This is watch week in Switzerland, when 30+ brands introduce their latest and greatest, and Breitling is one of the first out of the gate with a new collection. The Heritage Premier is a vintage-inspired line of chronographs, with swashbuckling colors, including lime green – a strong emerging trend – and salmon, a vintage favorite.
Breitling loves to market its collections with “squads” – there is the women’s Spotlight squad, with Charlize Theron, a Cinema squad with Brad Pitt, and a Triathlon squad, Surfer squad and Aviation squad. Now there is a Founder’s squad, the members of which are no longer alive, except in the fond memory of the current CEO, Georges Kern. The squad includes founder Léon Breitling, who helmed the firm from 1860-1914; his son, Gaston, who ran it until 1927, and grandson, Willy, who joined the firm in 1913 and took it through to 1979.
Today, Breitling pays tribute to their achievements with the Heritage Premier collection of vintage styles with modern materials, movements and design elements. The models are a nod to some of the founders’ specific achievements: in 1906, Léon patented a timer with a tachymeter that could measure speeds between 15 and 150 km/h; in 1915, Gaston created one of the first wrist-worn chronographs with an independent pusher at 2 o’clock; and in 1934, Willy patented the second independent chronograph pusher at 4 o’clock and created the original Premier collection in the 1940s.
The six watches in the new collection are divided into three categories – Chronograph, Duograph Datora – which reflect the inventions of the Founder’s squad. Like its 1940s predecessor, the Chronograph is manually wound, but it is powered by a modern, state-of-the-art movement, the Breitling caliber B09, which is based on the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01. The pistachio-green dial is a standout, in either a steel ($8,400) or 18k red gold ($20,200) case.
The Duograph has a rare, rattrapante chronograph function that enables the wearer to measure two elapsed times simultaneously. It contains the mechanical hand-wound Breitling caliber B15, which is based on the Breitling B03. It comes in either steel with a blue dial ($10,250) or 18k red gold with a black dial ($25,650).
The Datora is an annual calendar with day, date, and moon-phase displays, powered by the caliber B25. The vintage- inspired copper-colored dial version comes with a steel case ($12,950), while the 18k gold version ($25,650) has a silver dial.
Breitling also introduced a new watch as part of its longtime partnership with Bentley, the Premier B21 Chronograph Tourbillon 42 is a limited edition of 25 pieces in 18k red gold with a British racing green dial. It contains the Breitling caliber B21, a COSC-certified tourbillon movement with a 55-hours power reserve. It is priced at $52,000.