Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Self-Winding Flying Tourbillon

The Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin RD#3, reference 26670ST.OO.1240ST.01 (if you can keep 20-character alphanumeric reference numbers in short- and long-term memory, bless you, because I can’t) landed with maybe a little less impact than it deserved when it launched last April. There are probably several reasons why. First of all, I think a lot of us were still suffering from a bit of Royal Oak overload from the announcement of the ref. 16202 Jumbo when it launched in January, along with several other models (including a non-Jumbo flying tourbillon). Secondly, the Jumbo Tourbillon RD#3 appeared in the context of a larger world in which Bulgari more or less owns the community mindshare of ultra-thin self-winding tourbillons.
As astonishing as that might have been a couple of decades ago, there is little doubt that in 2022, it’s tough to make a splash with an ultra-thin tourbillon unless you have managed to unseat Bulgari. And not only is no brand challenging them, nobody even seems inclined to try. It’s telling, though, that to set their record, Bulgari had to unseat Audemars Piguet, and moreover, an AP watch that dropped back in 1986: The AP caliber 2870 self-winding tourbillon, which reigned as the undisputed champion of ultra-thin automatic tourbillons for over three decades until Bulgari came out with the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, in 2018. While there’s no gainsaying Bulgari’s technical achievements, AP’s new Royal Oak Tourbillon does represent what is probably the single longest lineage in horology of automatic tourbillon wristwatches.
For many years, Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon has been using basically the same tourbillon – that is, the same cage, balance, and escapement, as well as the same upper tourbillon bridge – in all of its tourbillon watches. The bridge has a distinctive, inverted “V” shape, and the cage has three arms, with a free sprung balance fitted with poising and timing screws on its outer edge. Minus the upper bridge, this is the same tourbillon used as recently as the Royal Oak Flying Tourbillon 26730, launched in January of this year. It’s also the tourbillon used in the Code 11.59 collection’s automatic flying tourbillon chronograph.
The new Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin RD#3, on the other hand, uses a new configuration for its tourbillon, and moreover places a flying tourbillon, for the first time, in a Jumbo case. The RD#3 has exactly the same dimensions as the Jumbo – 39mm x 8.1mm.
To get a flying tourbillon into the Jumbo case, AP had to develop a new tourbillon movement. The Royal Oak Flying Tourbillons introduced earlier this year use the AP caliber 2950, which is 31.5mm x 6.24mm, and it has a larger case than RD#3, at 41mm x 10.6mm. The RD#3, on the other hand, uses the caliber 2968 – a smaller movement, at 29.6mm x 3.4mm, which is considerably flatter than the 2950. For comparison, Bulgari’s caliber BVL 288, used in the Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic, is 1.95mm thick, but it’s also larger in diameter than AP’s caliber 2968, at 36.60mm which is getting into smaller pocket watch caliber territory. It’s sort of like squishing a jelly donut – you can flatten it but it’s going to spread out at the same time. This means that Bulgari’s Octo Finissimo Tourbillon Automatic has to be a little larger in diameter, at 41mm.
The AP caliber 2968 isn’t the flattest automatic tourbillon in the world, but you do have to bear in mind that unlike the BVL 288, it’s not a peripheral rotor caliber. Instead, it’s a full rotor movement, and it’s almost exactly the same size as the caliber 7121 used in the new 16202 Royal Oak, which is 29.6mm x 3.2mm. In fact, the caliber 2968 looks quite a lot like a re-engineered 7121, including the arrangement of the automatic winding train and the position and configuration of the mainspring barrel.
And aesthetically? What can I tell you, it’s a Jumbo, 39mm x 8.1mm, with that lovely Bleu Nuit, Nuage 50 dial. The only classic Jumbo element missing from the RD#3 Jumbo Tourbillon is the AP logo at six o’clock, but it seems a reasonable thing to lose if you’re going to have an open dial flying tourbillon. If you like the Jumbo, you’re probably going to like the Royal Oak Selfwinding Flying Tourbillon Extra-Thin RD#3, unless the idea of an open dial flying tourbillon is just not your brand of vodka. Comparing ultra-thin automatic tourbillons can be a little tricky – it helps to know the history of the complication and it also helps to understand that a full rotor movement compared to a peripheral rotor movement is fair on one hand, but on the other hand it’s also a little bit of an apples-to-oranges comparison. Seen from that perspective, RD#3 is a beautiful, very well-thought-out piece of contemporary watchmaking.

Audemars Piguet Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Starwheel

Let’s get a couple of things about Audemars Piguet’s Code 11.59 collection out of the way up front. It was introduced in 2019 as a clear commercial effort by AP to be something more than the Royal Oak. Second, that initial time-only Code 11.59 was a relatively uninspired way to introduce a collection that was supposed to represent “the future of AP.”

