MAURICE LACROIX Fiaba Trio

The Swiss marque’s creative team has worked with three friends of the brand, namely Hannah, Marina, and Nadia, to conceive a trio of elegant watches. Offered in a choice of three vibrant dial shades and enriched with a circlet of 46 diamonds, the new model shines with a bold statement.
Maurice Lacroix has reimagined the brand’s Fiaba model, upholding its distinctive character while at the same time imbuing it with a sizeable dose of urban chic. Harnessing the talents of its creative team, Maurice Lacroix unveils the Fiaba Trio, a captivating story expressed in three different ways.

The Fiaba, meaning ‘fairy tale’ in Italian, has proved a popular choice for individuals seeking an unabashed feminine timepiece. Inspired by the smooth shape of a pebble that’s been refined over time by the gentle caress of sand and sea, the contours of the Fiaba prove smooth and sensual. Offered in different sizes, dial colours and, in some cases, equipped with a moon phase display, the Fiaba has always been a byword for ‘sophistication’. The Fiaba’s steel bracelet complements the model’s round case and neat crown.
Always keen to hear customer feedback, Maurice Lacroix commissioned various focus groups, asking ladies what they sought from a watch. This led to the creation of a smooth, ergonomic bracelet that cossets the wrist. The underside of each link is endowed with a small recess, augmenting wearer comfort. Beyond such practical considerations, the bracelet sits in concert with the rest of the watch while at the same time making the Fiaba stand out from the crowd. In designing the Fiaba Trio, the creative team at Maurice Lacroix have worked with three friends of the brand, members of the ML Crew: Hannah Lucy, Marina and Nadia.

Hannah Lucy Williams is an elite British athlete who regularly competes on the world stage, participating in 200m and 400m races. She came to prominence in 2020 when she won the 200-metre sprint at the British Championships. Continuously seeking to optimise her performance, Hannah always remains focussed in her pursuit of podium glory.

Marina Correira is known for her skills in longboard dancing and freestyle. Her prowess on the longboard can be attributed to her capacity to unite seemingly disparate traits, e.g. smooth and fast, elegant and wild. It is these characteristics that Marina has mastered and made her own; talents that led to her being crowned world champion.
Along with her partner Dakota, Nadia artfully expresses emotion by delivering thought-provoking performances through the medium of dance. No words are spoken, yet meaning is articulated with the precise movement of limbs, flowing in sequence with the rhythm of the moment. One half of the award-winning dance duo, Nadia has gained a reputation for saying much without uttering a word.

All three women have active lifestyles that inspired Maurice Lacroix to create three distinctive iterations of the Fiaba, each expressed in a cool, vibrant shade.
Leaf-shaped hour and minute hands, together with a lithe centre seconds hand, impart meaning. Each hour is denoted with either a tear-shaped index or an Arabic numeral, save for 12 o’clock where the brand’s M-logo indicates the midnight hour. The central area of the dial is framed with a gleaming circlet playing host to 46 SI diamonds (total 0.1242 carats), granting a tasteful quotient of glamour to this sumptuous ensemble.

Housed in a 32 mm stainless steel case, the new Fiaba Trio is available in a choice of three dial hues: Baby Blue, Blush Pink and Pistachio Green. Each colour is an expression of beauty and was inspired by said members of the ML Crew; all independent women who continuously explore the limits of human performance while still knowing when to have fun.

