February 16, 2015
by Ariel Adams
I wouldn’t have believed it unless I saw it with my own eyes, but would you guess that Breitling – the company with its own jet team (and jet man) – is releasing a new pilot watch for 2015? I know, amazing and totally unexpected! All jesting aside, the new Breitling Chronoliner is a really decent-looking and not top-of-the-line-priced aviator watch that harkens back to the beauty and grace of Breitling’s 1950s and 1960s design. It even comes complete with a “panda dial,” so I think the Breitling Chronoliner is going to be a hit for the brand this year.
At “just” 46mm wide, the polished steel-cased Breitling Chronoliner is a typical size for the brand these days. In my opinion, with its modestly-sized lugs and lack of crown guard, the Breitling Chronoliner ought to wear boldly but comfortably. Given Breitling’s current style and demographic, 46mm in case diameter seems to be their sweet spot. And here, it is mixed with a vintage-style case complete with plunger chronograph pushers. What might be more exciting for Breitling fans is the rotating bezel material.
For what I believe is the first time (or it’s a rare occasion) Breitling uses black ceramic for the bezel on the Breitling Chronoliner. I am pretty sure there have been some black-cased Breitling models, but I don’t recall any that have had steel cases mixed with black ceramic. This follows a trend set forth by many other brands. In this instance, it makes a lot of sense, because this black bezel on steel case combo is something borrowed from Breitling’s history. Though in the past, the black bezels were merely painted metal and prone to wear. Black ceramic does not wear off, so the color and shine remain forever, so long as the bezel is not physically broken.
This same vintage look extends to the dial which offers remarkable composure and design abstinence compared to some modern Breitling watches, which, according to some people, go a bit far in terms of textures, fonts, and colors. The only real color breaking up the mostly monochromatic dial of the Breitling Chronoliner is the red-tipped GMT hand. The slightly recessed contrast-colored subdials are slick-looking as well. Also note that in addition to the 24-hour scale on the rotating bezel, there is a fixed 24-hour scale on the dial – allowing skilled users to track three separate time zones with the Breitling Chronoliner.
Attached to the Breitling Chronoliner case is either the Breitling “Ocean Classic” mesh metal steel bracelet or the standard Navitimer bracelet. I would probably prefer the latter, because try as I might, I can’t seem to find “Milanese” mesh metal bracelets all that amazing for daily wear. The Breitling Chronoliner will also likely look fantastic on the right straps. Think of how cool this would look on the right color and textured brown strap.
The Breitling Chronoliner is water resistant to 100 meters and fitted with an AR-coated sapphire crystal. Inside the watch is the Breitling calibre 24, which is a Swiss ETA Valjoux 7754. This is a Valjoux 7750 automatic chronograph with a GMT hand. Operating at 4Hz, the 7754 has about two days of power reserve. The movements in the Breitling Chronoliner watches are further all COSC Chronometer certified. The movement offers the time with a 12-hour chronograph and the date. I am actually happy to see that Breitling chose to use an ETA movement for the Breitling Chronoliner versus one of their in-house made movements. Not that their in-house movements are bad – but rather that they make for a very expensive watch. In addition to their $8,000 plus watches, I think Breitling needs more options in the $4,000 – $6,000 range – which is hopefully where the 2015 Breitling Chronoliner is going to be priced. breitling.com