back to top

Breitling Exospace B55 Connected Watch Hands-On

Breitling Exospace B55 Connected Watch Hands-On Hands-On

It was during Baselworld 2015 that we originally debuted Breitling‘s then-prototype connected device, the Breitling B55 Connected Watch here. Several short months later, Breitling has modified the original concept in some noticeable ways, and allowed us to be among the first to go hands-on with the finalized version ready to hit the stores. We are here to tell you all that we have learned about the exact specifics and the hidden functionalities of this high-tech blend of quartz timekeeping and wireless connectivity.

The Breitling Exospace B55 Connected watch runs on a “SuperQuartz” movement – which we’ll get into later on – and is designed more as a connected timepiece, than a straightforward smart watch. Connected versus smart watch – what’s that all about? Well, these are relatively new categories and you must not feel bad if you are still confused by them. A smartwatch, like the Apple Watch or the TAG Heuer Connected (hands-on here) use a large digital screen in lieu of analog hands to display detailed information and complex screens. A connected watch, on the other hand, communicates with your phone, sending and receiving data including notifications, health tracking and, as we’ll see in case of the Breitling Exospace B55, to enable you to control your watch using an app on your phone – but it remains primarily a watch more than a computer.

Breitling Exospace B55 Connected Watch Hands-On Hands-On

So how does the Breitling Exospace B55 Connected fit into the picture? The Breitling Exospace B55 Connected watch is an evolution of the Breitling Cockpit B50, and it runs on a super nerdy and indeed genuinely impressive, in-house made, high-tech “SuperQuartz” movement by Breitling that you can learn all about here. The “SuperQuartz” inside the B50 and B55 allows for an analogue display of the time and two additional displays on the dial, and is powered by a rechargeable, lithium-ion battery. The Breitling Exospace B55 Connected carries all this and tries to take it to the next level by connecting this already pretty smart watch to your smartphone for added levels of functionality.

At the launch of the watch, we were shown demos of the watch and its connectivity by Breitling Vice-President Jean-Paul Girardin. As Girardin demos some of the functions of the watch – including my favorite, which is the dual time zone setting allowing you to swap the watch’s time back and forth between two time zones with a touch of a button – it is clear that the company’s engineers had travelers and, of course, pilots in mind. I appreciate the simplicity and, to quote Girardin, “it is pure logic to use the new Bluetooth connected technology to improve the user-friendliness and, of course, functionality of the product.”

Breitling Exospace B55 Connected Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Speaking of pilots, also on-site for the launch festivities was Breitling brand ambassador and former NASA astronaut Mark Kelly (whom we interviewed about watches here) whose personal excitement for the new watch was palpable. Interestingly, his favorite feature of the watch was actually the “Tilt Function” dial backlight which he explained was extremely useful particularly for fighter pilots and other members of the armed forces. The way it works is that the wearer can activate the backlight with a quick tip of the wrist down past 35 degrees.

Advertisement

Breitling Exospace B55 Connected Watch Hands-On Hands-On

“Being able to check the time without fumbling around for a light in a dark cockpit and taking your hands off of the controls is key,” says Kelly. “Also for fighter pilots, being able to read the time clearly and at any given moment goes way beyond the need to know what time it is, but rather is helpful to calculate distances and range in critical situations. Having a watch that can help make that process easier and faster is very important.”

Breitling Exospace B55 Connected Watch Hands-On Hands-On

Both men see this new foray into the smart watch game a key move for Breitling who has historic ties to the advancement of aviation technology in mechanical wristwatches. In addition to the new in-house-made SuperQuartz movement, the app itself was also developed in-house at their manufacture in Switzerland.

The full list of features is of course much longer, as it includes: the Breitling Caliber B55 in-house made, COSC certified, thermocompensated SuperQuartz movement; analog and two backlit digital time indications including a second time zone display that can be swapped with the hands by the press of a button; perpetual calendar with week display; 7 daily alarms; 1/100th of a second chronograph; Coordinated Universal Time (UTC); Countdown/Countup (or MET Mission Elapsed Time); flight time chronograph; lap timer chronograph; electronic tachymeter; battery change indicator.

Breitling Exospace B55 Connected Watch Hands-On Hands-On

In terms of watch design, the new Breitling connected watch features a large 46mm titanium case water resistant to 100m/330ft, with a uni-directional bezel and a front sapphire crystal with anti reflective treatment on both sides. The first thing you notice besides the bright sky blue rubber strap is that the piece is surprisingly light and sleek for such a physically big watch. As a woman, my wrist is of course proportionately smaller, so even though the watch expectedly dwarfs my wrist, it is actually quite comfortable and easily wears like a smaller watch. Looking closely, it seems that the reason is that the lugs are also proportionately shorter in contrast to many large 41mm-plus watches – hence, even though the dial is large, it could reasonably fit on more wrists than others of the same diameter.

Breitling Exospace B55 Connected Watch Hands-On Hands-On

The dial features two digital, backlit displays as well as a set of centrally mounted analogue hands – a strong point of the design carried on from the B50 is that the two don’t compete with each other for the attention of the eye. Since the Basel demo piece, Breitling did a good job changing and cleaning up the face of the watch, with the dial losing the WiFi logo and the bezel now featuring the numbers in a tonal etching rather than the previous white numbering. The result is a sleeker design without sacrificing legibility. The bottom digital window displays the time and the top window provides smart technology notifications synced to your phone via bluetooth such as incoming email and caller ID notifications.

