Shortly after the watch community started to calm down again, BREITLING CEO Georges Kern comes up with the next surprise. A collection that at first sight doesn’t seem to fit to the usual look of BREITLING watches, as the ‘Premier’ line is simple and elegant. No slide ruler, no oversized bezel as we know them from the striking pilots- and divers-watches of the brand – but slim cases and discrete dial-design instead.
Everyone who is familiar with the brands history knows that the ‘Premier’ plays an important role for the brand. Georges Kern has not eliminated the old watch design of BREITLING as many criticize, but he finally awakes the brand from its decades long sleep, takes into account every single collection, modernizes them and fills long forgotten watch lines with new life. Beyond this, the brand very well knows about the relevance of the clients that are extremely interested in vintage watches, and serves them.
In 1915 BREITLING patented their first chronograph with a start/stop pusher at 2 o’clock. The Art Deco inspired watch was the first wristwatch of the brand and still had a lot in common with a pocket watch. In 1932 Willy Breitling took over and in 1933 introduced the first chronograph as we still know it today. Basically the modern great grandfather of the chronograph – with start/stop pusher at 2 o’clock and a second pusher for the reset-function at 4 o’clock.
In the 1930s and 1940s Willy Breitling developed mainly cockpit watches for the Royal Air Force. At that time the watch expert was widely appreciated for his high-quality and reliable timepieces, especially for military- and pilot-watches. During war time the chronograph for the wrist became more and more popular and hence in 1938 the BREITLING chronographs 734 & 765 were developed. They were the first harbingers of the ‘Premier’ collection, however they primarily served as reliable tool watches at that time.
But in these political unstable times Willy Breitling also craved for some normalcy. Hence the ‘Premier’ was established, a fashionable watch that would also allow a form of escape from the terrible impact of the global conflict. The ‘Premier’ was an expression of optimism, a watch that in the beginning was solely used for its functionality, but now became more and more a fashionable product. Ever since then the ‘Premier’ mainly stayed on the ground and added a watch for a stylish shore leave to the portfolio, next to the existing fields of air and water. In a way, Willy Breitling was obsessed with the good style of a man. He once said: “When a man puts on his watch, it is the unmistakable stamp of impeccable taste”. The ‘Premier’ however never lost its technical approach and the name literally stands for function ‘first’ and for ‘first-class’ materials.
The original ‚Premier’ timepieces with their 36- to 38-millimetres cases were little smaller than the familiar tool watches. They were often crafted from gold and offered with a leather strap. However, Willy Breitling stayed true to his brand-slogan to produce ‘instruments for professionals’ and hence the ‘Premier’ watches were equipped with the highest degree of technology that BREITLING can offer.
The new models too unite aesthetic and technology. The Premier B01 Chronograph 42 line is equipped with the BREITLING in-house calibre 01 and is the flagship of the new collection. The calibre 01 is known to be one of the best mechanical movements in the world and offers a power reserve of 70 hours.
The new ‚Premier’ collection is divided into five different series with different versions within it. The Premier B01 Chronograph 42, Premier Chronograph 42, Premier Automatic 40, Premier Automatic Day & Date 40 and the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley British Racing Green. The Premier B01 Chronograph 42, and the Premier Chronograph 42 evoke BREITLING’s elegant watches from the 1940s more than any other watch in the new collection.
In this collection the dials are striking aesthetical. They shimmer blue, anthracite or silver that are also used for the new Navitimer 1 and Navitimer 8 watches that have been introduced at the start of this year.
Another watch with a dial in ‘Racing Green’ has been dedicated to the long partnership with Bentley (and also houses the calibre 01). You can choose between straps in stainless steel, nubuck or alligator leather in brown, black or blue, depending on the watch type.