The watch industry is facing tough times, and offering more affordable pieces that present a real value proposition for buyers is an obvious way to reach a larger market. For mainstream luxury brands like Breitling, this means more bang-for-buck pieces like the new Colt Skyracer that we have here. In covering the release of the Breitling Colt Skyracer here, we said that it has an “extremely reasonable price” at around $2,000. That’s maybe not quite a steal, but the Breitling Colt Skyracer is a solid, sporty watch for those looking for Breitling quality and brand identity and who are open to the idea of high-end quartz movements.
Like most other watches from the brand, the Breitling Colt Skyracer is big, bold, and brash. And that is fitting because this watch is, beyond everything else, a tool watch. It measures 45mm wide and is 13.5mm thick. However, the cool thing about it is that it comes in a black carbon composite case. Breilting calls this carbon material Breitlight, and it is very strong and light. To give you an idea of how light it is, consider this fact: it is 3.3 times lighter than titanium. That is pretty incredible.
Breitlight also has other useful properties. It has “exceptional resistance” to scratches, corrosion, and it is also non-magnetic and hypoallergenic. In press photos, the Breitlight case looks almost like forged carbon, but in the flesh, we think it more resembles the look of typical DLC finishes. The case is water resistant to 100m and it also has a unidirectional bezel, which can be used for timing events. The bezel features four raised tabs, which makes it easy to operate even if you are wearing gloves.
The dial’s clever use of font and arrangement keeps all the information highly legible, even with the all the digits on the dial. The Breitling Colt Skyracer dial has a matte black finish marked by large Arabic numeral hour markers. The large hour markers are actually painted on the dial, but done so with a shadow effect that gives the markers the illusion of depth. It also prevents the dial from looking too flat and uninteresting.
Around the hour markers is a railroad-style minutes track, with every fifth minute marked. And on the inside of the hour markers, there are additional 24-hour markings – very handy if you ever need to quickly reference military times. At 3 o’clock, the date window is nicely executed with the date wheel matching the color of the dial. The sword-style hour and minute hands are thick and lumed for night legibility. The seconds hand stretches all the way to the railroad minutes track and has a striking red tip.
Making busy dials highly legible is actually something of a Breitling specialty, and we have seen them achieve this feat over and over again, on their Navitimers especially, and that is no different for the Breitling Colt Skyracer. This is one highly legible watch, which is exactly what a tool watch should be.
Apart from being tough and legible, the Breitling Colt Skyracer has a neat trick up its sleeve. The rubber strap is well-crafted and comfortable on the wrist. But look closely and you will notice that the strap is marked with the centimeters and inches, allowing owners to use their straps as quick measurement tools. How this works is that the watch features a clever removable fastening system, which makes it easy to take the strap off and use it as a ruler. Obviously, not everyone is going to find it useful – I mean, how often do you wish you had a ruler with you? But I do think it really adds to the attitude that Breitling expects you to actually use this thing and let it see some action.
The movement of the watch is probably the most contentious for a lot of watch snobs because the Breitling Colt Skyracer has a quartz movement. But this is no ordinary quartz movement; this is a COSC chronometer-certified, thermocompensated caliber Breitling 74 SuperQuartz movement. What does this all mean? For a start, it is said to be accurate to -/+ 10 seconds a year, which is far better than regular quartz watches which are typically only accurate to 15 odd seconds a month. To view this from another perspective, even the most accurate and precise of mechanical movements are usually only accurate to 1 or 2 seconds a day. In addition to accuracy, the battery has a life of eight years. Clearly, Breitling’s SuperQuartz movements are nothing like your run-of-the-mill quartz movements.
All things considered, there is a whole lot to like about the Breitling’s new Colt Skyracer. It has a no-nonsense design, a light and strong case featuring an interesting new material, adequate water-resistance, a highly legible dial, a unique strap that doubles up as a ruler, and it is equipped with a highly accurate SuperQuartz movement. Watch traditionalists are going to balk at the idea of a quartz movement, but hey, this isn’t any ordinary quartz movement. Plus, it helps keeps prices down too and if you’re a younger watch buyer (or really, any buyer) who dreads the cost of servicing a mechanical movement then there’s a lot of appeal here. Again, the Breitling Colt Skyracer is priced at $2,000, which is quite a value for a COSC-certified Breitling watch with a high-tech quartz movement and a case made out a new high-tech material. breitling.com