Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches

Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches

Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches Feature Articles

Welcome to the latest edition in our Cost of Entry series where we explore the entry point to some of the world's most well-known luxury watch brands. Throughout this series we have covered Rolex, OmegaHublotPanerai, and Cartier, and now we're going to see what Breitling has to offer. As often is the case, there are varying entry points when it comes to quartz offerings and mechanical offerings so we will just go ahead and look at both here.

The absolute most affordable watch by Breitling is the new quartz Colt Skyracer at $2,000, while the Colt Automatic and Colt 41 Automatic are each available in configurations just around $3,100. We'll also discuss the Superocean II 42 on a rubber strap that, being within a retailer's discount range of the Colt Automatic's price, in the mid-$3,000 range, is also worth noting. That's a big gap between the pricing, so let's see what exactly what we're working with, not just with these three watches but a couple of alternatives as well.

Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches Feature Articles

Brietling has been producing watches since 1884 and is one of the most well-known, recognized, and polarizing brands today. There's a rich history of aviation and and pilot's watches with the Navitimer and Chronomat being two of the most popular from the brand. An association with military and aggressive, macho, and not least of all, large watches with busy, technical-looking dials characterize the brand in many people's minds. Chronographs are also a big part of Breitling's history and persona, but for this article on the brand's most affordable offerings, we will be sticking to three-handers. The history of Breitling could be an entirely separate article itself but suffice it to say that it is often seen as one of the most established mainstream luxury brands, and yet, remarkably, Breitling remained among the last major independent brands until just this year.

Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches Feature Articles

The Breitling Colt has always been and still is the entry-level line from the brand. Breitling took a big measure in making the brand more accessible to a younger demographic when they introduced the Colt Skyracer in the brand's own Breitlight carbon case material in February of this year (2017) priced at $2,000, which is about $1,200 less than a standard steel quartz Colt model on a metal bracelet at $3,200. As for the 44mm Breitling Colt Automatic or the Breitling 41 Colt Automatic (41mm, of course) each on a leather strap, a price of $3,090 makes it Breitling's current most affordable mechanical offering.

Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches Feature Articles

The Colt is recognizable partly for its bezel that has indices that are etched rather than painted or applied, and instead of a smooth surface all around, you find four raised "riders" at 12, 3, 6, and 9. Supposedly, the idea is that you could operate the bezel without seeing it in order to approximate its placement due to the rider at 12 featuring a solitary lume-treated dot providing a tactile cue as well as being extra noticeable in low-lighting situations.

Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches Feature Articles

Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches Feature Articles

The Bretling Colt Skyracer measures a hefty 45mm wide and 13.5mm thick, so expect it to wear on the larger side, which is really par for the course for any Breitling watch. The case is done in the black carbon composite the brand refers to as Breitlight, which is less than 1/3 the weight of titanium while still being very strong. Of course, you've got the black rubber strap here which cleverly adds an easy release system and has markings which allow it to double as a measurement tool with inch and centimeter markings.

Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches Feature Articles

Of course, it's a quartz movement, but not just any quartz movement. This Colt features the Breitling 74 SuperQuartz which is really an ETA Thermoline 955.652. Breitling dubs it as "thermocompensated" which simply means that it uses a system that regulates the effects of temperature on the accuracy of the quartz regulator. All of this boils down to an accuracy within 10 seconds a year. The brand claims this to be ten times more accurate than your standard quartz movement and, to top it all off, they are COSC certified, as is the case with all Breitlings. Like other quartz watches, the "set it and forget it" functionality, for some professionals, may be a huge advantage over the automatic. With a 100m water resistance and sapphire crystal to round up the stats, it's reliable, accurate, legible, and carries the Breitling logo for $2,000. That's really got to be appealing to younger buyers or those who prefer the convenience, accuracy, and affordability of a quartz watch.

Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches Feature Articles
The Breitling Colt 41 Automatic (left) & the Breitling Colt Automatic (44mm) in the configurations shown here are the brand's least expensive mechanical watches, both at $3,090.

The Breitling Colt Automatic is most representative of the Colt line, coming in at 44mm wide and 11.15mm thick (making it thinner than the quartz Skyracer, actually) with a 200m water resistance. It comes in stainless steel with a matching steel bracelet. With the same dial layout as the Skyracer, the Colt Automatic's dial is definitely more textured and vibrant with applied indices whereas the Skyracer's numerals are printed (though including shadows to create an illusion of depth).