Breitling Endurance Pro 38 Watches

One of the things I admire most about Breitling is that while the brand is a blue-chip luxury marque, it still produces contemporary sport and tool watches powered by high-tech quartz movements. While models like the Aerospace and Emergency arguably best epitomize this side of Breitling’s catalog, the Endurance Pro is the brand’s entry-level collection of multi-purpose sports watches offering lightweight carbon composite cases and highly accurate thermo-compensated movements. While the original series of models debuted back in 2020 and was exclusively offered in a 44mm format, Breitling has created a new 38mm midsize version of its entry-level quartz chronograph as its latest release of 2024, and the new Breitling Endurance Pro 38 makes its debut appearance in five different colorways.
At the time of launch, the new Breitling Endurance Pro 38 lineup is available in purple (ref. X83310F61B1S1), pink (ref. X83310D41B1S1), white (ref. X83310A71B1S1), light blue (ref. X83310281B1S1), and red (X83310D91B2S1). Additionally, while white, blue, and red previously existed as options among the full-size Endurance Pro 44 models, the purple and pink colorways represent entirely new options for the collection. Like their larger 44mm counterparts, the new Breitling Endurance Pro 38 models feature their respective colors on their dials and straps, along with the rubberized grips for their crowns and the small contrasting rings that adorn their pushers. With that in mind, aside from their colorways, the five new Endurance Pro 38 models are otherwise identical, and they closely follow the blueprint established by the full-size models that have become a cornerstone offering within the Swiss brand’s modern lineup.
Crafted from Breitlight, which is the brand’s proprietary carbon composite material that is three times lighter than titanium and six times lighter than stainless steel, the case of the new Breitling Endurance Pro 38 watches measures 38mm in diameter by 12.1mm thick, with 18mm lugs and an overall lug-to-lug profile of 44.7mm. The use of Breitlight for the case components combined with its reduced dimensions results in an incredibly lightweight overall package of just 26.5 grams (or 49.4 grams if you include the rubber strap), and just like the larger 44mm models, the new Breitling Endurance Pro 38 watches feature flat sapphire crystals above their dials, bidirectional bezels with compass scales, screw-on casebacks crafted from Breitlight, and 100 meters of water resistance to protect against most forms of moisture contact.
Just like their cases, the dials fitted to the new Breitling Endurance Pro 38 watches are essentially just smaller versions of what can be found among the full-size 44mm models, and they feature Arabic numeral hour markers, a trio of registers, and a date window at the 4:30 position. As the Endurance Pro series is intended for athletes, a pulsometer scale is printed along a color-coordinated angled chapter ring surrounding the periphery of the dial, and the hands and hour markers are finished with Super-LumiNova for increased legibility in dark settings. Just like a standard chronograph, two of the three sub-dials on the Breitling Endurance Pro models are occupied by a running seconds register and a 30-minute totalizer; however, rather than counting the elapsed hours, the third register measures times down to 1/10th of a second to allow users to take advantage of the Endurance Pro’s high-accuracy quartz chronograph movement.
While the full-size 44mm models are powered by the Caliber 82, the new Breitling Endurance Pro 38 watches receive the brand’s Caliber 83 thermo-compensated SuperQuartz movement, which offers a smaller diameter to better correspond to the collection’s reduced sizing. Despite being quartz, the Breitling Cal. 83 is a COSC-certified chronometer, which means that it adheres to the accuracy standards of -/+10 seconds per year, and as one of the brand’s SuperQuartz designs, the Cal. 83 features an integrated regulation system that counteracts the effects of temperature fluctuations that would normally impact the timekeeping of a traditional quartz movement. However, just like the Cal. 82 used inside the larger 44mm models, the Breitling Cal. 83 is listed as having a battery life of approximately two years, and this undeniably seems rather short compared to what can be found elsewhere within the industry.
Fitted to the 18mm lugs of the new Breitling Endurance Pro 38 watches are rubber straps that match the colorway of each model. Unlike the straps found on the original 44mm Endurance Pro watches that have the “Breitling” name boldly embossed into their outer surfaces, the straps fitted to the new midsize models offer an updated textured design that more closely mirrors what can be found on the latest generation of the Superocean. That said, rather than having a chunky folding clasp, the straps fitted to the new Endurance Pro 38 models are completed by tang-style buckles crafted from Breitlight to further lean into the lightweight structure of the collection. In addition to debuting on the new Endurance Pro 38, this new style of rubber strap is also being carried over to the 44mm models, and Breitling has also released updated versions of the Endurance Pro 44 in dark blue, orange, white, and light blue with updated rubber straps.

