Recently, Breitling announced a number of new models and even an entirely new collection of vintage-styled watches. Well, the Breitling Premier collection is “new” for the modern Breitling brand, at least, as it resurrects a name from the 1940s. The collection includes a number of models including, naturally, many chronographs, but the new three-hand-and-date Breitling Premier Automatic 40 watch is the simplest of the bunch. Alongside the Premier Automatic Day & Date 40, it is also the most affordably priced.
The Premier collection is less part of Breitling’s hyper-masculine, air or sea military-themed personality, and rather all about “vintage styling,” “elegance,” and reminding us of the brand’s history. Breitling has been shifting in this direction since Georges Kern took over as CEO, but then again, the whole watch industry has been shifting in the “vintage” direction. The new Breitling Premier takes its name and “design inspiration” from the Premier watches introduced in the ’40s, although the five total models that debut the collection do not represent the reissue of a specific historical model.
Breitling has a very convenient habit of putting the width measurement and other useful information in watches’ names. That is sometimes because it helps differentiate size options for versions of the same basic watch. The Breitling Premier Automatic 40 is, of course, 40mm wide in steel, 11.4mm thick, and water-resistant to 100m. There are anthracite, blue, and silver dial versions with a bracelet and various strap options. Note that the seven-link bracelet is “oblique,” lending to a retro vibe, to my eye.
As is the case with other Breitling lines, the Premier collection includes models with in-house movements, specifically the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 that we saw hands-on here at its launch, as well as those with sourced movements. The Breitling Premier Automatic 40 is the latter, with the Breitling Caliber 37 which is the brand’s renamed ETA 2895-2. This is a small-seconds version of the thin and generally well-thought-of ETA 2892 automatic movement with a power reserve of around 40 hours and a frequency of 4Hz. Like all Breitling movements, it is a COSC-certified chronometer with a daily average accuracy within -4 to +6 seconds per day. You won’t be seeing the movement, however, as the Breitling Premier Automatic 40 has a solid caseback.
A 40mm watch is not big by any standard, nor is it particularly small in the wider world of watches – but for Breitling, the Premier Automatic 40 might seem almost petite. That said, Breitling’s name and personality loom large, and we should expect to inevitably pay a little more for that as well as the build quality and details the brand is known for. Regardless of dial color, retail prices in the US for the Breitling Premier Automatic 40 start at $4,000 on a nubuck strap and go up to $4,750 on a steel bracelet, with other strap options falling somewhere in between. Learn more at breitling.com.