Cost Of Entry: Breitling Watches Feature Articles
Breitling Superocean II 42 on a rubber strap for $3,400.

The Superocean II 42 is available on a rubber strap which brings its cost down to $3,400 (it's $3,900 on a steel bracelet). The Superocean II 42 is, you guessed it, 42mm wide and 13.3mm thick, and it is available with a black or blue dial with matching rubber straps. The water resistance of 500m is no joke, though.

  • Breitling is a great brand to buy second hand. You can easily find an older Superocean for 1500-2000 and many other great models for 2000-3000. That being said, I’d pick the GS 9F diver above, over the skyracer or the colt automatic.

  • Mikita

    This Colt Skyracer looks like a cheap $200 plastic Luminox, so I don’t see a point of such $2000 “entry point”. Talking about $3000 – GS 9F diver will literally wipe the floor with any Breitling at this price point. Personally, I think that really appealing Breitling models start well above $4000, which is actually a real entry point to taste a good Breitling watch.
    The new Superocean Heritage II with the Tudor movement retails at $4500/$4700 on strap/leather and it is great, but most of their watches below this pricepoint are underwhelming IMO. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/8fce3f57f19faef2b392880fb88d103027308906cdd29538af8b3656ea281bc6.jpg

    • DanW94

      Spot on with that Superocean Heritage II model. It’s downright sexy. If I had my druthers that would be the Breitling model I’d choose. Their Transocean line is nice also, especially the Day Date.

      • Mikita

        Agreed. My two favorite lines are Transocean and Superocean. Well, I also like their Navitimer AOPA, but it’s the only Navitimer I really like.

    • Lincolnshire Poacher

      Love those SO Heritage models. A friend has one on mesh. Its one of the few watches that actually looks really good on mesh.

  • Simon_Hell

    If you cant afford a regular breitling, dont buy a Breitling. But that applies to pretty much anything. Id much rather buy top of the line toyota than a low end bmw like the piece of shit that is series 3 or lower.

    Im a fan of bretling, have the B55 and wanted to buy another, chronomat gmt black steel limited edition. That is until i saw one on ebay. at just a few months old, it had the black rubbing off. What the fuck Breitling? I guess I’m not that much of a fan anymore.

    These turds shown here…waste of time. Because they are cheap, Breitling has to go out of its way to make them hideous, uappealing and just plain uglly. You’d have to have an extra chromosome to buy any of these pieces of shits. There is no such thing as entry luxury, its an oxymoron. Its better to be a respectable poor than a poor douchebag.

  • Saul Sloota

    What’s the low end for getting into a brand like Sisu, AVI-8, or Nubeo?

  • SuperStrapper

    I like bristling watches, but not anything that they would consider “entry level”. B01 based, etc.

  • Marius

    An entry-level Breitling you say? You would have to be a hardcore savage to be satisfied with buying an entry-level Breitling. Just take a look at this guy. Do you think he would ever buy an entry-level Breitling?! https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/406d6ef767eb886a0f269bba75c2f3253a4eabab9805f98c9a186fafee6fb17f.jpg No siree, he wouldn’t, and that disdainful look is directed specifically at entry-level Breitling wearers.

  • IG

    I don’t want to enter.

  • Yan Fin

    Why not Invicta as alternative? Same design taste, almost the same logo.

    • Mark1884

      That statement is meant as a joke, yes?

      • Yan Fin

        No joke about logo…

  • Mikita
  • mark

    Bretling have come a long was since 1884. I personally like the Superocean its a classic style which will never go out of fashion. Even with the rubber strap it looks good, but with the stainless steel bracelet it looks better.

  • Marius

    I’m quite surprised to see how little respect some readers seem to have for entry-level Breitlings.

    Firstly, $3,000 is still a lot of money for a watch, even for a wealthy person. Sure, if your collection consists of a Patek Philippe, a JLC, and an Audemars Piguet, then yes, you could look down at a Breitling. However, most penny-pinchers and knuckle-draggers reading this blog exchange two shitty Seikos for one crappy Steinhart, so they’re not exactly in a position to frown upon a $3,000 Breitling.

    Secondly, most entry-level Breitlings are quite decent watches. Models such as the Colt or the Superocean II have a decent design, a high WR, a good & reliable movement, and are produced by a well-known brand. What’s the big problem? Plus, Breitling is a very known brand, being almost on the same recognition level with Omega, Rolex, and co.