Breitling Endurance Pro 44

Whether you’re a fighter pilot, a civilian aviator, or just a dyed-in-the-wool tool watch enthusiast, there’s a pretty good chance that your first brush with Breitling was one of its Professional watches – a broad line of stylish quartz-powered references that has remained one of the brand’s core collections since its informal debut as the Aerospace in 1985. Over the last three and a half decades, the Professional umbrella has evolved dramatically, from the entry-level Aerospace to more feature-rich offerings like the rugged Chronospace, the state-of-the-art Exospace, and the mighty Emergency – a legendary adventure watch capable of summoning a helicopter (ie: the world’s most expensive Uber ride) for when things go really sideways. Given its cool, modern aesthetic and long legacy of highly accurate, multi-function utility watches, the Professional line is a natural home for Breitling Endurance Pro – another category-specific tool watch, this time designed with athletes in mind.
With regards to its Professional collection stablemates, the new Endurance Pro probably has the most in common in both proportion and functionality with the Chronospace Evo – a fully analog spin-off of the ana-digi hybrid Aerospace Evo. Though marketed at pilots, the modern Aerospace was already an excellent multi-sport & adventure watch (and a perfect cycling watch, I’ll add), thanks to its light weight, easy wearability, and multiple functions. The new Breitling Endurance Pro carries that torch, reportedly with design input from Breitling ambassador and three-time Ironman World Champion Jan Frodeno, yielding a reference that mixes in a few new elements, including a Breitlight carbon fiber composite case that’s 30% lighter than titanium, a bi-directional rotating compass bezel (likely cribbed from the Chronospace Military), and a subtly updated aesthetic, which appears to be reflecting the new art direction for the Professional collection as a whole.
Now it doesn’t matter if you’re a professional athlete like Frodeno or a fitness enthusiast logging miles between a regular nine-to-five, if you run, swim, or ride bikes and appreciate watches, you already know that finding just the ‘right’ watch to keep you on-time and your wrist tanline dutifully maintained during training season can be a tricky affair. An oversized dive or pilot watch might have the shock countermeasures requisite to keep an automatic movement running accurately, but these larger designs often trade legibility for weight – and a distracting, top-heavy watch is hardly the right choice, especially during longer or harder efforts. Conversely, though a cheap, battery-powered watch might be the safest concession (especially in the instance of a crash or a fall) in this instance, it undoubtedly lacks that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that many athletes seek out when it comes time to personalize their gear or riding kit.
Obviously, most professional athletes tend to train or race with GPS-enabled digital devices that measure efforts and comprehensively track workout data, but just as a professional divemaster might wear a digital dive computer on every outing, the Breitling Endurance Pro isn’t meant to replace such a device, it’s meant to supplement it. By the same token, I ride with a Wahoo Roam, which displays power, heart rate, VAM (when climbing), along with distance and elevation metrics, but I leave the day’s timekeeping to the wrist, as I simply prefer to wear a watch. Plus, I’ve had head units die on me while out on a ride, and at least being able to get home in time for brunch is never a bad thing. Two is one, and one is none, right?
Ultimately, I’m particularly impressed that Breitling has actually touched on the elements of not just what makes a sports watch cool, but one that’s actually useful in practice – y’know, as a sports watch. In keeping with the traditions I’d come to expect from Breitling, it’s detail-rich, quite masculine by design, and extremely well made. And in the same traditions, it’s also large and legible at a glance, but hardly unwearable – thanks to the impressive lightness of its 44mm x 12.5mm Breitlight case, which weighs a scant 35 grams without its rubber strap (funnily enough, the strap weighs about the same, adding 30 grams to the total package). And it’s powered by a quartz movement – which, though perhaps not the first choice for many watch enthusiasts, is actually in practice, a much safer and more accurate option from workout to workout.
Piggy-backing off the Chronospace Evo, the Breitling Endurance Pro movement in question deployed for the Endurance is an in-house manufactured 1/10th of a second quartz chronograph calibre, though unlike the aforementioned, the Endurance uses Breitling’s Caliber 82, which trades the Evo’s 24-hour register at 9:00 for a 30 minute counter. This is a thermo-compensated, COSC-certified Chronometer movement, and it’s awfully nice to see some brands still catering to HAQ (high-accuracy quartz) watch fans – in addition to the athlete community.

Breitling Adds A Trio Of Aviation-Inspired Chronographs To Its Avenger Collection

Last year, Breitling introduced its updated Avenger collection, a slightly scaled-down, sleeker take on the original Avenger. That collection included a ceramic “Night Mission” chronograph. Now, Breitling Night Mission Avenger has added a trio of chronographs that pay homage to the U.S. Navy.
Like last year’s Breitling Night Mission Avenger, this trio uses a 44mm (15.2mm thick, 53mm lug-to-lug) black ceramic case and is powered by Breitling’s manufacturer caliber B01 chronograph. It’s a COSC-certified, column-wheel, vertical-clutch movement with a 70-hour power reserve. The manufacture movement represents a technical leap forward for the Avenger chronograph. It’s still a big watch that won’t be for everyone, but that’s what we expect – even ask – of Breitling. And with downsized offerings in other corners of the catalog, this keeps the Avenger true to its original purpose.
This new trio is differentiated, I suppose, by a military tie-in with the U.S. Naval Academy and two of its elite flying squadrons, the Dust Devils and the Bloodhounds. Their respective logos sit on the nine o’clock subdial, and there are also some engravings around around the sapphire caseback.