Today, Audemars Piguet announced the latest addition to the Code 11.59 collection, the “Code 11.59 by Audemars Piguet Starwheel.” More than three years since that initial Code 11.59 release – and more than 30 Code 11.59 models into the collection – we’re far enough removed from that initial launch to evaluate new Code 11.59 models on their own terms. Not every release needs to be a referendum on Audemars Piguet or the Code 11.59.
Yes, it’s an inherently weird watch, with a complication originally designed by a couple of Roman clockmakers for a pope in the 17th century, and a brash case construction that’s as technically fascinating as it is confounding to wear. No, this particular watch isn’t the “next Royal Oak,” or even “the future of AP” – it’s just a watch, and that’s just fine.
This new Code 11.59 Starwheel has a wandering hours complication inside an 18-karat white gold Code 11.59 case with a black ceramic midcase. It’s a time-only watch. The 12 wandering hour disks “wander” across the dial, with the current hour pointing to the current minute along the 120-degree minute track at the top of the dial. For example, the time in the image above is about 10:36. The next hour disk reaches the minute track at the turn of the hour. It’s actually a somewhat intuitive, elegant way of telling the time. The rotating disks are fixed on the central rotor wheel, each attaching to the rotor by a star wheel at the center of the disk. Hence the name.
It’s a little trite to call anything in watchmaking “romantic” nowadays, but I guess it’s fitting here: Not only is the wandering hour complication itself anachronistic, but so is the effect on the wearer. One could, if one wanted, wax poetic about watching each hour rise and set as it works its way across the dial, like a (just slightly) more practical moonphase. The implementation is fairly simple, too. The central rotor completes a revolution every three hours, while the hour disks make a quarter turn (90 degrees) every hour.
At $57,900, the price isn’t outlandish (well, not any more outlandish than, say, Cartier asking $44,000 for its new Pebble). Sure, it’s a lot of money, but it’s not a lot more than you’d pay for an original Audemars Piguet Starwheel from the 1990s, and there’s a hell of a lot more modern watchmaking to unpack here.

To achieve this, Audemars Piguet added a wandering-hour module to its time-only caliber 4309. On the dial, black opaline disks rotate above a blue aventurine dial and a black inner bezel. The font on the hour disks and minute track is decidedly modern, and a white gold center seconds sweeps atop the whole apparatus. Meanwhile, the white gold case, with its black ceramic midcase (which we’ve seen AP use a few times now), is the type of complicated construction AP promised when it first introduced the Code 11.59, beveled edges and all.
The Starwheel complication is a callback to the Starwheel AP introduced in 1991, which is itself an implementation of the wandering hours complication that Roman clockmakers the Campani Brothers developed for a pope in the 17th century (here’s an example of the complication in one of their clocks in the British Museum). The original Starwheel had a traditional, 36mm case, a dressy watch that had more in common with AP’s ultra-thin perpetual calendar than with the Royal Oak. A wandering hours complication in a traditional profile wasn’t intended to rival the Royal Oak in 1991, nor is it in 2022.

AP produced the Starwheel in a number of variations through the early ’90s, typically in yellow gold or platinum (and eventually, in rose gold), with guilloche or Arabesque engraved dials. Rarer are gem-set examples: last year, Antiquorum sold a pair of unique Starwheels with ruby- and emerald-set bezels for more than $100,000. Like the entire made-up category of neo-vintage, appreciation for Starwheels of all types has grown: While a standard yellow-gold Starwheel could be found selling for $8,000 just four years ago, today they might sell for $30,000 to $40,000.
In 1996, Audemars Piguet discontinued this first generation of the Starwheel, along with the rest of its classic model lineup (goodbye, Starwheel; goodbye ultra-thin perpetual calendar; hello, The Beast!). But AP wasn’t finished with the Starwheel altogether: it’d bring back the complication in its short-lived John Shaeffer Collection, and then in the Millenary. The John Schaeffer Collection was inspired by a single cushion-shaped minute repeater watch from the early 1900s, commissioned by American industrialist (and watch collector) John Schaeffer.

In the 1990s, AP used the watch as inspiration to introduce a small line of mostly complicated watches. Among these were limited runs of the Starwheel, paired in a cushion case along with a minute repeater – production of these is counted in the dozens, with most variations having been produced in limited runs of ten, five, or three. Nowadays, these John Schaeffer Starwheels are some of the most coveted: The last example to publicly surface sold for $100,000 more than two years ago. Finally, in 2000, to celebrate its 125th anniversary AP introduced a limited edition of the Starwheel in the Millenary.
While AP was finished with the Starwheel by 2000, its impact on the watch industry remained: most notably, Urwerk has used the wandering hours complication in dizzying varieties since its launch in 1997. Not only that, but hardcore collectors – and even staffers inside AP, by its own admission – immediately lamented the departure of the Starwheel. To many, the original Starwheel represents an example of a large Swiss brand innovating its way beyond the Quartz Crisis.

Sure, it’s not an icon like the Royal Oak. Nor is it as important to Audemars Piguet as its ultra-thin perpetual calendar. But the Starwheel is a niche that collectors have come to enjoy, not only for its unique aesthetic and way of displaying time but also for the era of watchmaking it represents. For serious collectors, the Starwheel is something to collect in its own right. And in a world where collectors love “firsts,” the Starwheel will always have a following as the first modern wandering hours watch.

