After spending the past winter in the quarantine doldrums, who could be blamed for craving something uplifting and colorful on their wrist? This trio of new Breitlings delivers sporty style with a sultry attitude that mixes masculine and feminine elements in good measure.
Capsule collections like this allow Breitling to harness the power of exclusivity without getting into numbered limited editions. Produced for a short time, usually a few months, a capsule collection seeks to tell a specific story rooted in the history of its core family, all while injecting a sense of urgency to get one before they’re gone.
While the Chronomat Automatic 36 South Sea Capsule Collection is aimed at “fashion-forward women of action, purpose, and style,” there’s no reason to limit them, given the masculine profile of the 36mm brushed steel Chronomat case – even if the bezel is dotted with a tropical wave of 55 ombre-colored sapphires and rubies encircling frosty lacquer dials in shades of beige, midnight blue, and minty green. The matching alligator straps are wide and well proportioned, underscoring unisex possibilities. So, while it’s intended for her, it’s not hard to imagine certain confident guys who embrace color and jewels wearing one – especially the green one. In a way, this is Breitling’s answer to the Rainbow Daytona.
In 2018, after taking over as CEO of Breitling the previous year, Georges Kern laid out his goals for the brand at the launch of the Navitimer 8 in New York. During the event, Kern spoke of breaking Breitling out of what he called “a niche of a niche” with techy pilot watches; updating its dusty, chauvinistic marketing image; and tapping into the brand’s esteemed history as a well-rounded producer of different kinds of watches, including women’s watches.
Subsequently, Breitling rolled out the Navitimer 35 and 38 and the sporty Superocean 36, downsized versions of its iconic models that offer a better fit for women’s wrists. However, they are anything but demure for the gal who opts to don her guy’s brawny Breitling over something designed for “ladies.”
Unisex watches have become an especially hot topic among women watch enthusiasts, including HODINKEE’s own Cara Barrett. Female collectors are done being pigeon-holed. However, the conversation usually revolves around “men’s” watches that could just as easily be worn by women. These Breitlings are the reverse.
The new Breitling Chronomat Automatic 36 South Sea is far from girly, yet it fully embraces fashion with colors that evoke hot summer nights. It’s refreshing to see a design blend fashion flair with a bold, steel 36mm case, plus an automatic mechanical movement with street cred. Used for last year’s Superocean Heritage ’57 Capsule Collection, the Breitling Caliber 10 boasts COSC-certified chronometer status and delivers a power reserve of about 42 hours.
The rose-gold applied indexes with lume offer a warm contrast against the cool steel cases, and the diamonds on each dial add just a touch of glitz. With its seasonal theme, it’s only natural to want to see future Breitling Chronomat Automatic 36 capsules with more edgy color schemes.
Given the trio’s fashionable flair, Breitling leaned into its partnership with DREST, an immersive fashion and styling game (playable via mobile app), that combines gaming, luxury fashion, e-commerce, community, content, and entertainment. Players get to test their fashion sense as a stylist creating a digital photoshoot and mood boards by choosing from a virtual wardrobe of actual luxury fashion items from more than 200 global fashion brands, including Burberry, Gucci, Louboutin, and Bottega Veneta. Naturally, everything is for sale. Given DREST’s heavily young and female audience, Breitling saw the app as a fun and inclusive way to introduce its watches to a new clientele. Yet another sign of the times.