The Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel Special Edition makes a strong statement on the wrist – not just because of that 44mm girth. Wrist appeal is something ephemeral that goes beyond dimensions and weight. Of course, given that this is a big and heavy watch, ephemeral might sound like entirely the wrong word to use but bear with us. While you are more likely to hear this watch described as a visceral pleasure, that misses the charm of the piece.
First of all, only Breitling could make a 44mm watch seem perfectly natural and reasonable, especially in the year of the massive Avenger Hurricane. Bear in mind, the Chronomat 44 still bears distinctive yellow markings and has that delightfully overstuffed-with-information feel that all Breitlings have. Actually, this yellow dial is new for the model even if the colors are trademark for the brand and, if you look a little closer, you’ll see that the square chronograph counters have been replaced with more typical round ones. This might appear familiar to you because Breitling actually released another version of the Chronomat earlier this year, prior to BaselWorld in fact.
Like that watch, this Special Edition sports the in-house Calibre 01 movement and an exhibition caseback to show it off. The rotor of the self-winding movement has also been given the all-black treatment, like the case. Finishing the aesthetic touches here is the two-tone rubber TwinPro rubber strap, which goes all-black too, except for lining in the same yellow as the dial. It is these little touches that speak to the ephemeral appeal we keep coming back to. Even that information-packed dial is part of this appeal, and indeed one of the key elements of what makes even smaller Breitling watches so easily identifiable even at a distance. A watch with this much going on must be a Breitling (or at least be Breitling-inspired).
As this is a special edition, the ephemeral story goes on, continuing on the unidrectional bezel. Here we find rubber inlaid numerals that remind us of the strap. It can be argued that this, like the rider tabs on that bezel, are part of the visceral appeal because they have utility – the tabs can be used to both mark time and to improve how the bezel handles. The thought process that went into these details though speaks better to that ephemeral part because there is amazing continuity between, bezel, case, dial, movement and strap.
On that visceral side of things though, the polished DLC-treated case is water resistant to 200 meters. The screw-lock crown and chronograph pushers help in keeping things dry. The watch is clearly aimed at both people who like pilot’s watches (Breitling’s bread-and-butter) and diver’s watches. After all, it has a strong technical look and is very much a tool watch. Backing up that look is Calibre 01, a COSC-certified chronograph movement with a 70 hour power reserve.
- Dimensions: 44mm
- Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
- Power Reserve: 70 hours
Movement: Self-winding Calibre 01 COSC-certified
Material: DLC-treated steel
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Rubber TwinPro
This article was first published in World of Watches.