If you’ve paid even the slightest attention to the watchosphere recently, you’ve probably noticed that venerable Swiss manufacture Breitling has been on something of a tear. Since 2017, when a private equity firm restructured the company after 100 years of family ownership, new CEO Georges Kern and crew have set about reinventing Breitling, drawing on their deep heritage for inspiration, while distancing themselves from some of their bigger, bolder, and yes, bling-ier recent past.
It’s a strategy that’s paid off. In contrast to some recent missteps from even the most prestigious brands, Breitling has tattooed some monster hits out of the park, including the original 1959 Navitimer Re-Edition, the SuperOcean Heritage ‘57, and the AVI Ref. 765 Re-Edition. Which leads us to the new Premier Heritage Collection.
Inspired by three generations of the Breitling family, the new collection tips its hat to the past, while forging ahead in some surprising ways. Consisting of six different watches, the collection is separated into three models: The Chronograph, the Duograph, and the Datora. They all share vintage-style hands, Arabic numerals, and alligator straps. Additionally, they’re all COSC-certified chronometers, with 100 meters of water resistance. But there are some significant differences.
The Datora is a model name that traces its history to the 1940s, and this new version is a showpiece of Swiss watchmaking. Available in a 42mm stainless case with a stunning copper dial, or 18k red gold with silver dial, it features a gorgeously balanced tricompax layout, with the addition of day-date windows and a moon-phase function. In particular, the blue chrono and subdial hands of the copper-faced version are just achingly beautiful.
A virtuoso expression of Swiss watchmaking, the 42mm Duograph, in stainless/blue or 18k red gold/black, has a manual-winding movement with what’s called a rattrapante function, which measures two elapsed times at once, via two separate chronograph hands. Not the kind of thing you see every day, and as expected, the movement viewed through the sapphire caseback is breathtaking.
Finally, the 40mm-cased Chronograph is a shot across the bow of staid traditionalism in classic watch design. Yes, this manual-wind model is available in a more conservative 18k red gold with silver dial. But in what’s likely to become one of the hottest releases of the spring, the stainless model features a very bold Pistachio green dial, recalling the move to the vibrant colors of the new Rolex Oyster Perpetual (itself a throwback to the ‘Stella’ dialed Rolexes of the past).
Love it or hate it, it makes a statement, and it’s a great hue as we head into the spring season. We think it’s a winner at Coolector HQ, and going by the early buzz, expect that Breitling has another breakout star on its hands, so to speak. Given Breitling’s track record of the past few years, and now with the new Premier Heritage Collection, we’d say that their trajectory will continue upward, and as a longtime fans of the brand, we look forward to what’s to come.