July 29, 2010
by Ariel Adams
First thing I thought of when I saw these new watches from Breitling was “wow, these are pretty big.” They even wear larger than their ‘mere’ 45mm wide steel case would suggest. Probably because the case is on the flatter, broader side of things. This is Breitling’s newest watch to bear the ETA SuperQuartz COSC Chronometer certified movement – in the wonderful lineage of the Breitling Aerospace. The Chronospace is larger, has more going on, and is arguably easier to use than the watch it is distantly based on. The movement is the Breitling Calibre 78 (base ETA), and has lots of cool functions. These include time, 1/100 of second chronograph (with actually pushers as opposed to having to dig in the menu with the scrolling crown pusher), alarm, calendar, countdown timer, GMT time, and second timezone display. All in a really nice quality, dial LCD screen display in addition to the time and chronograph hand on the main time. Having that chronograph hand there makes it possible to use some of the more traditional chronograph functions, and I believe perhaps some of the slide-rule functions.
A slide rule it does have, and also “night vision compatibility.” Something about the backlighting system of the watch and LCD screens make them viewable through night vision goggles (NVG) – which apparently was something in demand…? Breitling says that the watch has a double sectioned caseback that works to amplify the alarm sound to about 90 decibels. They call this the “resonance chamber.” Which actually is useful if you need the alarm in anywhere but the quietest place – an environment an airplane cockpit is not.
At first the large 3 and 9 o’clock indicators on the dial are a bit much. The watch feels like a toy. This is one area where I wonder if Breitling could have done better. But you do eventually get over that, and if you do, you’ll notice lots of other good qualities about the watch. Any timepiece with a thermocompensated quartz movement is rewarding, as they are super accurate (like 5-10 seconds a year). The hour indicators are large, and covered in a long of lume, and the hour and minute hand are highly distinct. This is because the minute hand is longer in two directions. The crystal is domed sapphire with lots of AR coating, so legibility overall is excellent.
The watch comes with four dial colors and three strap options. You have Volcano Black, Mariner Blue, Tungsten Gray, and Stratus Silver. They are available with a mesh metal bracelet, pilot leather strap, and diver style rubber strap. A very useful watch from Breitling with an odd looking fitting its functional forward attitude. Its utility will likely make it beautiful. Look out for the new Breitling Chronospace watches soon.See Breitling watches on Amazon here.