Breitling was established in 1884 by Leon Breitling in the Swiss Jura Mountains, in 1915 Gaston Breitling introduced a pusher at 2 o’clock to start, stop and reset the chronograph, Leon later moved the reset to a pusher at 4 o’clock. In 1939 Breitling shipped a huge quantity of chronographs to the Royal Air Force, during the war with Germany surrounding Switzerland Leon and some friends created a makeshift runway near their factory. Planes would use the car's headlights as a guide to land, once on the ground, they were quickly loaded, taking off before the Germans knew what was going on. They introduced the “Navitimer” a navigation computer in 1952 used to calculate a flight plan. In 1969 they collaborated with Heuer, Burne, and Dubois-Depraz on a top-secret project called Project 99, together they developed one of the first self-winding chronograph movements. Breitling stands for high precision, outstanding performance, and functionality. During the early days of space exploration, Lt. Commander Scott Carpenter went around the earth three times whilst wearing a modified Navitimer. In 2017 they were sold to CVC Capital Partners, Europe's largest private equity firm.
Here we have an Unworn 2022 Breitling Top Time Triumph A23311 with a 41mm stainless steel case, inspired by the stylish “cafe racers” of the 1960s, Willy Breitling has taken the design cues from a blue Triumph Thunderbird 6T from 1951 and a rare ice-blue Breitling Top Time Ref. 815 from the 1970s. Thick tapered lugs with a lug-to-lug length of 51mm and a case thickness of 15mm give the watch an impressive wrist presence and polished and brushed surfaces transition with crisp edges. On the right side, we have the piston chronograph pushers and a signed screw-down crown. A polished smooth bezel holds a domed sapphire crystal sitting above a vertical textured two-tone ice-blue bi-compax dial. An outer Tachymetre is precisely printed with a minute track underneath, lume pips and baton indexes mark the hours. At 3 o’clock a 30-minute register with a black background and concentric circles and at 9 o’clock a continuous seconds register with a black background and concentric circles complete this sporty bi-compax. Steel sword hands have lume infill complemented by a white tapered chronograph hand, at 12 o’clock we have the Breitling motif and at 6 o’clock we have the Triumph logo. On the reverse a screw-down case back with a Triumph motorcycle engine engraved in the centre, inside an automatic Breitling Cal. 23, 27 jewels, 28,800 beats per hour, this Chronometer Certified movement has a base of the ETA 7753. The watch comes fitted on a Breitling 20mm leather strap with a signed buckle and comes with its Breitling presentation box and paperwork.
A truly fantastic release by Breitling and one that sold out incredibly fast, I think we can all see why. Beautiful design and the collaboration with Triumph have been done very well without screaming too loud what it is, it's a nod to those who know. The dial colour is fascinating too, very hard to capture or describe, but once in hand, you get to see how well it works with the design. For me, this feels like a wonderful homage to vintage Breitling but done in a great modern way.