Wrist Game or Crying Shame: Breitling Chronomat UTC
Happy Summer, faithful readers! It’s time for Wrist Game or Crying Shame and this week, we take a look at a flashy Breitling Chronomat UTC. Before we coordinate time universally…
Last week, I tempted you with the Rolex Datejust in 18K. Despite a bracelet with a lot of stretch, 73% succumbed to the temptation of this less flashy wrist nugget. Good for you, supporters, because you have style. This week, we travel back to another interesting period with a Breitling Chronomat UTC from 1998. Let’s see if this tickles your fancy.
Let me take you on a sea cruise
It’s hard to remember the exact year during the ’90s that I joined my family on a sea cruise. I guess it was around 1994 and I can still recall enjoying the loose legalities on the open seas that allowed me to consume Grandpa’s cough medicine at will. What I also recall are the watch shops. On this Caribbean cruise, we happened to stop in San Juan, Puerto Rico for a half-day or so. While walking around, my Dad and I stumbled into a shop that barely looked like more than a kiosk. This kiosk, however, wasn’t selling magazines and sand toys. Somehow, they were an official AD for both Omega and Breitling.
Breitling was on fire in the ’90s
If I recall the sales talk from this trip, a lot of shops made a BIG deal about the fact that Breitling had outsold Rolex in the USA the prior year. That was a pretty big deal and honestly, I had no idea who or what Breitling was. What they were, though, was HOT! I still remember that my Dad was pretty interested in their watches and we took a long look at several watches in the showcase. It was pretty wild compared to Omega because Breitling had these bold yellow and royal blue colors. This was all combined with watches with bright bezels, highly polished bracelets, and lots of sub-dials. One such watch was the Breitling Chronomat UTC.
Now, I don’t think my Dad actually looked at the Breitling Chronomat UTC, but I found it quite wild. Here was a chronograph – whatever that was – with another watch on its strap! It turns out that UTC means “Universal Time Coordinated” and that’s another word for GMT timing. Essentially, the little quartz clock on the band allows for another time zone. Most remember this feature on a steel bracelet, but it did happen to come on straps as well.
Sharkskin straps were awesome
When people think about Breitling today, they think of bracelets and alligator straps with white stitches. During the ’90s, though, a really popular option was shark skin and blue was a real favorite. I really liked this look and this strap is exactly what my Dad looked at during that trip. He wasn’t looking at the Breitling Chronomat UTC, though, but a normal chronograph in steel. That chronograph, if you’re wondering, was powered by an ETA 7750 and had a rotating bezel with “rider tabs”. The owner could move the 15 and 45 around to create a count-up or countdown bezel. With 100 meters of water resistance, I guess flying and a little layover diving could be in the cards. If you’re wondering, my Dad passed on the Breitling — just too much stuff on the dial as he said.
Watches like today’s Breitling Chronomat UTC reference B13050 are definitely of a certain period if you know what I mean. That being said, the newest Chronomat watches take a lot from these earlier pieces. Of course, today’s pieces are more expensive and have in-house movements. Still, I like these 39mm pieces. This one comes to us via Chrono24 and Juwelier Burger in The Netherlands (the pics are from the seller). It is complete and it’s looking pretty damn hot on that blue shark strap. Best of all, it’s €3,350. So, what do you think, is this ’90s relic worth wearing?