What’s the best way to shine the spotlight on an under appreciated model? Design one that’s impossible to ignore.
Breitling’s Chronoliner hasn’t received a great deal of attention since its launch in 2015 having been, to some degree, overshadowed by bigger stories from the brand. But we’ve always warmed to it – the oversized, slightly finger-shredding bezel, the bold contrast of the chronograph subdials, the name… It isn’t blessed with a wide fanbase, but as a new model breaks ground – one with a crucial, endearing, difference – we are starting to think: is the Chronoliner set to be a bit of a sleeper hit?
The Chronoliner channels the function of Breitlings from the 1950s and 60s aimed at commercial pilots, offering multiple timezones and chronograph minute scales suited to pre-flight checks, but the modern design does little to follow the form of its predecessors other than those telltale rectangular lume pots on the sub dial.
A second, boutique-exclusive version of the Chronoliner was introduced with an in-house 28,800vph B04 automatic chronograph calibre inside rather than the Valjoux 7754-based Calibre 24. Just 100 pieces of the Chronoliner B04 were produced in steel with matching blue dial and ceramic bezel. But most importantly this watch addressed one fundamental difference between the modern Chronoliners and the watches that inspired it by restoring the original 9/6/3 layout of the registers used on the original watches.
Of course the in-house Chronoliner B04 came at a premium and was nearly 40 per cent more expensive than its Valjoux-powered sibling.
Given the current onus on accessible pricing it makes sense that Breitling would continue to use the third-party sourced Caliber 24 for serial production of the Chronoliner and limit the use of B04 for limited edition runs, the second of which has just been announced.
This time the 46mm case is 18ct rose gold rather than steel but the same Aurora Blue is used for both dial and ceramic bezel, a high contrast look that will not go unnoticed.
The Chronoliner can keep track of three separate time zones; local time with its standard hour and minute hands, GMT with a pointer tracking against a second 24-hour scale and third time zone via its rotating ceramic bezel with 24-hour scale. It’s a neat track achieved in a simple fashion. The hour hand adjusts in one hour increments when turning the crown.
As with all of Breitling’s watches this 250-piece limited edition run is COSC certified and is available for £26,840.
This article was first published on Salon QP
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