Fan of high-end quartz watches? Breitling has a nice new piece for you. What is high-end quartz? Well not cheap quartz! The perception that all quartz watches are cheap is a bit of a shame. It is true that you can buy a quartz movement based watch for a few bucks, but high-end quartz watches are out there - and they have their fan following for sure. Breitling is one of the few Swiss brands that continually offers high-end Swiss quartz movement based timepieces in addition to mechanical watches (and not just in women's pieces).
The mainstay of the Breitling quartz watch collection has always been their Aerospace watches. Those pieces are undeniably cool, but not everyone wants both analog hands and a digital display on their watch dial. So Breitling has always offered watches like this new Colt that are quartz movement based, but not digital.
I am not an expert of Breitling watch collections - though my understanding is that the Colt line has not always been about quartz movements. This new move might mean that moving forward all Colt watches will be quartz. If so, maybe that is a good thing. While Breitling has a lot of great watches, they also have a lot of watches! Few brands confuse me as much having so many product families and styles that feel pretty similar.
The new for 2011 Colt watches will come in three styles, a 33mm wide women's model, a 44mm wide three-hand, and a 44mm wide chronograph. Each will have a Swiss ETA quartz movement, but not just any quartz movement - a Super Quartz (SuperQuartz)! This is the name ETA has given their family of high-end thermoline (thermo-compensated) quartz movements that are much more sophisticated than your standard bargain basement quartz movements. In addition to being much higher-quality, they are also accurate to within about 10 seconds year (that is versus about 15 seconds a month for standard quartz movements).
The watches are also COSC certified Chronometers. Please note that this certification is different for quartz and mechanical watches, meaning that the criteria for quartz watches to get COSC certification are much more stringent. I really like that Breitling is catering to those people who want the reliability and accuracy of a quartz movement, but also want the durability and style of a Breitling.
In steel, the watches are typical Breitling flavor, but you'll notice a new type of rotating bezel design that separates it from the typical Brelting bezel with the four corner "claws." The bezel on the new Colt is more simple and a bit more diver versus aviator in style. You'll either love or hate the steel on steel look with engraved numerals in a modern font. They look like an evolution of the Breitling Chronomat B01 bezel design.
The dial design is interesting. You'll notice how it is set up into four quadrants, with two types of texturing. The hour indicators and markers are pretty legible and there is a fair amount of lume for night viewing. The hands look proportionate as well, which is good as sometimes Breitling gets a bit shy with hand size. The placement of a curved flange ring (with minute indicators or a tachymetre scale is a good touch). Water resistance is 500 meters for the three-hand models, and 300 meters for the chronograph models. Each has a double AR coated sapphire crystal.
Breitling will offer the new Colt in three dial colors - black, silver, and blue. Inside the three-hand models are ETA SuperQuartz caliber 74 movements. Inside of the chronograph is the ETA SuperQuartz caliber 73 movement. While it might look like lower-end ETA quartz chronographs at first glance, it has a lot more functionality. The 12 hour chronograph is accurate to 1/1o of a second, it has a split-second complication, as well as the date. All are COSC Chronometer certified and are very (very) accurate.
In addition to what looks like a new style of steel metal bracelet, the new for 2011 Colt watches are available with padded leather straps, and two types of rubber straps. Prices are pretty reasonable which is even better. On the metal bracelet, prices are $3,850 for the Colt Chronograph, $3,150 for the 44mm wide Colt three-hand, and $3,050 for the 33mm wide Colt three-hand. Look for them about now.