February 2019


The Legend of the Black World, Review of the 2016 Breitling Navitimer 46 Black Steel Chronograph Wristwatch

The Breitling Navitimer Chronograph series welcomed a new large-diameter watch in 2016- Breitling Navitimer Chronograph 46 Black Steel Watch: all black body, double chronograph dial, black oscillating weight, and a new watch strap emulating the tread pattern of aircraft tires, making it stand out and attracting people’s attention, and it is still popular in nowadays.

Since its introduction in 1952, the Breitling Chronograph watch (Navitimer) has won the favor and enthusiasm of pilots and aviation flight enthusiasts. Today, this classic collection has introduced a new pure black watch: a satin-brushed black steel case with high-strength carbonization, and a black ring-shaped sliding ruler that handles all kinds of calculations required for air navigation.

However, this novel, original, cool and technological appearance is not the only highlight of the Navitimer Chronograph 46 Black Steel watch. Unlike the classic model with three silver chronograph dials, this watch has only two chronographs in the same color as the dial – the small dial at 9 o’clock and the 30 minute accumulate chronograph at 3 o’clock.. The dial as a whole is a precision and pure instrument panel. It is made of ultra-fine “par épargne” technology on the sterling silver chassis. The chronograph sub-dial hands and the central seconds hand are bright red, which perfectly strengthens this trait.

The high-performance “engine” of this watch is a Breitling-made 01 movement with the COSC. Through the transparent sapphire case back, the black oscillating weight is unobstructed.

The black case and dial are paired with a sturdy and comfortable new rubber strap – like the pattern of the aircraft tire tread, further highlighting the aviation character of this watch. From now on, all models of the Breitling chronograph will be available with this new strap, full of immortal legend and everlasting classic.

Movement: Breitling Homemade 01 Movement, COSC Certification, Automatic Winding, 28,800 High Swing Frequency Per Hour, 47 Jewel Bearings;

Power Reserve: More Than 70 Hours

Function: Hour-minute-second, Calendar, Chronograph (chronograph accuracy up to 1/4 second, 30 minute accumulation timer)

Case: Black Steel

Diameter: 46 MM

Waterproof Performance: 3 Atmospheres

Bezel: Rotating Bezel with Annular Flying Slide

Glass: Curved Sapphire Crystal with Double-sided Anti-glare Treatment

Case Back: Transparent Sapphire

Dial: Black

Strap: Navitimer Rubber Strap

How About the Breitling B01 Movement, Look at the Breitling Self-produced B01 Movement

As we all know, in the watch industry, any manufacturer with a self-produced movement will be proud. So far, watch manufacturers that can independently develop and mass-produce high-performance movements are still rare.

Today, let’s talk about the Breitling B01 movement. According to the official publicity materials, it was known that Breitling began to design in 2004. In the spring of 2006, Breitling produced the first 100% self-made movements. Why is it 100%? Because in 1966, Breitling and three other companies (watching parts supplier Depraz & Cie, movement manufacturer Buren, watch manufacturer Heuer-Leonidas) began to develop the self-winding chronograph movement. In 1969, the world’s first self-winding Caliber 11 was produced.

At the end of 20006, Breitling submitted a test of the movement to the COSC for testing. The movement passed the accuracy and reliability test from the COSC.So, it went on sale in 2009.

Below I will disassemble a B01 movement and analyze it.

After opening, the first thing I saw was a large diameter movement, which reached 30mm and sames with the diameter of the classic ETA7750. It is obvious that this is the best diameter of the chronograph movement. The thickness is 7.2mm, which is a little thinner than the 7.9mm of the 7750. The automatic totem and the lower layer of the splint have clear lettering and good gold plating, reaching the level of the same class movement. Grinding is relatively simple and does not use a too fancy polishing process.

After removing the dial and hands, I have the feeling of disassembling the Rolex 3135, since the similarity is still relatively high. From polishing to calendar fixing, quick-tuning structure, and instantaneous jump structure, both them are strikingly similar. I don’t believe that the two companies have no cooperation. (B01 is on the left and 3135 is on the right)

Since B01 is also advertising with a calendar function without a forbidden zone, it can be said that it is completely a small revision of the classic structure of Rolex 3135. The instant jump is very fast. However, the splint of this part of Breitling B01 has not been polished. (B01 is on the left and 3135 is on the right)

Now turning the movement over, you can see a large bimetallic automatic turret, which has the advantage that the automatic winding efficiency can be guaranteed. In terms of design, I saw the shadow of Rolex. However, the automatic gyro bearing uses a ball bearing, which is less prone to the phenomenon that the 3135 grinds the plate for a period of time. (B01 is on the left and 3135 is on the right)

Removing the automatic gyro, I found an interesting place, that is, in general, the automatic gyro is fixed in the automatic splint (the red area below). However, the B01 is fixed on the entire timing unit (the yellow area in the below). This design has obvious modular features, which brings certain convenience for assembly and maintenance, and also facilitates the expansion of other functions in the future. This part must be disclosed, the process of engraving the serial number (blue area) is really bad, the lettering is not clear, the depth is different, the deep places are leaking copper, and many fake watches are better than this.

