Breitling is known for large case sizes, all watches being COSC-certified, and recently poaching Georges Kern from Richemont. Their recently announced limited-edition version of the Breitling Chronoliner B04 watch with a red gold case fits right in with the blingier, showier side of Breitling. With chronograph and GMT complications, the B04 is touted by Breitling as the “flight captain’s chronograph.”
As a note, given development and production timelines, this watch is very likely to have been kick-started much before Georges Kern’s tenure at the helm began. So I don’t think it would be fair to draw any comparisons or conclusions (good or bad), about Breitling’s future direction based on this one watch.
The Chronoliner B04 was first launched with a steel case earlier this year and is a successor to the vintage 765 AVI and 765 Co-Pilot. As a “flight-captain’s chronograph,” the Chronoliner B04 – like its predecessors – is intended to be a tool watch first and foremost, and this is one reason many Breitling watches tend to be large.
In this case, the Breitling Chronoliner B04 is 46mm by 16.85mm, so you can expect your arm to have quite a workout given how dense gold tends to be. While I’m not a fan of big watches, I did find the color scheme of the original steel B04 appealing. The red-gold/blue color scheme, however, is even better – if ostentatious. The bezel, like most modern tool watches, is ceramic and, as expected from a GMT pilot’s watch, bi-directional.
The watch has a screw-down caseback, which I believe is individually numbered and while the crown is not screw-down, it is double-gasketed and the chronograph pushers are simple and mushroom-shaped. The watch is rated at 100m of water resistance – no surprises given that it is meant to be a tool watch.
The dial layout, remains the same from the steel Chronoliner B04, but the hands and applied logo are now in red gold. The watch has a three-register chronograph layout, complete with the loathsome date indicator at 4:30. Thanks to the large case size, Breitling has been able to print the 24-hour indicator for the GMT complication on the dial itself and not on the rehaut like we sometimes see in sub-40mm watches. This helps significantly with legibility. As much as I hate 4:30 date windows, I can sympathize with the lack of options given how many functions you have to display and the need for form to follow function and not the other way around.
The Breitling Chronoliner B04 is powered by the in-house caliber B04. It offers 70 hours of power reserve and is, naturally, COSC-certified like every other Breitling watch. At first glance, I can see a lot of appealing aspects in the Chronoliner B04, but there’s also enough to make me stop and think twice, if not thrice. With the case of the red-gold Chronoliner B04, sticker shock can be added to that. The Breitling Chronoliner B04 in red-gold is limited to 250 pieces and ships on a rubber strap for a price of $32,545. This is a hefty premium over the steel sibling, which actually had a smaller run of 100 watches. breitling.com