Today, the Starwheel is back where it started, with AP. Only time will tell if this new Starwheel – or really, Code 11.59 more broadly – will mean something similar to this era.

Breitling Premier Top Time Deus II

Breitling has renewed its partnership with rebellious Australian surf-style brand and motorcycle customizer Deus Ex Machina. To celebrate, Breitling unveils the new Breitling Top Time Deus watch with design input from Deus. The base of the new watch follows the familiar pattern of the 2021 Top Time Deus edition with some design tweaks. On the dial, black gives way to sky blue on the tachymeter scale and sunken TV-set sub-dials. Notably, the new Top Time Deus edition ups the limitation to 2,000 pieces. Raising the number of units is undoubtedly in response to the original Deus being an instant sell-out at 1,500 pieces. Will the new one generate the same demand? Let’s find out.

Looking back to 2021, we never covered the original Deus on Fratello Watches. The team is big on Breitling, and several of our guys own one or more pieces from the Swiss brand. But to this day, the Top Time Deus is divisive amongst our group. The Rolex Milgauss-esque lacquered orange lightning-bolt-shaped chronograph hand is perhaps derivative. And the hand-drawn-effect Deus logo is probably a quirk too far. But to me, these outlandish details lift the classic ‘60s twin-register Top Time design, giving it a rebellious spin. In comparison to last year’s model, the new version tones down the blocky orange accents. It also softens the contrast, as against the off-white dial, the tachymeter is now sky blue instead of jet black.
The Top Time is a revitalized ‘60s chronograph with a round case, pump-style pushers, and twin registers. The sub-dial at 9 o’clock provides the running seconds while a 30-minute totalizer sits at 3 o’clock. Since the revival of the model range, Breitling has experimented with various finishes and colors on the Breitling Top Time Deus . Back in February, I went hands-on with the Breitling × Triumph Top Time. Of the latest releases, the ice-blue dial with black details on the Triumph is possibly the soberest launch. But the Deus brings back the adventurous side of things. However, carrying over from the Triumph model to the Deus are the steel trapezoidal hands with a slither of Super-LumiNova. I prefer these subdued hands to the blocky orange hands of the first Deus edition.
Further changes include the beige luminescent indices. Previously, the Deus had polished steel baton indices with lume dots on the outer edge of the dial. The new liberal use of lume improves readability in low light, and the central hands and indices blend more harmoniously. The sky blue in the tachymeter is a pleasing shade in combination with the off-white dial. Yet the Deus mantra, “In Benzin Veritas” (in gasoline we trust), remains where “units per hour” resides in the Triumph model. Continuing the sky-blue hue are the sub-dials with concentric grooves and color-coded red and orange accents. The stylized Breitling logo is nicely positioned, and the Top Time name now sits just below it rather than just above the Deus logo.
Luckily, the funky central chronograph seconds hand remains among all the refreshing updates. The inclusion of the lightning bolt seemingly divides our team into “love it” and “hate it” camps. But looking at the dial with toned-down elements, the shocking orange hand is even more noticeable, which is a plus in my eyes. Shrouding the striking dial is the boxy, raised sapphire glass with a glareproof treatment on both sides. The round 41mm stainless steel case without crown guards has a slight step down to the lugs. The lugs themselves protrude outward and contribute significantly to the 51.5mm tip-to-tip dimension. Along with the 14.27mm case thickness, the Top Time may be a challenging watch to pull off. It’s worth checking out and trying in person to understand the dimensions.
The solid steel case back conceals the non-in-house Breitling 23 chronograph caliber. This movement, based on the Valjoux 7753, beats at 28,800vph and delivers 48 hours of power reserve. With the snap-on case back and non-screw-down crown, the Top Time Deus is only pressure-resistant to 3 ATM. My advice, therefore, is to keep this watch above water. Affixing the Top Time to the wrist is the motorcycle-glove-inspired brown distressed leather strap with a yellow calfskin underside. The strap slots into the 20mm lug spacing and includes a matching steel pin buckle. The Breitling Top Time Deus is limited to 2,000 pieces

