A new collection with its origins in the 1940s.
It is a sign of the times that Breitling decided to launch a new collection not at a major trade fair, nor even in Switzerland, but at a swish event in London attended by selected journalists and the ever-present influencers. Undoubtedly the most important announcement at this event was the return of a name familiar to those who know Breitling’s history: the Premier.
The Breitling Premier collection was first presented in the 1940s, at a time when the world was at war. Far removed from the pilot’s watches and instrument watches that the brand was supplying armed forces with at the time, the Premier offered civilians an elegance and a means of escape from the horrors of the time.
Breitling Premier vintage advertisement, 1945 © Breitling
In reviving this collection nearly 80 years later, Breitling essentially has the same objective: to bring a fresh touch of elegance to a watch offering that has been dominated by tool watches (“Instruments for professionals” had, for example, been the brand’s slogan for a while). As Georges Kern, the company’s CEO, says, “This is the first modern Breitling collection dedicated to everyday elegance. With outstanding quality and performance, these watches bear our unmistakable brand DNA, but they have been created with a focus on style that beautifully complements their purpose”.
The new collection includes a choice of chronographs, a day-date version and classic time-only watches with a small seconds dial. Among the chronographs, the Premier B01 42 is the flagship watch in the collection and uses Breitling’s in-house B01 chronograph calibre, which offers 70 hours of power reserve. The 42mm diameter stainless-steel case of this model is paired with a dark-blue or silver dial and a choice of alligator leather or nubuck straps or a stainless-steel bracelet. Another 42mm Premier chronograph is equipped with the Calibre 13 with a different arrangement of the chronograph counters, this one available with a blue or black dial.
Premier B01 42 © Breitling
The day-date and time-only models use a 40mm case designed for universal appeal and offer a variety of dial and strap combinations. Both use chronometer-certified self-winding movements (Breitling calibre 37 for the Premier Automatic 40 and Breitling calibre 45 for the Premier Automatic Day-Date).
Time-only and day-date models © Breitling
For the first time, this new collection also comprises a Bentley model. In a move that signals an end to the Breitling for Bentley collection, all new Bentley models will now be incorporated into existing Breitling collections. In the case of the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley, the new model also marks a major rupture from the previous design ethos for these Bentley models. There is no longer the distinctive knurling on the bezel. But there is a wonderful British Racing Green colour on the dial with a matching green leather strap that is sure to appeal, whether or not you like Bentleys.
We already know, however, that there will be an exception to this new rule. Breitling announced an extension to its 15-year partnership with Bentley at the London event and Bentley celebrates its centenary next year. There will, of course, be a dedicated limited-edition Breitling watch for the occasion.
From humble family beginnings Breitling grew into a major player in the world of chronographs and aviation instruments. At the dawn of a new era, the brand is poised for a legendary future.Find out more >
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