Breitling has been anything but under the radar the last couple of months. With Georges Kern at the helm, we’ve seen almost endless releases of new Navitimers (to mixed reviews and polarizing opinions, even among our team) but Breitling surprised us with the new Breitling Chronomat B01 Chronograph 44 at Baselworld this year. Modestly redesigned with a contemporary vibe in mind, the updated Chronomat is a welcome addition to Breitling’s modern catalog. Featuring their coveted B01 movement, a satin-brushed case, and reserved dial design, the Chronomat 44 takes an already rugged design and adds a bit more comprehension to it. We had a chance to try the modest (for Breitling anyway) new model and are here to give you our initial thoughts.
It’s been a little while since we’ve seen a significant update to the Chronomat or Avenger collections. Breitling took an aggressive approach to revamping the Superocean line with a dizzying slew of new models, followed this year by the controversial Navitimer collections. They peppered in a few updates (mainly the Chronomat 44 Boutique Edition and Super Avenger 01 Boutique Edition) accompanied by their heavy handed promotion of the new-ish B01 movement. But the boutique models have been largely unattainable and the collections have remained untouched for the last four or five years.
The reason I bring up both collections is because the new Chronomat 44 feels (to me anyway) like a fusion of the two. Let’s start with the case. The brushed stainless steel case measures in at an obvious 44mm with a relatively thick 16.95mm measurement off the wrist. Although, as is often the case with Breitling, it does feel a little bigger. The choice to go with the brushed case instead of the often standard polish found on almost all Chronomats, in my opinion, was a step in the right direction. The Chronomats have often looked ostentatious with the large numbered bezel and a high degree of polish, and the subdued Chronomat 44 doesn’t feel like a piece of jewelry, it feels like a tool – I’m actually reminded of the Chrono Avenger from Blood Diamond when I look at it.