Of course, special edition also means special price, and these have an MSRP of $10,200, a $500 premium over the standard Night Missions. When I wrote about a collection of 17 vintage Breitlings a few weeks ago, I mentioned that a little 34mm gold Premier chrono was my favorite of the bunch. So a 44mm ceramic chronograph that leans into military and aviation is decidedly not for me, which is fine. But a $10,000 chronograph that leans into Breitling’s history of aviation and military in a pretty specific way also feels like it might have a niche appeal. I don’t mind the Navy tie-in, but the logos at nine o’clock just seem a bit random and loud. At their best – and back in the day – these military watches have subtle nods to their purpose as a tool for service men and women. Perhaps even just a caseback engraving. But beyond the logos, the combination of colors, straps, and ceramic on these new Avengers do look cool and covert.

Besides that, I actually like the updated Avenger and the ceramic “Night Mission” might be the best executed – it manages to sit somewhere between the Breitling Night Mission Avenger of 20 years ago and the Breitling of today in a way that feels true to the brand.

Grand Seiko Evolution 9 H-Beat

You may or may not be surprised to know that Grand Seiko was the only non-European watchmaker to have a booth at Watches & Wonders 2024. Even though the other Japanese timepiece companies haven’t quite figured out what their relationship with Switzerland’s watch tradeshows should be, Grand Seiko is firmly dedicated to the fact that its brand and products are just as good (if not often better) than much of what you’ll see in the expansive Palexpo hall each year. I like that attitude, even if the luxury offshoot of Seiko as a concept has not quite settled into what its long-term brand personality or image is necessarily going to be. What is certain is that Grand Seiko is confident in its deserved reputation for craftsmanship and detailing, along with the position of its products in the market. That means Grand Seiko is, in many ways, different from the brand I first got to know about 20 years ago, and that, as a concept, Grand Seiko has a lot more stories to tell and innovations to offer.

One of the new Grand Seiko watches for 2024 is an extension of the Evolution 9 case family known as the Evolution 9 Hi-Beat “Genbi Valley” SLGH021. Genbi Valley is a place in Japan whose green-blue waterways inspired the textured dial of this particular Grand Seiko watch. I will be the first to admit that while most limited-edition Grand Seiko dials are beautiful, I don’t really know precisely what Grand Seiko was always thinking when it designed them. I suppose the true mystery to me is whether the brand saw something in nature and then wanted to remember it in wristwatch form, or alternatively, if it was simply experimenting with interesting textures, materials, and colors. Once it settled on something it liked, it then polled the team to ask, “Does this remind you guys of anything?” Eventually, I will learn the answer as to whether the dial or the inspiration comes first.
The Evolution 9 case is supposed to be a slightly sporty, albeit still elegant, dressy watch. Here it is in Grand Seiko’s “Ever-Brilliant Steel” and sized at 40mm wide, 11.7mm thick, and with a modest 47mm-long lug-to-lug distance. It has a 22mm wide (at the lugs) matching steel bracelet that is quite comfortable and closed on a Grand Seiko folding deployant clasp. At this time, the bracelet does not have a micro-adjust feature, but I understand that Grand Seiko has been developing one for a while. I would like to think that when it comes out with a modern micro-adjust system for its bracelets, such a deployant will be (as much as is practical) backward-compatible with existing bracelet hardware.

The Evolution 9 case is also water resistant to 100 meters and has a flat, AR-coated sapphire crystal over the dial. While not particularly distinct from many other Grand Seiko dials, the Evolution 9 face is clean, classic, and very legible. Inside the SLGH021 watch is one Grand Seiko’s in-house made “hi-beat” (high-beat) automatic movements which operate at 5Hz (36,000 bph). This makes the Hi-Beat movements a bit more accurate over time than a 4Hz mechanical movement because the faster speed is better at averaging out rate result errors that can occur in the spinning balance wheel. That said, for more accuracy, there are Grand Seiko’s Spring Drive movement models, as well as its high-accuracy quartz watches, as well. If you want the most sophisticated fully mechanical movements Grand Seiko makes, the 5Hz calibers are for you.
You can view the nicely decorated caliber 9SA5 automatic movement through the sapphire crystal window on the back of the case. In addition to its 36,000 bph operating speed, the movement has 80 hours of power reserve. Grand Seiko claims accuracy of +5/-3 seconds per day, but many people who wear these watches suggest even more accuracy than that. The 9SA5 movement features indication of the time with central seconds and the date. I really enjoy Grand Seiko Spring Drive and quartz movements very much, but if I wanted to go mechanical in a Grand Seiko, the 9SA5 mechanism is beautiful to look at, and no slouch performance-wise.

