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.