This week Breitling updated one of its most iconic watches and by doing so harnessed its previous glory. Welcome to the new Breitling Chronomat B01 42. This re-release was inspired by the original Chronomat design that put Breitling on the map with the watch community. I’ll admit, over the last 5 years my interest in the Breitling brand has dwindled and nothing they released really connected with me as a watch enthusiast. That has now officially changed. There is a lot to discuss about the new Breitling Chronomat B01 42 so let’s dive in! The most noticeable change with the new Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is that it reverted back to its original bracelet. Personally I think this is one of the most stunning features about this watch. Understandably, anything that is bold is likely to draw mixed attention. The bullet bracelet is one of those features that you’ll either love or hate, not much in-between.
The new Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is an all-purpose sports watch that recalls the return of mechanical timekeeping in the 1980s and Breitling’s role as a chronograph pioneer. The unique Rouleaux bracelet brings a trendy retro look to the wrist, while modern manufacture Caliber 01 points the way toward the future. We review it in this feature from our March-April 2021 issue.
When Breitling relaunched the Chronomat in 1984, it sent a clear signal — it heralded the return of the mechanical watch, which had all but disappeared during the Quartz Crisis of the 1970s. Breitling had already used the name “Chronomat” in the 1940s, as a combination of “chronograph” for the stopwatch function and “mathematics” for the slide rule, which would later become the hallmark of the Navitimer. But in 1984, the term gained additional meaning: the first two syllables continued to refer to “chronograph” for the stop-time function, but now the third syllable alluded to “automatic” for the mechanical automatic movement that drove the timepiece, at a time when quartz watches were the order of the day. Originally, Valjoux Caliber 7750, which had been launched in 1973 and whose production was later resumed by ETA, provided the power. The version used by Breitling had undergone various specific modifications.
Another quarter of a century would pass before Breitling Chronomat B01 42 launched its own chronograph movement. Caliber 01 premiered in 2009 inside the prestigious Chronomat. This robust caliber is almost taken for granted nowadays and is hard at work, in various modifications, inside numerous Breitling chronographs, so we’d like to remind our readers of a few of its remarkable qualities.