Bell & Ross BR 03 Type A Patrouille de France

In keeping with the tradition since 2008, Bell & Ross releases a new watch at the request of the French Air Force. This 2022 edition is with the famous acrobatic unit Patrouille de France, with the new BR 03 Type A.
The new Bell & Ross BR 03 Type A Patrouille de France REF. BR03AD-BBR-ST/SRB is a limited edition of only 100 copies, and has a retail price of SGD 6,100 inclusive of GST. Pre-orders are open online now, for delivery in December.
We covered the 2021 edition of the Patrouille de France by Bell & Rossin their BR 03-94 Patrouille de France. This time, for 2022, Bell & Ross again chose to use the rounded square design of the BR 03, but euipped it with a new multi function quartz movement with multi-function analogue-digital display instead of the mechanical chronograph used in 2021. The watch chosen for the 2022 Patrouille de France Edition is based on the BR 03 Type A Armée de L’Air of 2008 instead of the 2021 Patrouille de France. The novelty is the same watch as the 2008 version, but with a different dial, and colour scheme reflective of the different collaboration.
The display is also reminiscent of dial which is indicative of the movement used in the Aerospace (Breitling B76) and the B79 in the Emergency II. Both these movements are based on the ETA 988.352 Thermoline. The BR-CAL 103 shows the same features, and is probably also based on the same ETA movement, though Bell & Ross does not state the source of the movement. And also left out a critical specification that the movement is thermo compensated. The ETA is a highly respected movement, well known for its very high precision timekeeping capabilities. It also shines in the use of both digital and analogue indicators to maximise the dial space for excellent, clear displays.
Since it was founded in 1994, aviation and the military universe have been the main sources of inspiration for Bell & Ross. That’s why, through their design, dial and functionality, so many Bell & Ross watches still evoke the world of aeronautical instruments: one of the most demanding when it comes to readability and reliability.

Testament to the excellence achieved by Bell & Ross, elite units from various nations’ armed forces have chosen the watchmaker’s timepieces to accompany them in their perilous missions. So it is with the Patrouille de France, one of the most prestigious acrobatic formations in the world: a true ambassador of the French wings that embodies the expertise of the Air and Space Force.
Today, Bell & Ross is launching a new watch designed and produced in close collaboration with the Patrouille de France pilots, whose emblem of course adorns the dial.

“Bell & Ross shares the same values of precision and performance as the pilots in this elite aerobatic unit,” says Bruno Belamich, the watchmaker’s co-founder and creative director. After forging an official watchmaking partnership with the Patrouille de France in 2021, resulting in the launch of its first dedicated watch, Bell & Ross continues its aerial adventure with the BR 03 Type A Patrouille de France. With its spectacular dial, this timepiece follows in the brand’s tradition: in 2008, it was at the request of the Air Force that Bell & Ross designed the BR 03 Type A instrument for fighter pilots. Now in the colours of the Patrouille de France, this new version is heir to the brand’s true tool watch.
It goes without saying that this watch respects rigorous specifications in line with the needs of Patrouille de France pilots, who manoeuvre in close formation at speeds of between 300 and 800 km/h. When the gap between two planes is only two or three metres, there is no room for even the slightest error. Knowing that it all plays out in a tiny fraction of time, time mastery has always been a professional pillar for these aerobatic aces. As such, all the technical expertise of Bell & Ross engineers and watchmakers came into play to create the BR 03 Type A Patrouille de France.
Adopting the aesthetic “rounded square” concept that constitutes a veritable visual signature for Bell & Ross, and designed for and by elite pilots, this new chronograph features the square BR 03 case in steel, with a diameter of 42mm.

Intended for professional use, the watch is equipped with a quartz movement giving a dual analogue and digital display. The high drain battery provides 30 months of battery life. To provide the best possible readability even in intense situations, the hours and minutes are displayed with conventional hands, while the seconds are displayed on a digital screen. “This device gives pilots optimal reading speed,” stresses Bruno Belamich. In addition, the bidirectional rotating bezel helps memorise time references.

Beyond time indications, the BR 03 Type A Patrouille de France offers many additional functions that come in useful in whatever the circumstance: 1/100th of a second chronograph with intermediate and additional time, countdown, alarm, date and dual time zone.
The window at the top of the dial displays the abbreviation of the chosen function. The second window, positioned at the bottom of the dial, digitally displays the measurement. The various functions are selected by pressing the crown.As a sign of its exclusivity, only 100 copies of the BR 03 Type A Patrouille de France will be produced. Each pilot in the unit will be given with one of these emblematic watches, which has all the elements to fast become a collector’s item.

Nomos Glashütte Tangente Liebreiz

In watchmaking, the German brand Nomos Glashütte Tangente Liebreiz has arrived at a specialty in the watch business. This remarkable method of achieving imaginative changes to watchmaking has brought Nomos acclaim that is wanted by some since quite a while ago settled Swiss watch brands. Notwithstanding, the greater part of Nomos’ notoriety comes from his lead assortment – Tangente. With a direct plan with an unmistakable and smooth dial, this watch was enormously respected by watch sweethearts when it was delivered in 1992. Also, to date subsequent to finishing a long excursion with the brand, this Nomos watch appreciates an equivalent status among watch sweethearts. wristwatch. wristwatch.
One brand that Dean truly prefers is NOMOS. Truth be told, the Glashuette-based brand was one of the first to be added to the stable after Dean joined Brinker – which likewise shows the trust set in him by the Brinker family. As the proprietor of a few NOMOS watches including the restricted release Club Campus Amsterdam, for quite a long time Dean longed for possessing a restricted version for Brinker. Likewise, as of now with the 50th celebration coming up, the ideal open entryway presented itself. However, rather than a restricted release, Brinker constructs pressure by doing it consistently from this point until the 2022 commemoration. The first is NOMOS Club 48, reference 737.S3.

