This year, one of the best known Breitling collections, Chronomat, is celebrating its 30th anniversary. In order to commemorate its three decades of existence, Breitling has prepared two new models which both include the word Airborne in their names, as a tribute to the origin of the collection. The Chronomat series was made as a result of the brand’s collaboration with the aerobatics team of the Italian army – the Frecce Tricolori. Though announced as a new special series, new Chronomat Airborne 44 and Chronomat Airborne 41 are just new versions of the already existing models. As for the novelties these steel models bring, they are reserved for the new appearance of the bezel, special engravings on the back, as well as for the novel type of resistant strap made of tough military fabric. It should be said that two new watches (or pretty much the same watch in two different sizes) are still more than respectable since they are both equipped with Breitling’s premier in-house movement – B 01 automatic chronograph caliber. Both watches are available with two types of dials: black with silver counters and in the same colors but in a reverse arrangement.
Chronomat – A Flagship Model ever since Its Creation
The Chronomat series has a very important place in the history of the brand, especially in the period since Ernest Schneider took over the company in the early 1980s. About that time, he got a word that the Frecce Tricolori is looking for its first official timekeeper. Schneider saw the opportunity as the means to create a new chronograph which would suit the needs of flying professionals in both terms of functionality and resilience. His vision completely coincided with the needs of the Italian top flying team which chose the Breitling timekeeper as their new watch and this is how Frecce Tricolori piece saw the light of the day in 1983. The significance of this in correlation with the Chronomat series lays in the fact that this timepiece was the archetype for the creation of the first Chronomat which came a year later.
Ever since its creation, Chronomat series had a special place in the brand’s palette of products and earned its place as the flagship collection of the new Breitling. In 2009, a Chronomat was the first watch to show off the brand’s initial proprietary caliber – B 01. This model was in the meantime renamed a few times and its official diameter was changed from 43.5 mm to 44 mm, but the watch more or less has remained the same, apart from some cosmetic changes. This is exactly the same watch as the larger sized Airborne model we are now talking about – Chronomat Airborne 44. The smaller of two new models, made with the case width of 41 mm is a slightly newer variation, since the production of the first Chronomat 41 models began three years ago. Apart from the size difference, the only other discrepancy of these two models is in the water resistance – while the bigger one is waterproof to 500 meters, the smaller one can withstand pressures to 200 meters less.
A Few New Traits
Although being far from revolutionary, new Airborne models do have some slight differences when compared to the basic models that are still in the company’s offer. The first one of them is a bit different bezel which now features satin brushed finish and includes rider tabs (only the former is the novelty). Moreover, the case-backs (which are from solid metal) have few special inscriptions which mark the big 30th anniversary of Chronomats. They include engraving in French which states “Special 30th Anniversary Edition” and an outline of one of the airplane models that the Frecce Tricolori use. The last of the idiosyncrasies of the commemorative Airborne series is the presence of a black strap made from military fabric which locks with a folding clasp. If you prefer a metal bracelet, you can still opt to buy these models with a Pilot-type attachment in steel. For the dials of both new Chronomats, Breitling picked an Onyx black color with silver counters and a contrasting Sierra silver tone with black chrono sub-counters.
Finally, we should share same basic traits of the movement used in two newcomers – Caliber B 01. It is a self-winding chronograph movement with 47 jewels. It operates at the frequency of 4 Hz and has a power reserve of 70 hours. Among the indications it provides there is also a date aperture.