Bell & Ross BR 03 Diver

In 2017, Bell & Ross launched the BR03-92 Diver, bringing the “circle in a square” aesthetic to the underwater world. It was a proper dive watch with a rotating bezel and 300-metre depth rating, and it met the international standard ISO 6425 requirements. There are now five new models for 2024 that bring improvements such as upgraded mechanics, updated typography, enlarged indices, redesigned hands and adaptable straps. Both ceramic and steel cases are offered, although ceramic options like the BR 03-92 Diver Tara in Blue Ceramic have been available since 2019. Let’s take a closer look at the 2024 collection of the Bell & Ross BR 03 Diver.
The case dimensions remain as previous editions of the BR 03 Diver, at 42mm x 42mm with an approximate thickness of 12mm. This new collection comes in satin/polished stainless steel or black ceramic. The steel options feature three dial colours, black, blue and white, while the ceramic model has either a matte black or pale blue all Super-LumiNova dial. For the steel models, there’s a 60-minute unidirectional rotating bezel with colour-coordinated ceramic bezel inserts – black with the black and white dials, and blue with the blue dial. A detailed 15-minute scale is included for diving.
Larger applied indices and new arrow hour and minute hands have white Super-LumiNova inserts (pale green on the white dial) and a circular, dial-matching date window blends in well between 4 and 5 o’clock. The familiar arrangement of an exposed screw at each corner of the square case remains, while the screw-down crown is fully guarded and matches the bezel colour. Water resistance is again rated at 300 metres with ISO 6425 compliance.
The black ceramic models follow the same aesthetic as their steel counterparts, but with a stealthier vibe. The standout is the pale blue Super-LumiNova dial that glows in tandem with the indices and hands for maximum legibility in darkness. This was first seen in 2020 with full-lume ceramic BR 03 Diver models, although those were limited editions. All five models have AR sapphire crystals and solid casebacks secured via four screws. While the BR 03 Diver collection included bronze models as well in the past, like the BR 03-92 Diver Bronze introduced in 2018, this style hasn’t been renewed (yet). Straps are black textured rubber or black ultra-resistant synthetic canvas, with the blue steel model getting a matching blue strap.
Powering all of the new BR 03 Diver models is the Caliber BR-CAL.302-1 automatic, based on the Sellita SW300-1. It has 25 jewels, a beat rate of 28,800vph (4Hz) and an extended power reserve of 54 hours – an upgrade we’ve also seen on the classic BR 03 Collection update last year. Functions include central hours, minutes, hacking seconds and date. This is a proven workhorse and solid performer, and has been used with the entire BR 03 Diver collection.

RICHARD MILLE RM 65-01 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph

Richard Mille is presenting the RM 65-01 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph Pastel Blue Quartz TPT and the RM 65-01 Automatic Split-Seconds Chronograph Dark Yellow Quartz TPT, two new executions of its high-frequency rattrapante chronograph.
The first model comes in a case crafted of pastel blue Quartz TPT and will join the collection. The second version, issued in a limited edition of 120 pieces, features a dark yellow Quartz TPT. Measuring 44.50 x 49.94 x 16.10 mm and water resistant to 50 metres / 165 feet, their tripartite cases frame skeletonised dials that stand out for the use of vibrant colours to enhance legibility despite numerous indications. Each colour is associated with a function on the dial, thereby enhancing ease of reading. This colour code is shared with the pushers and crown.
Bezel, caseband and caseback are crafted from Quartz TPT, developed by NTPT (North Thin Ply Technology), a composite material made of multiple layers of silica fibres, saturated with resins specially developed for Richard Mille and heated to 120° at a pressure of 6 bars. The result is not only aesthetically pleasing but also remarkable for its extreme resistance. The large crown in microblasted, polished and satin-finished Grade 5 titanium is framed by the chronograph buttons, also in polished and satin-finished Grade 5 titanium. The same material and finish are used for the plate engraved with RM 65-01 on the caseband. The rapid-winding pusher at 8 o’clock stands out with its red or blue Quartz TPT button.
Pressing this pusher 125 times fully winds the barrel, ensuring a power reserve of up to 60 hours (without the chronograph running). This practical and ‘playful’ function was challenging to develop due to its high torque transfer. During the ageing tests, the function was activated thousands of times.