Today we have the extraordinary watch from the German producer Nomos Glashütte Tangente Liebreiz (we will discharge the umlaut starting now and into the foreseeable future for effortlessness) tangente NOMOS have been around for quite a while, however despite the fact that these have left their imprint in the watchmaking business with moderate plans, passage level extravagance costs, and above all of all German quality and the most elevated consideration. down to the subtleties!
NOMOS Glashutte as we said has been missing for quite a while! The Nomos name was enrolled by Roland Schwertner (who actually drives deals at NOMOS today) in January 1990, only two months after the fall of the Berlin Wall. Nomos draws its impact from the watch plans of the customary German ‘Bauhaus’ style. This regularly brings about moderate dial plans, meager, smooth cases and negligible boxes and paper. With NOMOS at first utilizing the Swiss-made manual breeze development ETA/Peseux 7001. In any case, the organization began to truly stand apart from the Swiss and German rivalry when in 2005 they began utilizing watch developments only. Beginning with the α (Alpha) manual breeze type, yet advancing to the manual breeze type with greater unpredictability over the long haul. With the advancement of their own escapement in 2014, Nomos Glashütte Tangente Liebreiz is totally autonomous of the Swiss maker. As of late, in 2015 NOMOS presented the in-house 10 types DUW (Deutsche Uhrenwerke) 3001. The super flimsy programmed type with a stature of just 3.1 mm was selective to the Neomatic arrangement and in 2018 refreshed the Noematic arrangement with Neomatic-date with Caliber. DUW 6101.

Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Signature

Wempe is launching a series of exclusive watches in collaboration with well-renowned watch manufacturers to create its newest collection, the aptly named Breitling Wempe Signature Collection. The strictly limited partnership models are based off some of the most classic references in the watch world, and kicking off the series is a watch produced in partnership with Breitling via the new Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Signature Collection. Featuring a familiar Navitimer aesthetic dressed in blue with red gold accents, the style channels classic Breitling design with notable Wempe influences. Ticking inside the 43mm stainless steel case is the automatic manufacture caliber B01 with chronometer certification. This high-end chronograph movement is equipped with a vertical clutch and column wheel control. The movement beats behind a commemorative sapphire crystal case back and offers 100 meters of watch resistance and a power reserve of 70 hours. The Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Signature Collection will be available in a limited edition of 200 pieces. The standard model is presented on an alligator leather strap and is priced at $9,200. The variant with a metal bracelet has a price tag of $9,600. The watch will be sold exclusively in Wempe stores and via the brand’s website.
A symbiosis of the best of the watch world. In the course of the Signature Collection, Wempe meets with renowned manufacturers and combines their iconic models with its own long-standing knowledge of expectations and wishes of their customer base.The case, in stainless steel, measures 43mm. It has a cambered AR-coated sapphire crystal, a sapphire display back, and it is water resistant to 30 meters. Movement is the Swiss automatic Breitling in-house caliber 01 with 47 jewels, 28,800 vph and a power reserve of 70 hours. It features a column-wheel and a vertical clutch and it is COSC-certified as a chronometer.
A purist design with that certain something. The Uptown by Wempe Statements bracelet is composed of twenty graphic elements in warm 18k rose gold that mesh almost invisibly. Each element of this dynamically flowing piece of jewelry is set with a brilliant-cut diamond with a total carat weight of 1.30 ct.
followed by Launching a range of unique watches in collaboration with renowned watch manufacturers to create its latest collection Signature collection followed. The strictly limited edition models are based on some of the most classic references in the watch world. Starting the series Followed by the Signature Collection X Breitling with Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Signature Collection.

Ticking inside the 43mm stainless steel case is the automatic manufacture caliber B01 with chronometer certification. This high-end chronograph movement is equipped with a vertical clutch and column wheel control. The movement beats behind a sapphire crystal case and offers 100 meters of watch resistance and a 70-hour power reserve.

The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Signature Collection Available in a limited edition of 200 pieces. The standard model is presented on an alligator leather strap and costs around $8,500 and retails for approx. $8,850 on a metal bracelet. The watch will be sold exclusively at Wempe stores and through the brand’s website.

Breitling Avenger Chronograph GMT 45

Swiss watch company Breitling recently held one of its still-new Breitling Summit event concepts here in Los Angeles. One of the new references launched was this duo of GMT watches, the Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT 45 (reference A32395101C1A1 or A32395101C1X1 / A32395101C1X2) and the related Avenger Automatic GMT 45 Night Mission (reference V32395101B1X1 / V32395101B1X2).

First, a tangent about the brand’s activities. I’ve said multiple times recently that the brand has been one of the best performing luxury watch companies over the last 18 months, due to the re-energized Georges Kern and the ability for him to execute his ideas. If anything, Kern’s short time at Breitling (about two years) demonstrates the power of what you can do if a company’s financial arm allows for a CEO to spend and invest in the future, no matter the current state of global investor confidence. The good news for Breitling is that their efforts are paying off, even today.
Weeks away from the release of the first film he produced (in French), Georges Kern sits at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills with guests from around the Americas who have come to see him, his friends, and his new creations. I’ve personally never seen Mr. Kern more at ease and seemingly hopeful about the future.