The following figure disassembles the automatic splint. It can be seen that this is a two-way automatic winding structure, which is characterized in that the jewel bearing material is used in the middle of the automatic reversing wheel, and the wear of such other parts of the metal in the similar maintenance work usually worn relatively large, the use of gemstone materials will undoubtedly greatly reduce wear and improve the efficiency of automatic winding, because the running resistance is reduced.

After removing the automatic splint, you can see that the escape wheel is equipped with a shockproof oil retaining system. Simply say, it is added a a Kif shock absorber (red circle below). This position belongs to the last link of the circular motion in the whole transmission process. The advantage of this is that it can maintain a storage of oil for a long time, reducing operational resistance, and the advantage of oil retention is greater than the advantage of shockproof.

At this time, you can also see the B01’s column wheel system. The column wheel is almost standard for advanced chronograph movements. It has high requirements for machining and grinding, and is an important part of the timing.

Remove the automatic splint and you can see that the B01 uses a more advanced vertical clutch system. This part has the shadow of the Rolex 4130. The advantage of the vertical clutch relative horizontal clutch is that it can start the timing function cleanly at any time without causing the pointer to jump. However, the horizontal clutch can reduce the jitter of the pointer by processing the gear with higher density. Another advantage of the horizontal clutch is that it is more ornamental when it is placed in the transparent case. A photo of the clutch part is below.

The design of the balance wheel is very mediocre. A large self-produced calibre that was launched in 2009 actually used a balance spring system with a card degree. I did not expect that cheap Tissot and Mido will use no card. The advantages of no card degree is not to be mentioned here, not a level of technology. The shock absorber is still kif, but this is not a big problem. After all, changing the cardlessness does not require changes to other parts of the movement.

As mentioned above, due to the modular structure, it was quickly dismantled. As a chronograph movement, this design is really convenient for maintenance. However, the grinding of the B01 movement main splint can be said to be basically 0, giving the impression of an industrial semi-finished product. It is better to polish it even just a little. Moreover, there is obviously excessive lubrication and diffusion on the main plate. It may be that the manufacturer is also worried about this movement, so some parts will be refueled. The clockwork part forgot to take a photo, and there is also an obvious Rolex design and polishing style, gold box, 70 hours of power.

In summary, B01 is generally not a big problem in design, there is still a lot of room for improvement in the details of the process, such as grinding, no card degree, silicon hairspring, etc., we can not deny that B01 is a good chronograph movement platform. Although the movement is 100% self-produced, it still leaves the Rolex trace. Now some models of the Tudor are also using the B01 movement (of course, there are minor changes in the details), and the B20 of the Breitling is also the self-produced movement of the Tudor. It should be that the two sides have deeper cooperation.



Five Things You May Not Know About Breitling

1. Focus on R&D and Manufacturing High Performance Watches

Founded in 1884, Breitling founder Leon Breitling established the Breitling Company. Initially, the company produced timers such as pocket watches. In 1914, it began producing watches with countdown and luminous for the military. In 1915, Gsinceton Breitling developed the first chronograph watch, which is the first aviation chronograph watch. Breitling kicked off the watchmaking in the aviation industry.

After that, Breitling separates the timing control system that handles start, stop, and zero from the crown. The first independent timing button was born, and the position of Breitling’s “Pioneer of Chronograph” was established.

In 1927, Breitling began to produce fine timers for the instrument panel of the aircraft cockpit. Since then, it has become more compatible with the aviation industry. Large aircraft manufacturers such as Boeing Douglas and Lockheed are all users of Breitling.

2. Independent Family Business Was Acquired

As a family business, Breitling has now gone through five generations of heads. Originally one of the few independent watchmakers in Switzerland, it ushered in the heyday of the brand in the 1990s and is now in a stagnant middle age.