    Thirdly, at the $3,000 price point, you really don’t have that many alternatives which are vastly superior to a Breitling. Apart from the great Grand Seiko 9F quartz (as Mikita rightly mentioned), most mechanical watches at this price level are pretty much on par with Breitling. An entry-level Rolex is almost twice as expensive, and most Tudors, Nomos, or Tag Heuer aren’t better than Breitlings. For instance, the Tudor Black Bay aka “I can afford a Rolex, but I bought the Tudor because I really like it, and it’s as good as a Rolex (Wink, wink)” costs almost $4,000, and offers pretty much the same quality as a Breitling, yet, most watch blogs hype it up and present it as it were God’s gift to mankind and humanity.

    • Mikita

      “Tudor Black Bay aka “I can afford a Rolex, but I bought the Tudor
      because I really like it, and it’s as good as a Rolex (Wink, wink)”
      costs almost $4,000, and offers pretty much the same quality as a
      Breitling, yet, most watch blogs hype it up and present it as it were
      God’s gift to mankind and humanity.”
      Love this! Have absolutely same thoughts on BB aka Baby Rolex. They must sell them with T-shirts Damn-I-CAN-afford-a-Rolex-!!

      • Lincolnshire Poacher

        +1. Marius spake the truth.

        • Gokart Mozart

          If I had to I would buy the Tudors over the Rolex for the simple reason it does not have a crown anywhere on it.

          To be fair some of the non Rolex looking Tudors look quite good. The Tudor Clair De Rose is a very nice ladies watch (well the original with the MOP dials at least) and the Heritage Advisor (although on the Chunky size)

    • Ian john horwood

      Reliable my arse, the 2 new chrono quartz colts i had stunk, were utter rubbish , never again , they were crap. There were too many faults in these watches for the high asking price. The chronograph second hand wobbled all over the place at reset position. There was just as much play in the movement operating the crown as watches far less their price. As for accuracy sorry but after having lots of thermocompensated watches, it is nothing to write home about, it breaks down , fails and doesnt do its job its supposed to . Yes i have a gripe with these over priced pieces of crap , i will never buy them again. The movement quality from the eta thermo movements used in the 3 hand watch and crono are complete over priced garbage for your money. My calibre 2,100 ecodrive is a far better watch for less money and far more reliable than the breitling colts thanks very much. If you like paying for the name status for a pieces of crap go ahead, after the experiences i had of them, never again. Eta thermo quartz movements used in the two colt models, have gone down hill in quality over this past few years and are crap, and a waste of time and money. An overpriced entry level breitling is no status symbol, just overpriced swiss rubbish.

      • Marius

        You are absolutely right. Quartz Breitlings suck, and are overpriced. However, in my comment I was talking about mechanical Breitlings such as the Colt / Superocean, which use ETA movements. In my opinion, these watches are quite acceptable.

        • Kuroji

          My Aerospace has been bulletproof, though I have come to despise the fiddly crown adjustment mechanism. What were they thinking?

      • Mark1884

        Only your opinion.

      • Roy Andersen

        I have different experience, my Breitling Colt Chronograph II works perfectly fine. And the movement B73 (aka ETA Thermoline 251.232) is working way better the COSC specification. While I do not wear the watch it seems to slow down about 3 seconds in a year, while i wear it it simple just keeps correct time. After several month of daily wear I cant see any difference between this watch and online atomic clocks.
        I had this watch for about 4 years, and use it in rotation with mechanical watches.

        BTW english is not my native language, so sorry for the poor grammar

      • Roy Andersen

        And I have to add that I bought my Breitling from an authorized dealer.

        I find your problems with the watch(es) very strange, and to compare it with a (around) 350 USD watch, just to find the cheap watch superior in quality is also quite remarkable.

    • TrevorXM

      “However, most penny-pinchers and knuckle-draggers reading this blog exchange two shitty Seikos for one crappy Steinhart…” Yes. And then they cry because they don’t have a shitty Seiko any more and sell the crappy Steinhart on Watch Recon and buy another shitty Seiko and come on blogs like this raving about how awesome their shitty Seiko is — before they sell it and buy a replica knock-off microbrand retro Submariner copy, on their way to going back to the shitty Seiko. It’s an endless circle of junk that they can’t break out of.

    • Kuroji

      The Colts have always been at this weird price point where it was too much for what you get. They still seem to sell some. Somehow. The Transocean is much nicer that the Superocean, but so much more money.