One cause for Mr. Kern’s positive sentiments is that business is growing for Breitling — and in important places like the United States and China. The United States has always been a strong market for Breilting. (It is often said to be the third-largest Swiss luxury watchmaker in the United States, after Rolex and Omega, respectively.) Kern is a globalist and understands that, while local tastes and preferences differ, Breitling needs to be a global brand in every sense of the word. From a product perspective, Kern was also lucky, not only in his ability to streamline the brand’s notoriously confusing model families but also to sit on an archive of designs and styles that happen to be particularly fashionable these days.
Well-made, good-looking watches aren’t enough — and with Kern’s understanding of Hollywood appeal comes his understanding of marketing. That, blended with his more than two decades of experience in the watch industry, has allowed for him to be among the very few leading watch brand CEOs who have the courage to try new things in a global economic recession, when spirits are down and luxury seekers (who continue to exist in droves) are chasing different pleasures than the generation before them.
For instances, the next person who dons one of these Avenger Automatic GMT 45 watches might be a drone racing champion. Breitling is, indeed, adding the world of drone-flying sports into its legacy of aviation. The logic is sound, and on top of that, drone racing also appeals to new-generation computer and video gamers seeking sports and heroes relevant to them.
From a timepiece perspective, these new GMT watches are a smart release from Breitling and unlike anything I can think of in the current collection. What other time and GMT Breitling watches (without a chronograph complication) come to mind? I know they have produced GMT watches before, but I don’t think Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT 45 has really ever had a modern GMT hit (and I am not counting the World Time since that is a different style of watch altogether).

As GMT watches, these are good looking timepieces, and the red GMT hands on both the blue-dialed standard steel version and the military-style Night Mission are extremely easy to read and not easily confused with the hour or minute hand. The 24-hour scale, on the other hand, is a bit tiny and will require good eyes. This does mean that the uni-directional rotating bezel can still be used for a 60-minute timer — which, honestly, is rare for GMT watches of this pedigree. Also, there is the case size to contend with, which will make the Avenger Automatic GMT 45 watches too large for a lot of wrists. It is entirely likely that Breitling will make more versions in smaller cases in the future.

Georges Kern also mentioned that part of his new strategy moving forward will be to release fewer watches at a time. The Breitling Summit saw the debut of just 14 SKUs. In the past, the brand produced such a healthy variety of versions for each model that consumers got choice paralysis. They did so because different tastes around the world would prompt them to produce slightly different styles. Today, brands are a lot more aware of what sells and doesn’t, while also being mindful of not saturating the consumer or news markets with too much information at a time. That is my explanation of why Breitling seems to tease a new Avenger GMT watch concept with two models that feel like a slew of others might be hiding right behind the scenes. I personally like that the brands wants people to focus on just a few styles and color treatments at a time.
For 2019, Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT 45 retired the Colt collection and has merged it in with Avenger. The watches always looked too similar, and the new Avenger collection actually has a whole new construction but still has that iconic look and feel of a modern Breitling. The cases are 45mm-wide and have real heft to them, thanks to the wide lugs. Given the width, they feel thin at just 12.3mm-thick, and the cases are water resistant to 30 meters with an AR-coated sapphire crystal over the dial.

Inside the watches, Breitling uses a sourced Swiss movement (base ETA 2893, I believe), which they call their Caliber 32 movement. It operates at 4Hz with about 42 hours of power reserve and also features the date, in addition to the time and 24-hour GMT hand for a second time zone display. Breitling has each of the movements COSC-Chronometer certified.
The Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT 45 comes in steel with a combo polished and brushed case design. It debuts exclusively with a blue dial and index-style hour markers with a case that is available either on a matching blue textile (leather-lined) strap or a handsome three-link steel bracelet (my choice). Things get a lot more interesting with the Avenger Automatic GMT 45 Night Mission with its black and khaki tan themes.

The Breitling Avenger Automatic GMT 45 is a handsome little devil in a black DLC-coated titanium case paired with a “sand” leather strap. The dial uses a mix of indexes and stencil-style hour markers, which has always made for a good look. I suppose one can criticize Breitling for being too cautious about design innovation at this stage in the brand’s operations — and you might be right. That said, Breilting today is doing a great job of boiling down the core Breitling aesthetics into very fashionable styles (even if they aren’t too original within the brand). Give it a few years and I think we will see more innovation when it comes to design from Mr. Kern. For the time being, I think he is still in the process of trying to distill the core essence of Breitling across the various brand pillars (Aviation 8, Navitimer, Premier, SuperOcean, etc…).

MB&F LM FlyingT ‘Ice’ and ‘Blizzard’

First launched in 2019, the MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT was MB&F’s first-ever machine dedicated to women and it was awarded the prize for Best Ladies’ Complication at the Grand Prix d’Horlogerie de Genève that year. The MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT was first launched in 18K white gold and then in 18K red gold and platinum. Following the year 2020, MB&F added special editions with stones including Lapis Lazuli, Malachite, and Tiger Eye. Now, with winter right around the corner, two limited edition MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT models inspired by swirling snow and icy stalagmites make their appearance.

