Late 2018 saw Breitling update their range with the release of new models. The arrival of Georges Kern as the CEO of Breitling gave the brand a revived outlook. He is focusing on meeting the expectations of the brand’s two primary consumers. The customers who prefer masculine and technology inspired watches and customers that prefer Breitling’s extended history and their vintage designs. The Breitling Premier collection released in 2018 as part of Georges Kern’s product portfolio falls into the revamped vintage category. The outcome is that the brand delivers timepieces that combine purpose, style, quality while keeping to a timeless design.
As quoted by Georges Kern, the Premier Collection is “the first modern Breitling collection dedicated to everyday elegance. With outstanding quality and performance, these watches bear our unmistakable brand DNA, but has been created with a focus on style that beautifully complements their purpose“.
The Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 is certainly a watch that stands true to this statement. The Premier B01 Chronograph 42 is a modern take on the vintage piece released initially in the 1940’s; the Breitling Premier Chronograph reference 790. Back when the Breitling Premier Chronograph reference 790 was released, several countries worldwide were involved in World War II. During this period in history, people would look to the golden age of cinema and other forms of entertainment to escape from the realities of World War II.
Willy Breitling, who at the time was the CEO of the brand, was also looking to escape from the harsh realities of global conflict. This is when Willy Breitling ingeniously decided that the release of a fashionable statement wristwatch could allow people to get their minds away from the World War.
Breitling during the 1940s was already a well-established brand, thanks to the timepieces created for aviation and military use along with the pieces created for professionals. When Willy Breitling decided to develop the Premier Collection, the design played a vital role. The models were typically crafted with gold and came with leather straps, making it more of a fashionable dress watch.
The Premier collection came with Breitling’s excellent standard of quality and craftsmanship, while also featuring chronograph movements on some models. Unlike the aviation and military style watches by Breitling, the Premier Collection was much more suited to classy events such as theatre openings or fashionable Jazz clubs. The Premier collection released in 1940 set the stage for what will become one of the brands most stylish and fashionable pieces of 2018, almost 80 years later.
The modern Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 comes in six dial variations; a blue, black, silver and black-eye grey along with two Bentley collaboration pieces. The design of the dials reflect the original Chronograph Reference 790 from 1940. Breitling tried to keep as much of the original as possible, with the modern pieces getting design variations from the case sizing, date window addition and the hour indexes to the chronograph pushers.
The black-eye grey model of the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 comes with a beautiful yet subtle sunburst grey dial, which comes alive under direct light. The dual black sub-dials showcase a minute counter and constant seconds counter with a nice contrast on the sunburst grey dial. Under different lighting angles, the black sub-dials also have a slight hint of a sunburst effect, which is not very common in modern-day watches. The use of black on the tachymeter scale on the outer ring of the dial, further compounds the impact of the black and grey theme on the dial. A hint of colour is added to the watch with the word “tachymeter” on the tachymeter scale and the tip of the chronograph seconds hand being done in red. This adds to the overall appeal of the watch.
The applied hour markers and the hands have a silver-toned finish that grab your attention when seen under different lighting angles. The silver-toned finish of the markers is matched with the impeccable polished finish of the 42mm stainless steel casing. This case does wonders for this piece as it adds a level of shine that can be noticed from some distance. The chronograph pushers used for the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 is a square integrated design, unlike the traditional round pushers used throughout modern watches (even the Premier Chronograph reference 790). Overall, Breitling has brilliantly combined the sunburst dial with the polished casing resulting in a timepiece that is eye-catching.
The movement behind the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 is the Calibre 01. This is Breitling’s first in house automatic movement which was released back in 2009. After developing the movement for up to almost 5 years, Breitling was able to put the calibre B01 into large scale production, with each movement being COSC certified. The B01 calibre has a vertical coupling system which eliminates hand jumping once the chronograph feature is enabled and also reduces potential differences that may occur between the displays (sub-dials). The B01 movement produces a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. This is exceptional for a self winding movement as its produced from a single barrel. Since the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 comes with an open case back, you can see the beautiful B01 movement in action.
Breitling’s Premier collection was designed to be a fashionable statement piece. Overall, the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 is a versatile timepiece that is suitable for many occasions.
The curved lugs mean that the 42mm case isn’t too big and will fit snug on the wrist. With a thickness of 13.65mm, the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 doesn’t feel bulky. These features in addition to its simple dial with chronograph features give the model a sporty look that can be worn daily including the office. Thanks to the brilliant polished 42mm casing, this timepiece is also complimentary with formal attire and looks great when matched with a coat or jacket.
The black-eye grey dial is more subtle in appearance when compared to the rest of the dials in the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 range, but it still draws you in and demands attention.
The Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 can either come with a steel bracelet, black leather or grey suede finish strap. The Black leather or grey suede finish strap would be the preferred choice for this model as the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 is essentially a very fashionable dress watch.