  • Sheez Gagoo

    I think this entry level Breitlings are the horological equivalent to Ed Hardy shirts, LV wallets and the A class from Mercedes: You can spot an idiot from 100m. It makes no, absolutely no sense to waste a single dime on a not even mediocre watch like this quartz colt. You just prove that you have no knowledge, no taste and you outsourced style to a brand name to impress other idiots you probablly don`t even like. The colt will be on the gravestone of Breitling when they go public and fail.

    • Kuroji

      The old Colts were a much better match for the Ed Hardy shirts.

  • Ian john horwood

    I have no respect for entry level overpriced expensive crap from the swiss, added to that breitling products will plumet further to the depths of despair, having been sold out to a high money making corporation.

  • Alex Tan

    Ahh Breitling……do you guys need to make an entry level watch look so cheap? Consumers are not interested in over-priced & over-sized 45mm watches anymore. There are lots of nice, better built entry level watches for $2000. I’ll pick a Sinn over a Brietling any day.

  • BNABOD

    “That’s really got to be appealing to younger buyers or those who prefer the convenience, accuracy, and affordability of a quartz watch.” Yeah 2Gs is not what one would consider a affordable watch for the average Jo. just sayin.
    Frankly I find the Colt hideous if I were it I would not want to be sold.

  • William Jones

    As far as the quartz model is concerned you could get a Swiss Army watch around $600.

  • Greg Dutton

    I suppose I’m in the minority, but I really like the Colt Skyracer, just wish it were a little smaller. The street price will be $1500 or less, so not a bad buy imo.

  • TrevorXM

    The steel Colt with steel bracelet with silver dial and indices is a decent watch complete with chronometer rating certificate. Good name, some prestige, attractive styling, very good quality. A reasonable enough price all things considered. But the Skyracer is what it is: juvenile garbage.

    • Mikita

      I don’t think that the quality is “very good” considering the price. IMO Colts aren’t finished well enough for their price, I’ve seen drawbacks such as poor lume application, rough edges of the hands and poorly polished surfaces.

  • Larry Holmack

    I will say this….the comments have been very entertaining this morning!

    Thanks a lot guys…you made my morning!!! Much more entertaining than watching all the political shows on TV!!! Now it’s time to go check my smoker and see how my brisket is coming along! Nothing like some good BBQ Brisket on a Sunday!!!

  • Mr. Snrub

    One brand I simply can’t get into. Propbably because I associate Breitling with a certain creepy, plastic-faced Scientologist in the back ads of Esquire.

  • Ross Diljohn

    The shadow on the numerals of the colt is a terrible idea in my opinion. When I saw it I couldn’t believe it.

    • Word Merchant

      They need to realign the toner drum on the Breitling office laserjet.

  • Pete L

    Good article. Breitlings tend to be polarizing but agree that chronographs are really the core brand ideal. I would love a chronomat for the collection but turned down a great deal on an Avenger Seawolf as I just wasn’t sure about them for divers. Would always go Omega at that price point. Do think the colt automatic is a lot of watch for the money though.

  • Surprised not to see Tudor’s Black Bay collection here as an alternative.

    Everything about them is leaps and bounds beyond Breitling’s base offerings at this price point.

    • Kuroji

      If hideous hands is what you’re after, that Sinn and GS are hard to beat, but the Black Bay is right up there.

  • PR

    41mm colt auto isnt that bad actually, lot of harsh comments here about a watch that is in person IMO nicer than the Seamaster pro in overall design and comfort and the utterly horrendous Seamaster 300 for far less money (sure the 300 has a better movement, but meh).

    The new plastic watch is a bad move though. The dial is just so sad, the price of entry is high for what you are getting outside of the logo and some marketing buzz words. The Superocean Heritage II (terrible name btw) is probably the best place to really start and then build up to the classic Navitimer.

  • Marco Sampuel

    I don’t know why Breitling made the Skyracer it is awful, but on the other hand I’ve been able to try on the Colt automatic and it es better on person than in pictures; that’s the model to go for an entry Breitling.
    BTW, I love the “Cost of entry” post, keep doing it.

  • A_watches

    i don’t see the point of these articles, cost of entry into the “breitling” club like the first rung on the ladder of being a junior member of a brand that mass produces luxury watches. Am I reading it the wrong way or something.

  • A_watches

    not much in it between whats worse (type of person), a cheap breitling wearer or an expensive tag wearer