The Fast And The Fratelli: Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Versus Tudor Black Bay Chrono
Is there such a thing as a fair contest? When I started writing this article, that was the first question that popped into my mind. But then again, should a contest be fair? Of course not! The question arose most likely because I am slightly biased when it comes to my two contestants. But The Fast And The Fratelli is all about you, determining our readers’ favorite chronographs. So we will see how “fair” this match-up between the Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 and the Tudor Black Bay Chrono turns out to be. I have faith in you, Fratelli! Get ready to put the pedal to the metal!
Before we get into this contest, let’s remind ourselves what we are looking for. You, the Fratelli, will vote to decide the best racing chronograph of the past ten years. To make the grid, all watches need to track elapsed time for at least one minute. They also require a tachymeter scale. The competing watches must have been released in the last ten years, and they must be mechanical. That means limited editions are not excluded, and there is no price limit. On the track, anything goes in terms of availability, price, and style! My two contestants, although both vintage-inspired, represent completely different eras in chronograph design. The first represents the classic, refined style of 1940s and ’50s. The second epitomizes the sporty, modern style of the 1960s and ’70s. In today’s race, opposites collide. Only you can decide who’ll walk away from the wreckage!
The Fast And The Fratelli — Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40
The Breitling Premier name has a special place in my heart. The first Premier models were introduced in the late 1930s, and the Premier models from the ’40s and ’50s are some of the best that Breitling ever created. With iconic designs and legendary Venus chronograph movements, they are great statements of that era and are among my favorite chronograph watches ever produced. I especially love the Premier ref. 765 and ref. 788. The ref. 788 was my pick in the Buying Guide article about the best Breitling watches from the 1950s. It’s great to see that the Premier name is still part of the Breitling collection 70-80 years later.
For a long time, the modern Premier that I thought perfectly captured the spirit of those classical chronographs was the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Norton Edition from 2019. The color configuration of the dial in combination with the strap and the addition of the Arabic numerals worked magic for me. It still looks amazing! But there were two big downsides to it that did not make me run to the nearest Breitling boutique. At 42mm, I think it’s too big. And there are quite a few Breitling enthusiasts who share that overall sentiment when it comes to the Premier B01 models. Additionally, I don’t like the Norton image on the case back. Knowing that Norton went bankrupt not too long after the release of the watch leaves an even more bitter taste in my mouth every time I see it.
Tone it down a bit for maximum impact
The overall sentiment that modern Breitling Premier chronographs are too big was blown out of the water when the brand introduced its new Premier models earlier this year. The one model that most of us at Fratello were talking about was the Premier B09 40 Chronograph. Finally, there’s a Premier chronograph with a 40mm case. On top of that, it comes equipped with the in-house-developed, chronometer-grade, manual-winding B09 movement. The movement operates at 28,800vph and features 70 hours of power reserve. Functionally, it has a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock and running seconds at 9 o’clock. Not unimportantly, it also gets rid of the date at 6 o’clock. It’s another win that improves that two-register layout and revives the spirit of the Breitling Premier ref. 790 from the mid-1940s.
If the smaller case size and the movement were not enough to make the hearts of chronograph lovers beat faster, there is also that stunning pistachio green dial! The version in red gold with the silver dial, which was also introduced this year, does look amazing, I must say. But we are timing races here standing next to the track, not sipping champagne in the VIP lounge. In our case, steel is the way to go. The choice of this unique color combined with the brown alligator strap makes this Premier B09 Chronograph look stunning. In combination with the case size and the movement, it makes this one of the best new chronograph releases currently available.
The Fast And The Fratelli — Tudor Black Bay Chrono
As I mentioned in the intro, our second contestant is also taking inspiration from the great chronographs from the past. Or, should I say, one great chronograph from the past. The two Tudor Black Bay Chrono models introduced earlier this year take inspiration from the iconic, manual-winding Rolex Daytona. More specifically, the Rolex Daytona ref. 6263 seems to have been an inspiration for the new colorways of the Tudor Black Bay Chrono models. But Tudor wouldn’t be Tudor if the brand didn’t put its own spin on the design and layout of its new chronographs. I must say, when we got both the black and white-dial versions in the office, I was impressed by how instantly comfortable these two chronographs felt. They simply make a lot of sense once on the wrist.
When it comes to picking a favorite Black Bay Chrono, we can’t forget to mention the Black Bay Chrono S&G with its steel-and-gold aesthetic. Especially when it comes to racing, that watch hints at the brilliant Lotus Formula 1 John Player Special livery from the 1970s and ’80s. I fiercely defended that watch in one of our Sunday Morning Showdown articles, where it beat the Breitling Chronomat B01 42. But after the introduction of these two new models, I have to say that the black dial version on the bracelet was hard to take off the wrist, and it took the first spot almost instantly as my favorite Black Bay Chrono.
The best pick under €5K
The Black Bay Chrono features a 41mm stainless steel case that houses the Tudor Caliber MT-5813. The movement results in a total case thickness of 14.4mm. That sounds chunky, but with the 49.9mm lug-to-lug and the Oyster-style stainless steel bracelet, the watch turned out very easy to wear on my 18cm wrist. Caliber MT-5813 is based on the Breitling B01 movement. The self-winding chronograph caliber features a column-wheel mechanism and a vertical clutch. Before putting the movement into the Black Bay Chrono, Tudor supplies Breitling with a few replacement components — a tungsten winding rotor, a variable-inertia balance wheel, and a silicon balance spring. Breitling then modifies the movement, replacing the B01’s 30-minute sub-dial with the Black Bay Chrono’s 45-minute chronograph register.
The movement is then decorated in typically industrial Tudor style. In a final step, the movements are sent out and tested at COSC for chronometer certification. Once certified, Tudor classifies it as the Tudor Caliber MT5813. The combination of the sporty looks and the great movement make this one of the best chronograph offerings out there for under €5K. It’s really hard to find something better for that price. If only they would have made that date disc black with white printed numerals… But if you are looking for a vintage-inspired racing chronograph that not only looks the part but is also executed up to great modern standards, it is hard to beat this Tudor Black Bay Chrono.
Now it’s over to you!
But I’m not the one who has to decide here. It’s up to you guys to choose your favorite of the two watches. Which of my two picks would you take into the next round? Will it be the classic and refined Breitling? Or the sporty and more modern-looking Tudor?
Make sure to vote for your pick below, and leave a comment about what you think of my two contenders. Remember, it will be one of you witty commenters who will take home the prize of the Traxxas Bandit RC car! In the meantime, stay up to date on The Fast And The Fratelli competition here.