By Gordon Henderson
Breitling’s Premier Heritage Collection. The series taps into key innovations and milestones from the brand’s past to create vintage-inspired pieces with modern elements for today’s enthusiast. Upon seeing photos (sadly no hands on yet), they are, in a word, gorgeous.
Breitling’s New Founders Squad
A total of six pieces comprise the line and they are all meant to be the physical embodiment of their Founder’s Squad – a new Breitling “squad” that consists of three generations of men (from the brand’s founder through the first two generations) that helped shape the history of timekeeping and set the direction of Breitling. Leon Breitling founded the company in 1884 and patented a timer/tachymeter that was able to measure speeds from 15 to 150 km/h. This patented feature was also used in the 1906 Vitesse pocket watch.
In 1915 Leon’s son Gaston created one of the first wrist worn chronographs with an independent pusher at the 2 o’clock position. The innovation gave rise to the separation of the start, stop and reset function any chronograph enthusiast is now familiar with. In 1934 Leon’s grandson Willy Breitling patented the second independent chronograph pusher placed at the 4 o’clock position. Additionally, he is credited with having started the Huit Aviation Department (a division of Breitling to focus on aviation instruments) in 1938.
Willy Breitling also helped define the ethos of the brand at a critical juncture in the 1940s. His goal was to bring elegance and glamour to their timepieces and he is famous for stating “when a man puts on his watch, it is the unmistakable stamp of impeccable taste.” This led to the creation of the original Premier wristwatches in the 1940s.
The current Breitling Premier Heritage Collection includes six watches broken down into three distinctive categories: the chronograph, the Duograph and the Datora. The common design elements being Arabic numerals, vintage-inspired hands and semi-shiny alligator straps with tone- on-tone stitching. All pieces are COSC certified and offer 100 meters of water resistance.
The Chronograph – For the Premier B09 Heritage Chronograph 40, the vintage inspired elements filter down to the how it is powered. The 40mm piece is manually wound just as the 1940s piece it draws its inspiration from. The Breitling Manufacture Caliber B09 is based off of the Calibre 01 and the piece comes in two color variants. The oh so popular green dial with stainless steel case or silver dial in 18-karat rose gold. It retails for $8,400 in steel and $20,200 in rose gold.
The Duograph – Measuring 42mm, the duograph is offered in either a blue dial with stainless steel case or a black dial 18-karat rose gold case. The complication offered on the piece is a rattrapante which allows for the user to measure two elapsed times simultaneously via two superimposed chronograph hands. This is a complication not often seen but one that is highly desirable and it’s great to see Breitling flexing its horological muscle with this piece. It’s powered by the mechanical hand-wound Breitling Manufacture Caliber B15, which is based on the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B03. The Duograph sells for $10,250 in steel, and $22,850 in rose gold.
The Datora – The Manufacture Caliber B25 powers the piece whose complications on display are a day, date, moonphase, and chronograph function. The piece screams elegance and offers two options. A silver dial with 18k rose gold or a stunning copper dial with stainless steel case. The Datora 42mm retails for $12,950 in steel and $25,650 in rose gold.