May 6, 2021
Under the direction of current CEO Georges Kern, Breitling has largely moved away from the chunky, aggressive aesthetic that defined the brand in the 2000s and much of the 2010s in favor of a smoother, more heritage-inspired corporate look. While this sleeker throwback design language has proven generally successful with consumers, there’s still ample market demand for a beefy, highly capable sports chronograph. Breitling’s newest line aims to split the difference between the two design philosophies, marrying the more refined ‘80s-inspired looks of the current Chronomat series to a truly heavy-duty sports watch platform. The resulting new Breitling Super Chronomat line, including the Breitling Super Chronomat B01 44 and the Breitling Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar, offers a compelling union of Breitling’s past big-watch offerings with the more sophisticated style of the brand’s current lineup, bolstered by a handful of unique touches and brand firsts.
Each model in the Breitling Super Chronomat line is fitted with a 44mm version of the mainline Chronomat’s 42mm case. While the two series share more than a passing resemblance, the Super Chronomat’s new case design is far more than simply upscaling the existing look. Nearly every element here is tooled to be more monolithic and aggressive. The crown guards are more pronounced and squared off, the fine coin edge ridging of the distinctive bullet-shaped crown is replaced with heavily grooved teeth in black or blue, and the semi-conical pushers of the standard series are replaced with more durable screwdown pushers with caps in black or blue. The distinctive rivet-edged bezel also receives a makeover here, gaining the Chronomat series’ first ever ceramic insert and swappable rider tabs at 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock to allow swapping between countdown and countup bezel functions. The smoother look of modern Breitling isn’t completely abandoned, however, as elements like the elegantly thin polished chamfers running the length of the case sides remain intact.
Despite this heftier, more purposeful theme, overall thickness for the Super Chronomat remains comparable to the standard Chronomat with the Super Chronomat B01 44 measuring in at 14.45mm thick while the Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar is nearly identical at 14.55mm. Like the standard 42mm Chronomat, all models in the Super Chronomat series feature sapphire display casebacks, with the Super Chronomat B01 44 offering a 200 meter water resistance rating while the Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar boasts a still-robust 100 meters of resistance. Breitling interprets this new shape in a variety of metals, with the Super Chronomat B01 44 offering models in stainless steel with blue or black ceramic bezels, along with a warm 18K red gold model with a chocolate brown ceramic bezel. The Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar, on the other hand, takes a subtle two-tone approach with 18k red gold highlights on the bezel and crown complementing the stainless steel main case body.
As with the cases, the dials of the Breitling Super Chronomat series present a bulked-up riff on the basic Chronomat look. While the general forms are the same, particularly with the Super Chronomat B01 44, the execution is weightier here. The pointed paddle handset appears notably wider in initial images, as do the faceted applied indices. Where the Super Chronomat B01 44 most notably flips the script on the current Chronomat, however, is its treatment of the chronograph subdials. No matter the base dial color, whether it’s matte black, cobalt blue sunburst, or the rose gold variant’s rich sunburst brown, the partially snailed subdials of each version are a contrasting silver. This bright reverse panda look makes the Super Chronomat B01 44 instantly discernible from its smaller cousin at a glance, while keeping some of the retro-modern feel of the base Chronomat series intact.
The Breitling Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar, on the other hand, offers a more dramatically distinctive look from the base Chronomat from the beginning. As the name suggests, the Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar packs in a wealth of complications into a relatively streamlined quad-compax dial layout. To accomplish this, the chronograph subdials at 12 o’clock, 6 o’clock, and 9 o’clock are nested within pointer date, day, and month displays respectively. The 3 o’clock subdial is left open to showcase the small, clean moonphase complication. Breitling carries over the case’s two-tone highlights here with gold hands, dial hardware, and thin golden bezels for the subdials, and to balance this flashier and more complex look both the black and sunburst blue dial versions forego contrasting subdials in favor of a monochrome design.
For the Super Chronomat B01 44, Breitling turns to its in-house B01 automatic chronograph movement. Sporting a column wheel and vertical clutch actuation system, the B01 is a thoroughly modern take on the automatic chronograph boasting COSC certified chronometer accuracy as well as a robust 70 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate. The Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar is instead equipped with the ETA 2892-A2-based B19 automatic semi-perpetual calendar chronograph moonphase movement. Despite its relatively humble roots, the B19 is extensively modified and packs in a genuinely impressive array of complications into its design. Like the B01, the B19 is COSC chronometer certified, but the ETA origin of this movement rears its head in the underwhelming 42 hour power reserve at a 28,800 bph beat rate.
The ‘80s-style cylindrical Rouleaux bracelet is one of the hallmarks of the current Chronomat series, and Breitling’s strap and bracelet offerings for the Super Chronomat line all reflect this distinctive style. Both the Super Chronomat B01 44 and the Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar can be optioned with the classic Rouleaux bracelet in stainless steel, 18K red gold, or two tone depending on the case material. In addition, each model is available with a Rouleaux-inspired textured rubber strap with simulated woven and polished segments in either black, navy blue, or tobacco brown. For the standard stainless steel Super Chronomat B01 44, the brand also offers the unique and functional UTC module bracelet. This vintage-inspired element essentially turns the 6 o’clock endlink of the bracelet into a fully independent second watch, complete with its own crown, dial, bezel, and movement. This striking touch offers a left-field way of tracking a second time zone on the wrist, and is powered by a Breitling Caliber 61 miniaturized quartz movement. While certainly useful and distinctive, this offbeat bracelet attachment may not be to everyone’s taste, adding further complication to an already intricate design.
By introducing some of the bold big-watch attitude of previous Breitling generations to the more refined and elegant Chronomat line of today, the Breitling Super Chronomat series offers an aggressive and stylish compromise that should prove popular with fans of the brand. Both the Breitling Super Chronomat B01 44 and the Breitling Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar are available now through authorized dealers. Pricing for the Breitling Super Chronomat B01 44 starts at $8,500 in stainless steel and $23,650 in 18K red gold. MSRP for the Breitling Super Chronomat 44 Four-Year Calendar begins at $14,600. For more details, please visit Breitling’s website.