Equipped with a six-column wheel, the calibre RMAC4 features a high-frequency balance with variable inertia, oscillating at 36,000 vibrations per hour with stopwatch calculations to 1/10th of a second. The function selector on the crown enables the wearer to switch quickly from traditional
winding mode (W) to setting the semi-instantaneous date (D) or the hours and minutes (H). The RM 65-01 uses a variable geometry to optimise the rotor’s winding motion. By adjusting the 3-position weight, the rotor’s inertia can be adjusted to either speed up the winding process in the case of leisurely arm movements, or to slow it down during sporting activities. The new models add to the other RM 65-01 versions in Red Gold, Titanium, Grey Quartz TPT and Carbon TPT.

Ulysse Nardin Diver Net OPS & Diver X Skeleton OPS

Sustainability is a big trend in watchmaking today as brands jump on the bandwagon of environmentally friendly products. Some, like Chopard, ensure the sustainable source of their gold, while others look to innovative recycled materials with a lower carbon footprint. As a brand with legitimate and historical maritime ties, Ulysse Nardin’s environmental focus is the sea. One of its first watches to use recycled fishing nets was the Diver Net Concept Watch of 2020. Turning to its Diver collection again in 2024, Ulysse Nardin gives its Diver and Diver X Skeleton models a sustainable makeover with on-trend camouflage.
Used by animals to blend into the environment and survive attacks from predators, camouflage crossed over into the military to keep soldiers and their kit protected from enemy fire. A trend adopted across the board in watchmaking, Ulysse Nardin kitted its Freak One in military green to great effect. Borrowing the rugged military camo uniform of the Freak, the Diver Net Ops and Diver X Skeleton Ops (ops for operations) are prepped for action above and below the waves.
The more rugged 300m water-resistant Diver Net Ops comes in a 44mm case. Using Nylo (recycled fishing nets) and Carbonium (carbon fibre used for fuselage and wings of aircraft) for the flanks and caseback combined with recycled stainless steel for the movement holder, the brand claims the watch reduces its environmental impact by 40% compared to traditional cases. To complete the materials menu, the marbled unidirectional rotating bezel is made of Carbonium and the khaki green strap is partially made from recycled fishing nets. The watch can also be ordered with a green rubber strap and a black ceramic UN element.
The khaki sandblasted dial is traversed by the signature X, picked out in green and black for the occasion. Thanks to the application of beige Super-LumiNova with a green emission, the indices and hands light up in the dark. Slightly recessed, the small seconds counter at 6 o’clock with an integrated date window with a green background is counterbalanced at noon by the power reserve indicator.
Powered by the brand’s first in-house base calibre (UN-118), this automatic movement is fitted with cutting-edge nanotechnology in the form of a DiamonSil escapement (an alliance of silicium and artificial diamond) and a silicium hairspring. The movement uses 50 jewels, runs at a rate of 28,800vph and provides 60 hours of power reserve.
A fusion of the Diver and the Skeleton, this new edition of the Diver X Skeleton goes commando and reveals its movement front and back thanks to the incorporation of UN’s skeletonised automatic movement. Still measuring 44mm but with a slightly thicker profile of 15.7mm, the 200m water-resistant case also features Carbonium details on the unidirectional rotating bezel and inside the movement on the barrel cover at noon. However, to reduce some of the weight, the case and caseback are made of black DLC titanium with sandblasted and satin finishes.
The oversized double X traversing the openworked dial neatly frames the large oscillator and silicium escapement at 6 o’clock. Black hour indices, suspended on the flange, are treated with beige Super-LumiNova to match the black hands. Matching the camo colour scheme, the khaki fabric strap is partially made from upcycled fishing nets or a green rubber strap. It is attached to the wrist with a black ceramic and black PVD titanium deployant buckle. On the reverse, other features of the UN-372 calibre are revealed. Its large X-shaped rotor has openworked areas to avoid interfering with the view of the movement. The automatic movement beats at 21,600vph and delivers a sturdy 72-hour power reserve.