In April 2017, it was acquired by CVC No. 6 Fund with an 80% stake in Breitling, with a total valuation of 800 million Euros. CVC Capital Partners (CVC) is Europe’s largest private equity and investment advisory firm headquartered in London. The head of the company said that with CVC’s expertise and international network, it is partner to bring Breitling to a higher level.

In August 2017, Georges Kern left the Richemont Group and became the CEO of Breitling brand, valuing the business development potential of Breitling.

He said that in the future, Breitling will have three product lines. One is a new watch re-developed based on the classic design elements of the brand history; one is a simple and elegant watch series; the last one is the brand’s current tough style professional watch series.

Whether Breitling can develop better, the future depends on whether it can pass the test of the market.

3. Interchange Movements with Tudor

Affected by the Swatchs external supply of ETA movements, many brands have begun to develop independent configuration movements, Breitling and Tudor are no exception.

Breitling launched the B01 self-produced chronograph movement in 2009, with a power reserve of 70 hours, a diameter of 30mm, a thickness of 7.2mm, an eccentric screw trimming device, a vibration frequency of 28,800 times per hour, a three-armed ring and a balance spring, and a number of rubies 47.

Navitimer 8 with self-produced B01 movement

Tudor’s self-produced movement MT5621 launched in 2015 has 70-hour power storage,  two-way automatic winding, COSC certification, quick-adjusting instantaneous jump calendar, stop seconds function, screw fine-tuning, silicon spring, vibration frequency 28800 times / hour, 31.8mm diameter , 6.5mm thickness and 26 diamonds.

Tudor Self-produced Movement MT5621

Because the development of the automatic chronograph movement is much more difficult than the ordinary central seconds movement, not to mention the self-produced movement is absolutely a good movement, so the two strong teams joined together and interchange movements.

After Breitling got the movement of Tudor, it was not a simple replica of the original movement. In addition to Tudor’s unique retouching, Breitling also improved the cumulative timer and improved the speed governing mechanism with silicon hairspring.

Introduced the B20 movement (a variant of the Tudor MT5612 movement) and equipped it with the New 42mm and 46mm Superocean Heritage II collection.

Breitling 42mm Superocean Heritage II Series Watch

Breitling 46mm Superocean Heritage II Series Watch

Breitling introduces the B20 movement (a variant of the Tudor MT5612 movement)

A large weakness of the Breitling B01 movement is adjusted by the traditional fast and slow needles. After the new calibre is obtained, the Tudor has replaced the silicon balance spring and the cardless screw fine adjustment.

The MT5813 calibre (a variant of the Breitling B01 chronograph movement) is certified by the COSC and provides up to 70 hours of power reserve through the bi-directional oscillating weight.

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono Collection Dark Brown Strap Watch

Tudor Heritage Black Bay Chrono Collection Dark Brown Strap Watch is Equipped with Breitling Self-produced MT5613 Movement

4. The Disappearing Wings

In 2018, Breitling has made great changes in the design of the watch. The most obvious one is to remove the original wing logo and replace it with B.

The winged B logo is not the prototype used by Breitling from the beginning. It was first introduced in the 1950’s timed prototype, and later evolved in the late 1970s for most styles.

Breiling Navitimer 1 Self-winding Watch

The Breitling with the B logo also began to change its image vigorously. In 2018, the series of simple styles of the Navitimer Chronograph 8 series was launched to make it more intimate, and the design that was simple and simplified was not consistent with the original toughness.

Breitling Superocean Heritage AB0162161C1A1

Whether it’s a new brand logo or the Breitling brand itself, everything has a feeling of re-starting. Many enthusiasts lamented that Breitling, who took off their wings, lost its unique characteristics. However, under the current trend of succinct aesthetics, Breitling may have made its own choices for the market, and everything has not yet been finalized.

5. How to Choose One Entry-level Breitling

The first feeling of Breitling is tough males, so the entry model should also have such characteristics. However, there is no recommendation for the popular Avenger series or Seawolf, because the entry-level watch has several standards, low price, resistance, brand characteristics, and brand genes.

Colt Automatic mechanical watch, the new version of the Superocean series retains the tough lines of Breitling, and caters to the contemporary mainstream size of 41mm, the movement is  Cal.17 modified by ETA2824-2, which reaches 40-hour power reserve, the water resistance is up to 200 meters, plus the careful workmanship of Breitling, the steel bracelet model is attractive, full of sincerity.

Breitling is as popular as Rolex and Omega in the luxury world, and it has its own advantages in terms of workmanship and practicality.