These new Ice and Blizzard editions —limited to eight pieces each— are the result of a collaboration between MB&F and French jewelry designer Emmanuel Tarpin. Emmanuel is a 30-year-old independent jewelry designer from Annecy, in Haute Savoie, France. Fascinated by art and precious stones from a young age, he studied jewelry design at Geneva’s Haute Ecole d’Art et Design —HEAD—, before accepting an internship with a studio working for Van Cleef & Arpels. Keen to learn all aspects of the jewelry business, he would continue working directly for Van Cleef & Arpels in the Maison’s Haute Joaillerie workshop for three years.

This is the second collaboration within the MB&F Legacy Machine FlyingT collection. The first was with the renowned Italian luxury brand Bulgari and now Emmanuel Tarpin decided on a wintery theme, as not only is winter his favorite season but traveling back and forth between his hometown of Annecy to Geneva, in a sometimes wintery wonderland, quickly provided him with the inspiration he needed.

For this collaboration, Emmanuel Tarpin had a few requests in respect of the movement, starting with the elimination of all gold-colored elements that would have clashed with the white gold case and icy theme. This seemingly innocent request was not quite as simple as it may seem, but all the yellow or red gold elements were changed, while the balance wheel was blued. Another request was to switch out the diamonds set into the center of the tourbillon and two crowns for rare turquoise Paraiba stones, to further reinforce the glacial theme.
Breaking a tradition of masterminding complex, visually arresting watches for men, MB&F undertook its maiden voyage into the galaxy of women’s watches in 2019. Faithful to the brand’s spectacular 3D design language, the Legacy Machine Flying T staged a flying tourbillon rising above the dial plate accompanied by an intriguing hours and minutes dial perched at an angle. Eminently feminine without being affected, the Flying T has had many wardrobe changes but none as glacial as this duet of Ice and Blizzard editions made in collaboration with jewellery designer Emmanuel Tarpin.
I think it is fair to say that one of the most talked about ‘women timepiece’ of the last years is MB&F’s first watch dedicated to ladies from 2019 – the Legacy Machine FlyingT. The already praised timepiece (it also won the Ladies’ Complication Watch Prize at the GPHG 2019) received a famous collaborator, Bulgari, last year and the result was launched during the Dubai Watch Week. Bulgari’s Product Creation Executive Director, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani, and MB&F’s Founder & Creative Director, Maximilian Büsser presented the MB&F x Bulgari – Legacy Machine FlyingT Allegra, which beautifully combined the signature colourful abundant extravagance of Bulgari with the emblematic MB&F design.

Now MB&F celebrates the upcoming winter with a new collaboration – Max Büsser and his team worked together with French jewellery designer Emmanuel Tarpin, best known for his unique pieces that combine his love for nature, sculpture, innovative materials and gemstones. He studied at HEAD (Haute Ecole d’Art et Design), Geneva’s distinguished school of art and design, before beginning an internship in the high jewelry atelier of Van Cleef & Arpels. He launched his brand in 2017, his own pieces are inspired by nature and the shapes found in the flora and fauna of different countries – shells, jellyfish, geranium leaves, arum lilies or wild orchids.

He first met Max Büsser while studying at HEAD, when Max made a presentation to the students about MB&F. Fast forward a few years and Emmanuel Tarpin’s name popped up as an up-and-coming jewellery designer to watch. Max reached out to him and now we can enjoy the results of their creative cooperation.

Breitling SuperOcean Automatic 42 Stainless Steel

While largely known as a maker of excellent pilot’s chronographs like the Navitimer and Chronomat, Breitling also has a stealthily great dive watch collection with its Breitling SuperOcean Automatic 42 Stainless Steel. The SuperOcean Heritage line is especially great, ranking among the best divers in the luxury watch industry for the past handful of years. Now, Breitling is looking to gain even more of a foothold in the space with a massive revamp of the standard SuperOcean line.

Breitling has unveiled a new version of the Breitling SuperOcean Automatic 42 Stainless Stee that’s inspired by the brand’s SuperOcean Slow Motion diver from the 1960s. While that watch was a chronograph, the new styles are standard three-hand automatics, but they feature a number of styling cues from the vintage piece, namely the high-contrast minute track, the broad indices, and the “paddle” handset. The watch also adds plenty of modern features, too, including a ceramic bezel insert, 300m of water resistance (Breitling notes the watch is also resistant to shocks, saltwater, and even sand), and power from Breitling’s Caliber 17 self-winding movement.

Breitling SuperOcean Automatic 42 Stainless Stee also made sure that everyone’s wrists and tastes are accounted for with this release — and we mean everyone. The watch comes in three metals: stainless steel, steel-gold, or bronze; four sizes: 36mm, 42mm, 44mm, and 46mm; and a ton of dial colors, including black, blue, white, green, orange, and a near-Tiffany blue — most of which are paired with various bezel and case material options. One of the standouts is the SuperOcean Automatic 42 Kelly Slater. Co-designed with the surfing legend, the watch is limited to 1,000 pieces and pairs an orange dial with a green rubber strap.

