Whether or not you agree with me, I feel that this is the watch Breitling should be making – so it’s good that they actually are. At Baselworld 2017, Breitling will debut this Colt Skyracer, which is the tool watch everyone should want from the brand. A tool watch is supposed to be comfortable, durable, legible, and reliable – something that Breitling has, in my opinion, designed the Breitling Colt Skyracer to be.
In a nutshell, this is a new accessibly-priced (Breitling actually says it is at “an extremely reasonable price”) luxury watch which combines Breitling’s still new Breitlight carbon case material with a straightforward easy-to-read dial, and contains a very-accurate thermocompensated caliber 74 SuperQuartz movement (which is COSC Chronometer certified – which is a different certification process and standards for quartz and mechanical watches). The battery has a life of eight years. If traditionalist watch lovers are balking at the idea of a quartz watch, they shouldn’t. This is not your standard cheapo quartz movement but something born of an era when professional watches needed extreme accuracy. Compare a 10-second deviation per year for a thermocompensated quartz movement versus up to 15 seconds per month for a standard quartz movement. Again, a mechanical movement is at best accurate to 1-2 seconds per day.
Breitling continues to remain very popular with aviation professionals and other high-risk activity enthusiasts who need durable and reliable instruments. Breitling has a long history of making such watches and, moreover, has been using SuperQuartz movements in certain watches in their collection (such as the iconic Aerospace) for over 20 years. People who like nice luxury watches often also love mechanical movements, but everyone knows you can’t rely on them in the same way you can an electronic instrument. For that reason, Breitling has been producing SuperQuartz-based watches continuously, servicing a market of real aviation and military professionals with high-end watches at a time when most other brands stopped doing so. For the most, part Omega is the only real competitor to still make (some) quartz watches for professionals (with the X-33).
Thus, the Breitling Colt Skyracer is for people who actually need high-accuracy on their wrist but want something a bit more interesting than your standard quartz watch. Yes, this is a niche market of consumers, but it is a market nonetheless, and the good thing is that timepieces such as this are true tool watches. Not convinced? Well then just check out the ruler indicator Breitling put on the rubber strap!
Watch fans interested in Breitling’s Breitlight carbon case material will be happy to see its use in the Colt Skyracer. Not only is the Breitling Colt Skyracer much more affordable than the other current watches Breitling produces with Breitlight, but it is wearable. Breitling introduced Breitlight on the Avenger Hurricane (hands-on here) in 2016… with a 50mm wide case which sized it out of wearability for many people. The Breitling Colt Skyracer is “just” 45mm wide (and 13.5mm thick), but it is also almost six times lighter than steel given the black carbon composite case material. The case is water-resistant to 100 meters and has a rotating bezel with an AR-coated domed sapphire crystal over the dial.
Breitling further claims that the Breitlight case is super durable and shock-resistant. It has decent scratch-resistance as well, but I do think that despite the watch surviving abuse, it will show battle scars if beaten up too much. If you recall, I mentioned that ruler on the strap. The watch apparently has a quick-release system for the strap, so that they can be taken off and used to actually measure things… and then placed back on the case.
Dial legibility for the Breitling Colt Skyracer is quite good. The lumed hands and characterful Arabic hour numerals are sensible without being too serious. I do like that Breitling was able to include a healthy level of personality into the design – which is important for luxury watches since there is always a distinct element to why people choose to buy them. Also on the dial is a dedicated scale for 24-hour military time as well as a date indicator window. This is a good example of a conservative tool watch dial that also manages to not be boring.
It’s quite likely that the Breliting Colt Skyracer reference X74320E4|BF87|293S|X20S.1 is going to be the most affordable new Breitling of 2017. With that said, it is going to be up to consumers to decide if $2,000 is “extremely reasonably priced” or not. Though, for a Brietling today, that is a good deal, for sure. breitling.com