Explore

Comments

Disqus Debug thread_id: 4414001523

  • Thanks for the update Aileen. For comparison, here is what the prototype (from BaselWorld 2015) looked like. The production piece looks soooo much better. None of us liked the big blue WiFi symbol. And the minutes/seconds bezel on the production watch is also a lot better looking than the compass degrees on the concept piece. Not a cheap quartz watch, but what a pilot’s tool. I agree that this a watch first and the connectivity enhances it being a watch unlike smart watches where time function appear almost like an after thought (rather than the primary reason to exist).

    • iamcalledryan

      They listened to us and got rid of the giant wifi logo!

    • JimBob

      Augh! My eyes!

  • iamcalledryan

    This, and their monopusher chrono, might just be my favorite Breitling.

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I’ve rarely seen an uglier watch.

    • Did you see the prototype (“Concept”) watch below?

    • Shinytoys

      C’mon Ray, what about the 3 you hated last week…

      • Raymond Wilkie

        Hmm………….I’ll try my hardest to find something positive to say : )

        • Shinytoys

          of course I kid…Merry Christmas to you and your family..

          • Raymond Wilkie

            And to you my friend

    • What about that abomination, the “Bamford Watch Department Commando” ? It’s *way* uglier than this watch!

  • Newsh

    @raymondwilkie:disqus A face that even a mother couldn’t love! The Omega Speedy Skywalker X33 might not be able to export Excel files (whatever that means), but it’ll look a damn sight prettier on your wrist.

    • Thewatcher

      No chance. Omega speedy sky walker doesn’t look a patch on this. Breitling have done a good job with this offering.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      I don’t get it

  • I_G

    Amazing that this “Superquartz” movement is capable of ±15s per year accuracy 40 years after the Omega 1511/16 Megaquartz movements’ ±10s accuracy without digital thermo compensation… Progress.

    • JimBob

      The SuperQuartz movements are essentially nuts-on at all times. Nobody is seriously interested in pushing the accuracy any further for non-scientific applications. Seems like they should be cheaper though.

  • pkansa

    This seems like a rather logical extension of the design, and an easy enough way for them to tip-toe into the smartwatch market to see if it plays out.

  • Ulysses31

    Nice to see they improved the appearance after the concept was poorly received. In person this watch is quite a beast, rather imposing. I’m still not sold on the utility of this watch for the average user but i’m sure it would find a place on the wrists of those who truly need it.

  • BNABOD

    if you are into that sort of thing then yes it is a winner. they removed the connected wifi logo which was hideous so I think this is for sure an improvement from its older 1st version electronic self. The Breitling displays I hear are top notch so go for it if it floats your boat.

  • Larry Holmack

    Hummm…now how can I talk my wife into letting me get this instead of the new living room furniture she wants???? Sadly….that’s not happening….but I do really like this one!!

    • Tell her this watch is the size of an ottoman. Dual use?

      • Larry Holmack

        LOL…

        Heck Mark….she’s so used to seeing me wear my huge Diesel & TW Steel watches…..she’d find a 46mm watch to be quite small!!

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    Great review, thanks. Love the watch and the concept, a very nice piece. The price I find a little over the top, specially in the premium sports watch market that is a very competitive segment, lets see how it does. I have the Aerospace and like it very much, and it was priced right at 3k, I think I got good value/quality, so for this one, 4.5-5k would be a nice window. I am sure the marketing guys know better than me, but just wishful thinking on my part.

  • wallydog2

    This is how the world ends,
    Not with a bang,
    But with gadgets.
    (It’s all a Martian Communist plot to extract our “preciously bodily fluids” and then take over the world. I read it in “Invasion of the Wrist Snatchers.” It’s true. Ask Donald.)

  • Boogur T. Wang

    “SuperQuartz” = sweep or tick?

    • JimBob

      I would guess it ticks, but using a rechargeable battery it should be able to sweep as smoothly as they desire (the quartz dead seconds complication is essentially a power saving feature).

      The Aerospace models don’t have a second hand at all.

  • Shinytoys

    Clearly, the biggest benefit of having Aileen review the watch and having the piece photographed on her wrist has got to make this watch a better performer simply because there is no interference and cross signal distortion normally found on the hair laden wrist of Ariel. No hair = more accuracy.
    Remember, you heard it here first 😉

    • And what effect does the aluminum foil pointy hat have?

    • And what effect does the aluminum foil pointy hat have?

      • Shinytoys

        That is perfect !!

      • Boogur T. Wang

        Fashion, streamlining, and protection from the dangerous UV rays.
        (not to mention those micro-wave rays beng sent out by gov’t brain changers)

        • Bzzzzzz…..Ariel, you will review Invictas and love them loudly….bzzzzzz….(EOT)

          • Shinytoys

            and he shall sing the Invicta company song and name his first child Sub-Nova…

      • Krystoph Roric

        Please ask him to remove that thing. I can no longer stream the freaky adult film imagery from his brain without much interference!

  • minty xo
  • Krystoph Roric

    9k though?

  • Guillaume Debauchez

    Bought watch and had to return it due to poor connectivity. It disconnects from the app way too easily compared to other Bluetooth devices. Move it 2ft away and you have to connect it again. And that takes a minute or so. It’s a shame. Very nice design. Feels great on the wrist. But a very poor device when it comes to connection and personally after 2 days of waiting to set a simple alarm I had to return it. Shame really.

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.