Breitling Navitimer B01 Swiss Limited Edition

Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling has launched a new watch model that is exclusive to SWISS. The new Breitling Navitimer B01 SWISS Limited Edition will be restricted to just 700 pieces and is available for sale solely on selected SWISS routes. SWISS and Breitling have been partners for years and intensified their collaboration earlier this year to promote sustainable air travel.

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is now offering its inflight guests the opportunity to acquire the new Breitling Navitimer B01 SWISS Limited Edition wristwatch. The launch of Breitling’s new watch model coincides with both the 70th anniversary of the company’s first iconic Navitimer chronograph and SWISS’s own 20th birthday.

The new model, produced in a limited edition of 700 pieces and available exclusively on selected SWISS long-haul routes, was jointly unveiled this Thursday morning by SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx and Breitling CEO Georges Kern. The classic Breitling Navitimer aviator watch has proved hugely popular since the launch of its initial model back in 1952.
“SWISS and Breitling share the same values,” says SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. “Our brands are both bywords for the highest quality, and we both put a firm focus on the details. The new Navitimer SWISS Limited Edition excellently embodies all these characteristics. And I’m delighted that, to help mark our 20th anniversary, we can offer it exclusively to our SWISS inflight guests.”

Breitling CEO Georges Kern is equally pleased. “With our new SWISS Limited Edition,” he says, “we’re not just celebrating our Navitimer’s 70th birthday: we’re continuing our long-standing partnership with SWISS. Our shared Swiss roots and our passion for aviation have united us for years. And the latest version of this iconic watch marks a further milestone in our collaboration.”

The new Breitling Navitimer B01 SWISS Limited Edition incorporates the typical design details of the iconic Navitimer chronograph but is also unique in its own right. The sleek anthracite dial with its black chronograph counters is deftly accented with red elements echo SWISS’s hallmark red. The back of the watch bears an engraving of the SWISS logo and the inscription ‘ONE OF 700’ to confirm its limited-edition status. And the open caseback draws its inspiration from the engine of a Boeing 777-300ER.
Swiss watch manufacturer Breitling has launched a new watch model that is exclusive to SWISS. The new Navitimer B01 SWISS Limited Edition will be restricted to just 700 pieces and is available for sale solely on selected SWISS routes. SWISS and Breitling have been partners for years and intensified their collaboration earlier this year to promote sustainable air travel.

Swiss International Air Lines (SWISS) is now offering its inflight guests the opportunity to acquire the new Breitling Navitimer B01 SWISS Limited Edition wristwatch. The launch of Breitling’s new watch model coincides with both the 70th anniversary of the company’s first iconic Navitimer chronograph and SWISS’s own 20th birthday. The new model, produced in a limited edition of 700 pieces and available exclusively on selected SWISS long-haul routes, was jointly unveiled this Thursday morning by SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx and Breitling CEO Georges Kern. The classic Breitling Navitimer aviator watch has proved hugely popular since the launch of its initial model back in 1952.

“SWISS and Breitling share the same values,” says SWISS CEO Dieter Vranckx. “Our brands are both bywords for the highest quality, and we both put a firm focus on the details. The new Navitimer SWISS Limited Edition excellently embodies all these characteristics. And I’m delighted that, to help mark our 20th anniversary, we can offer it exclusively to our SWISS inflight guests.”

Breitling CEO Georges Kern is equally pleased. “With our new SWISS Limited Edition,” he says, “we’re not just celebrating our Navitimer’s 70th birthday: we’re continuing our long-standing partnership with SWISS. Our shared Swiss roots and our passion for aviation have united us for years. And the latest version of this iconic watch marks a further milestone in our collaboration.”

The new Breitling Navitimer B01 SWISS Limited Edition incorporates the typical design details of the iconic Navitimer chronograph but is also unique in its own right. The sleek anthracite dial with its black chronograph counters is deftly accented with red elements echo SWISS’s hallmark red. A small aircraft also features on the central second hand. The back of the watch bears an engraving of the SWISS logo and the inscription ‘ONE OF 700’ to confirm its limited-edition status. And the open caseback draws its inspiration from the engine of a Boeing 777-300ER. SWISS and Breitling have been official partners since 2016, bound by a passion for aviation and an uncompromising commitment to quality and precision. Earlier this year the partners intensified their collaboration in the sustainability field. Breitling now purchases sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) for all its people’s business travel on SWISS flights. This makes Breitling the first SWISS corporate customer to commit to using SAF for all such business travel. By doing so, the company has reduced the carbon dioxide emissions generated through such travel activities by 80 per cent. Breitling also offsets the remaining CO2 emissions from such travel via investments in high-quality climate protection projects. In committing to using SAF, Breitling is not only significantly reducing its own carbon footprint: it is also making a vital contribution to promoting sustainable air travel.