BREITLING Chronomat B01

Breathing new life into old things is a particular talent of today’s luxury Swiss watch industry. The formula is simple. Take something from the past, adopt it for the tastes of today, and make sure when people see it they aren’t quite sure what era it was made for. Breitling’s re-launch of the Chronomat with the tube-style “Rouleaux” bracelet is very much an exercise in what today’s watch industry does best. Breitling quietly puts the previous Chronomat model to rest (it had been produced for a decade or more), and then brings back something from the Breitling world that I don’t believe retailers have seen in their shops since the 1990s.

The bad news is that terms like “Chronomat” have become a lot like “911” (in Porsche terms). They do mean a type of car/watch, but they don’t necessarily refer to any one particular item. So let’s call this watch by its slightly more precise (albeit just as vague) name, the Breitling Chronomat Bo1 42. Other parts of the aBlogtoWatch team have seen this watch before me. Launched in 2020 during the pandemic, it was not possible for us to all meet with Breitling at one inclusive event. aBlogtoWatch first launched the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 watch here, and then a bit later our David Bredan went hands-on with the larger Breitling Chronomat B01 42 timepeice collection here.
The question I wanted to answer for myself with the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 was how well it stood up to the competition given what works with collectors today. With prices starting at just above $8,000, the Chronomat is not just another fun aviation-inspired tool watch, but a serious luxury item that buyers will need to pit against Rolex, Omega, Blancpain, Glashutte Original, TAG Heuer, IWC, etc…. The challenge for Breitling is to produce a product that does three things well at the same time. The first thing is that the watch needs to fit the mold of a traditional tool watch. Second is that the watch needs to be visually handsome and complementary to the style of the wearer. Third, the watch needs to come from a brand whose appeal and popularity today merit luxury positioning and buying confidence.

Many would argue that compared to a lot of other brands Breitling is more of those things than much of the competition – especially in regard to branding and luxury positioning. Currently, under the leadership of Georges Kern, Breitling was fortunate to get a leg up on other brands by having been able to release a number of new watches late 2019 and early 2020 (whereas most of the competition was waiting to release new watches that trade shows canceled by the pandemic). Breitling has also been investing a lot in marketing prior to the pandemic, and the momentum of that noise has carried on into the first half of 2020. For now, Breitling is rather hot with collectors, which means that an attractive and spirited new product collection will command even more attention and be gobbled up by consumers now versus after the market has had time to become more familiar with the product.
The core story behind the Chronomat is the type of military tie-in which is at the basis of so many great timepiece tales. In around 1984 Breitling produced a watch for a squadron of Italian airforce pilots (the Frecce Tricolori) that eventually turned into the first Chronomat models. This is when Breitling debuted both the Rouleaux bracelet and the rotating bezel with the “rider tabs” (that I called “bezel claws”). This look (especially the bezel) dominated the look of Breitling watches for nearly a decade. When Breitling started to make their own in-house caliber B01 automatic chronograph movements, the Chronomat lost that bezel and bracelet – turning into something a bit more generic (albeit still very nice) and help carry Breitling through an important era. On aBlogtoWatch I reviewed the previous generation Breitling Chronomat 44 GMT here. While it features the same movement, the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is a very different watch. What I find interesting is that while it is inspired by nearly all generations of Breitling Chronomat watches, it ends up being something entirely new altogether.
The case size has been something of a conversation topic. People are trying to lean toward more comfortable and easy to wear watches – which means some larger Breitling watches of old are more passe in style. The previous-gen Chronomat’s largest case size was 47mm-wide — clearly massive for many wrists. The 2024 Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is 42mm-wide and about 15mm-thick. It wears large but not too large, in my opinion. The sense of size is really a function of all the nicely polished steel and the wide lugs combined with the dramatic tapering of the Rouleaux bracelet. As always for Breitling, the steel case (two-tone or an all gold version is also available) is exceptionally well-made with excellent finishing. I have always stood by the opinion that Breitling makes some of the best cases on the market when it comes to crisp details and the quality of polishes and surface treatments.
Breitling also now has a watch that at least in appearance competes in the “steel watch with integrated bracelet market.” For me, that is the best trick that the Chronomat B01 42 plays since it isn’t traditionally thought of as a watch that fits that style — now it does. From a construction standpoint, the new bracelet is nothing like the traditional Rouleaux bracelets of a few decades ago. These new ones are built more like contemporary luxury products with parts being individually machines and polished, and generally using much more sturdy pieces of metal. Old Rouleaux bracelet would bend and stretch over time. This bracelet doesn’t appear to be prone to any of that type of wear over time. The fresh form of the bracelet is what is important. It is comfortable yes, but more important is that it sticks out and helps the experience of wearing a Breitling Chronomat B01 42 be more distinctive. This will only help increase the value of the watch for many consumers, as people don’t want generic luxury watch experiences at these price points.

