Australian lifestyle brand Deus ex Machina has carved out a loyal global following since 2006, offering enthusiasts a laid-back hand-drawn aesthetic and a rose-tinted vintage attitude for everything from surfboards to motorcycles, fashion, classic Porsches, and even coffee. As its first major release of 2021, Breitling offers Deus ex Machina its first foray into the world of timepieces, translating the café racer-inspired Deus aesthetic into a playful and distinctive limited-edition model. The new limited-edition Breitling Top Time Deus shows off the versatility of the relatively new revived Top Time line, offering a relaxed and youthful feel rarely found in this market segment.
The 41mm stainless steel case of the Breitling Top Time Deus follows the same pattern as previous Top Time releases, with an elemental design that feels true to the line’s ‘60s roots. Narrow tapering lugs, an even narrower polished bezel, and a simple cylindrical mid-case are a classic midcentury sports watch formula, while the tall piston pushers give the design a splash of personality. The solid caseback features a unique etching of a motorcycle and rider based on a sketch by Deus ex Machina creative director Darby Tuckwell. The loose, scribbly, cartoonish look of the artwork, with its hand-scrawled “Bretiling + Deus” text, is a dramatic departure from the usual meticulous linear perfectionism of caseback engravings. It’s a welcome breath of fresh air and adds a relaxed feel rarely seen in luxury timepieces. That said, for a watch dedicated to a brand heavily associated with surfing, the 30-meter water resistance rating feels inadequate.
Like the caseback, the dial of the Breitling Top Time Deus resonates with Deus ex Machina’s laid back and playful energy. While the simple rectangular applied indices and squared-off baton handset are carried over from previous models, nearly everything else is unique to this model. The panda dial colorway starts with a matte cream main dial surface for a warm, slightly vintage look in initial images. The outer tachymeter track is in contrasting black, helping to visually compact the watch on the wrist, and features orange and yellow highlights inspired by classic motorcycle gauges. Deus ex Machina’s slogan “In Benzin Veritas” (in gasoline, truth) is also emblazoned on the track here to drive home the partnership. The subdials are changed to a soft squared-off circle style, adding a subtler distinctive touch, while the hands have been color-coded for functionality. While adding a warm ‘70s throwback quality to the design, the use of yellow for timekeeping hands and orange for chronograph functions also aids easy legibility at a glance. The lightning bolt shape of the central chronograph seconds hand also aids this warm vintage quality. As with the subdials, this jagged and cheeky touch is subtle enough to go unnoticed by a casual glance but invites repeat attention once recognized. The use of the printed Breitling script logo at 12 o’clock also aids the faux-vintage sheen of the design, while visually counterweighting the Deus shield emblem at 6 o’clock.
Breitling powers the Top Time Deus with the Valjoux 7753 based Caliber 23. COSC chronometer-certified for accuracy, the Caliber 23 offers a respectable 48-hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. Breitling pairs the Top Time Deus with a nicely weathered calfskin rally strap in warm tobacco brown with a vibrant yellow contrast lining.
With a relaxed ethos rarely seen in luxury watchmaking, the limited-edition Breitling Top Time Deus offers a unique and undeniably fun counterpoint to its direct competitors. Only 1,500 examples of the Breitling Top Time Deus will be made. The Breitling Top Time Deus is available now exclusively online and will become available through authorized dealers in late March 2021. MSRP for the Breitling Top Time Deus stands at $4,990. For more details, please visit the brand’s website.