Breitling Comes Out Swinging With The New Premier Chronograph 40
Wow, have things changed at Breitling. A few short years ago, if I told you that reasonably sized, gorgeous manual wind chronographs were on the horizon, would you have believed me? Well, the Premier Chronograph 40 line is here…
My how the worm has turned regarding Breitling. Just several short years ago, the brand seemed intent on producing the biggest most garish watches on the planet. Since that time, bit by bit, the quality releases have just kept coming. Watches like the Premier, the Chronomat, the Aviator 8, and the Superocean Heritage ’57 are just some of the renaissance pieces. Breitling has faithfully grasped its heritage while focusing on finishing that can easily party with other brands in the space. Am I little biased? You bet, but let me explain before we get to the Premier Chronograph 40.
A word before we jump in
It’s hard for me to write an article on a Breitling without mentioning Fred Mandelbaum. He’s a good friend and he’s someone I got to know well before Georges Kern came to Breitling. When it comes to Fred, he bleeds Breitling. His knowledge about the company’s history and his passion for collecting are both impressive and contagious. But, wow, was he depressed about his favorite brand pre-Kern. When Georges arrived and decided to bring Fred aboard in what I’d liken to an enhanced advisory role, we (a group of us vintage bandidos) were all cautiously optimistic. Then, we saw things coming along and were more than hopeful.
Still, when you have a good friend who pumps a lot of effort into something and it doesn’t turn out so well, what do you do? Thankfully, I haven’t been placed in that uncomfortable position yet. Simply put, Breitling is making some great sh*t these days and there’s so much more on the way. Today’s new Premier Chronograph 40 is the latest step and I’m so pleased.
The Breitling Premier Chronograph 40
You’re going to see three articles today with new models from the Premier Heritage Collection. All are gorgeous in my book and deserve real consideration, but we’ll start with the volume leader. The Premier Chronograph 40 is a new line consisting of two pieces at this time. I say that because I am sure we will see additional dial colors and materials as time passes. For now, Breitling is offering a stainless steel model with a wildly different pistachio green dial and an 18K red gold version with silver dial. Both models come on differing shades of 20mm brown alligator straps with folding buckles.
To provide a little context here, Breitling currently offers a Premier chronograph. These however, have all been automatics and in 42mm. The Premier Chronograph 40 loses 2mm and, most importantly, uses a manual wind chronometer grade in-house B09. This movement features 70 hours of power reserve and ticks along at 28,800vph. Functionally, it has a 30 minute counter at 3:00 and running seconds at 9:00.
Heritage vibes with modern touches
There’s no doubt that the Premier Chronograph 40 is a classic chronograph. One could call it a retro piece of sorts because it brings in plenty of cues from ’40s and ’50s Premier models such as the one above (Fred’s of course). However, there are certainly modern touches here. In addition to a chronograph certification, these pieces contain a screw in display back, a very usable 100 meters of water resistance, and a domed sapphire crystal. Also, the syringe hands use white Super-LumiNova. Thickness, if you’re curious, is a reasonable 13.08mm.
Versus their larger automatic siblings, the Premier Chronograph 40 collection features applied Arabic numerals and I think they look wonderful. Breitling opted to keep flat pushers, which lend a dressier look versus the typical round pump style. We’re also told that there’s a lot more work behind reaching 100 meters of water resistance with non round pushers. A historically correct largish crown completes the look on the right side and should make winding a pleasurable and tactile experience. In keeping with the modern Premier theme, the case flanks have striping.
Thoughts on the new Premier Chronograph 40 line
I’ll be very curious to read the comments on the new Premier Chronograph 40 and the rest of the Premier Heritage models — especially after I make the following statements. There are plenty of people who look for classically styled chronographs and there are plenty of options at all price levels. However, when you’re talking about a dressy in-house manual chronograph without crazy complications, there is almost nothing unless you’re willing to consider a new Speedmaster Professional as something dressy. If you add in a wish for stainless steel, forget about it unless you’re able to land something like a Habring. That basically gives these new Breitling models a virtual monopoly in one of my favorite spaces.
It also helps that the Premier Chronograph 40 is drop dead gorgeous. Whether you consider steel or gold, both look spot on to me and I really like the green dial on that medium brown strap. Serious kudos to Breitling for playing with color on the more approachable model and offering a traditional knockout in gold. The little things rock on these models — check the serifs on the word “Chronograph” on the dial for example — and that shows some real attention to detail.
Pricing and availability
The Breitling Premier Chronograph 40 will retail for €7,400 in steel and €16,200 in gold. There’s no doubt about it that these are luxury products, but these are unique right now and, in my view, just beautiful. The other nice thing is that they should arrive in boutiques beginning next week. And just when I thought my wallet would take a breather…
For more information on the Breitling Premier Chronograph 40 line, visit the official site.