With an unprecedented global pandemic sweeping our world, it can only be expected that the world of luxury watches will be hit hard. With the cancellation of the world’s two major watch conferences, Watches and Wonders and Basel Watch Fair, this year seems to be a strange year for watch collectors. In view of the pandemic, some brands such as Patek Philippe and Rolex have postponed the release of new models indefinitely. However, Breitling chose a different route. They decide to publish their unpublished novelty in a way that is quite suitable for alienation from society-living on the Internet.
Earlier this year, Breitling released some of the brand’s favorite new watches. These include the latest version of SuperOcean 48 and limited edition Breitling Avenger.
However, Breitling released the pilot’s chronograph Aviator 8 series, which surprised fans. A reimagining of the Co-Pilot Ref in 1953. 765 AVI, the Aviator 8 series share many design features, linking it with the 67-year-old watch that inspired it. The engraved rotating bezel, the clear and easy-to-read dial and the 41mm case make it a beautifully-looking and powerful pilot’s watch. Its internal movement is also inspired by its predecessors, because it is powered by Breitling’s self-made movement B09, which is based on the Breitling 01 movement.
The new Breitling Pilot 8 AVI REF. 765 1953 Reprint
With this fairly fresh release momentum, Breitling released another retro-inspired work. This time it is the iconic Breitling Top Time chronograph from the 1960s. Top Time aims to help bring the brand to a young audience and is popular with its numerous dial designs, chronograph features and entry-level price points. The new Top Time is equipped with the iconic Zorro dial, in black and white, and placed in a very casual and modern 41 mm case.
So far, the two major editions of Breitling in 2020 are inextricably linked to its historical past, so it is not surprising that their summit webcast continues to be conducted on this nostalgic theme. Breitling CEO Georges Kern made it clear that Breitling’s 2020 new products will follow this retro-inspired theme and be inspired by the sea, air and land.
Echoing Breitling’s connection with the surfing community and water sports, their first Summit webcast release was a contemporary interpretation of the SuperOcean series. The new SuperOcean Heritage ’57 watch features a unique concave bezel with sharp serrations and a clean dial with large hour markers. As Kern put it, the SuperOcean series “embodies the cool and casual surfing lifestyle of the 1960s”-and it does. SuperOcean 57 showed a more interesting side of Breitling and successfully proved that they can create nostalgic works without relying too much on their old designs. The limited edition Rainbow series showcases this perfectly, because the index is multi-colored. Although it doesn’t seem to be much for watch brands to get a little bit of fun from their designs,
Following the SuperOcean 57, Kern showcased the new Navitimer 35 with Yao Chen, Breitling’s newest brand ambassador. Navitimer 35 is designed for women and inspired by Air. It is an ultra-modern reimagining of Breitling Navitimer, one of the most iconic pilot watches in history. In the 35mm case, Navitimer 35 has 6 models, with a mother-of-pearl dial, diamond hour markers and a series of leather straps and different metal bracelets. Navitimer 35 combines the pragmatism of the original Navitimer with the smaller and more feminine features of typical ladies’ watches. It is an exquisite work that will definitely be popular.
Finally, in order to link the entire 2020 Breitling Summit webcast together and complete the ocean, air and land themes, Kern showed off the brand’s new Chronomat series. Kern called it “Breitling’s new multifunctional sports watch”, and he quickly pointed out that this version of the Chronomat was deeply inspired by the past and implemented this vision in a different way than any other Chronomat. Four key elements link it to the 1980s. Original, the new Chronomat is undoubtedly unique.
The Chronomat watch uses a 42 mm thin case and a large round crown, which presents a smooth outline on the eyes. The vintage Rouleaux bracelet is also an excellent addition to the Breitling series. The Rouleaux bracelet is different from most other bracelets in its single-link brushed finish structure, and small polished interconnections can be seen every second from the bracelet down. This contrast is fascinating. Compared with the usual bracelets that Breitling is used to making, the rhythm has changed very well.
Another new feature of Chronomat is the unidirectional bezel with interchangeable rider labels. These rider tabs change the functionality of the Chronomat from a diver’s watch to a pilot’s watch, because they can count down for the pilot as well as for the diver. A tachymeter is also printed on the inner bezel to highlight the retro-inspired features of the design. Chronomat uses a reverse panda look dial, reminiscent of the 80s style chronograph, inspired its inspiration. The new Chronomat is released in five models, with a variety of dial options and metals to choose from.
2020 is undoubtedly an important year for Breitling, because they look for inspiration from the past. They have adapted well during these difficult times, and it will be interesting to see if other brands may also take the webcast route. Breitling executed their designs in a beautiful way, and the brand seemed ready to succeed.