The new rotating bezel design is clearly inspired by the original Chronomat watches, but they lack a lot of the funky character. Breitling did an amazing job of making them feel refined and high-end, for sure. That said, the oddity of the screwed-on “rider tabs” and the peripheral screws that jut out are gone. The bezel of the new Chronomat collection does even have those screws around the periphery, but they are effectively minimized such that you can’t really call them a key part of the piece’s personality. It isn’t that the bezel is a missed opportunity, but rather that Breitling made the specific decision it should not be a major part of the new Chronomat’s distinctive features — they left that to the bracelet.
Many brands including Breitling have delighted in updated vintage “hot dog on a stick” style hour and minute hands to make them feel a bit more modern and angular. Likewise, the new Chronomat’s hands take the shape of vintage Chronomat watches and render them for today’s tastes. The tri-compax array chronograph dials of the Chronomat watches are very refined and elegant and demonstrate a sort of simple conservatism that today’s Breitling enjoys. The dial experience works because of the familiar look and the good use of colors and materials. Breitling isn’t innovating much in this area, but I don’t think the dial will leave anyone feeling anything but, “That’s a handsome watch.”

I do like that Breitling managed to engineer out the screw-down chronograph pushers. This vestigial element was designed to offer more water and elemental resistance, but for the most part simply prevented more people from using the chronograph. The watch still manages to be water-resistant to 200 meters without the screw-down chronograph pushers — a success, in my opinion. I also like the slightly oversized look of the crown and the design of the entire crown and pusher region of the watch on the right of the case. Depending on your taste and budget, Breitling offers the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 case and bracelet in all steel, or with various degrees of gold for two-tone models. An all-gold model exists, but I do not yet believe there is a solid-gold bracelet option. Eventually, there will be, and that will make one hell of a bold statement on the wrist for those who can fork over for it.
With variety in mind, Breitling designed the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 to be available in literally dozens of versions of the years. Simply by swapping colors and materials, the chore Breitling Chronomat B01 42 case with chronograph movement can be rendered in so many interesting ways. I happen to love those dials with contrasting subdials, and for now, I happen to prefer the watch in all steel. The movement isn’t new, but Breitling’s in-house-made caliber B01 automatic chronograph is a great performer and has held up well. It still looks great in execution, and while not industry-leading in any regard, is a stable 4Hz frequency movement with about 70 hours of power reserve. You can view the movement through the sapphire crystal window on the rear of the watch.

BREITLING Superocean Automatic

Sure, Breitling might be most recognized – and rightly so – for its pilot’s and aviation-inspired watches. But it didn’t just leave exploring the depths of the oceans to its competitors. No, in 1957, Breitling introduced the SuperOcean, both as a time-only diver and (true to form) as a chronograph. Soon, it’d release other vintage models like the SuperOcean “Slow Motion” and the Chrono-Matic, now favorites of modern enthusiasts.
What we have here is the Breitling SuperOcean Automatic 42 A17366, a dive watch from 2019 measuring 42mm in diameter and 13.5mm in thickness. This modern Breitling SuperOcean Automatic is an impressive dive watch with 500 meters of water resistance, more than you’ll find on many of its competitors. It’s defined by a number of bold design choices. It starts with the thick and deeply-toothed, unidirectional bezel that features raised indices as a luxurious touch. The dial is a similar matte black, with large raised Arabic numerals and indices, giving off the impression that modern diving functionality was actually considered in the design of this dive watch. At 42mm in diameter and about 50.5mm lug-to-lug, the stainless steel case is large, but not unmanageable for many wrist sizes.

This Breitling SuperOcean Automatic is powered by the Breitling caliber 17, an automatic movement based on the ETA 2824-2 – a no-nonsense movement that means the SuperOcean continues to be a reliable, (relatively) affordable option for those looking for a no-fuss modern diver.