. It’s like pulling up in a Mercedes 560SEC, I guess.

The most important thing for me is that this watch puts a smile on my face every time I put it on my wrist. I also firmly believe this is the only thing that counts when buying a watch, regardless of the brand or model. Within our Fratello team, Ben Hodges bought the full-steel Frecce Tricolore version of this watch, and he often tells me how much he enjoys wearing it.

Some final thoughts on the Chronomat B01 42

Is there something I would have changed about this watch? Well, yes, and it has to do with the bracelet. Although I am a big fan of this bracelet, I wonder why the last few links near the clasp aren’t steel and gold but only steel. Another thing I would have changed is the clasp. It’s a butterfly type that looks very generic and is something I often see on watches that cost much less. With the bracelet closed, it is of no concern. Still, for €13,400, I expect the clasp to be a bit more “custom” than this.

Breitling Chronomat B01 42 two-tone blue dial on wrist

Overall, I had a lot of fun wearing this Chronomat B01 42! Of all the watches I’ve worn, I think this one received the most comments from both those who loved it and those who hated it. I had fun with both types of comments and didn’t bother defending the watch anyway. I’ve learned that, in most cases, discussion is pretty useless, especially concerning taste. I used to have a Breitling Navitimer (a long time ago) and still own an Aerospace E-series, but I think I like this Chronomat best. This will probably rub a lot of diehard Navitimer fans the wrong way, but I think the Chronomat is just as “Breitling” as the Navitimer. The Chronomat is an institution and an iconic 1980s design that can’t be mistaken for anything else.

Lastly, the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is water resistant to 200 meters. It also has a screw-down crown and, as written earlier, a unidirectional bezel with a dive scale. The chart below this article includes all specifications about the watch, including details about Breitling’s in-house caliber B01.

So, what about you? Do you like the Chronomat, or can you not stand it? Let me know in the comments below.

Watch specifications

Chronomat B01 42
Blue with sunburst finish, applied rose gold indices, recessed sub-dials, rose gold hands, and Super-LumiNova
Case Material
Stainless steel with 18K rose gold bezel, crown, and pushers
Case Dimensions
42mm (diameter) × 50.5mm (lug-to-lug) × 15.1mm (thickness)
Case Back
Stainless steel and sapphire crystal, screw-in
Breitling 01: automatic column-wheel chronograph with manual winding, 28,800vph frequency, 70-hour power reserve, 47 jewels, COSC-certified chronometer
Water Resistance
200 meters (20 ATM)
Stainless steel and 18K rose gold Rouleaux bracelet (22/20mm) with butterfly clasp
Time (hours, minutes, small seconds), chronograph (12-hour and 30-minute registers, central seconds), tachymeter, decimal scale, and 60-minute dive bezel
€13,400 (including VAT)