Launched in 1984 against the trends of the period, the CHRONOMAT heralded the renaissance of the mechanical chronograph.
In 2004 BREITLING presented CHRONOMAT EVOLUTION, a new version of the model which has asserted itself as the benchmark in this product category. This restyling represented a significant challenge for BREITLING designers. The result is an opulent, sophisticated chronograph featuring a perfect blend of proportions and curves, while remaining dedicated to its vocation as an “instrument for professionals” thanks to its sturdiness, precision and functionality.
In the early 1980s, Ernest Schneider was the new owner of BREITLING, a brand that had been entrusted to him by his friend Willy Breitling a few months before the latter’s death. Over the decades, the brand had earned and cultivated a reputation as official supplier to numerous armed forces around the world, mainly in the field of aviation. It thus came as no surprise when the famous Italian flight team, the Frecce Tricolori, requested it to develop a wrist instrument to their own specifications.
The keynote features of this development were to be reliability and functionality, while not neglecting aesthetics, since the Frecce Tricolori are first and foremost Italians, with a corresponding sense of style. The appearance of the prototype submitted was somewhat surprising. Firstly because of its volume, and also due to the rotating bezel fitted with rider tabs, intended to memorize time and facilitate rotation, even with flight gloves.
The glare-proofed crystal, combined with large-sized hands, enabled perfect time read-off by day or night. Nonetheless, it was the choice of movement that really took everyone by surprise, since Ernest Schneider had opted for a selfwinding chronograph movement, Valjoux 7750.
This decision seemed completely unreasonable.The world was already ticking to quartz time,which was extremely accurate and required very little space. Swiss watchmakers had indeed just presented the world’s thinnest watch, measuring less than one millimeter! Ernest Schneider justified his choice by the lack of a truly reliable electronic movement, particularly due to the risk of battery failure. The Frecce Tricolori were immediately won over.
This was 1984, BREITLING’s centenary year, and this new product was christened the CHRONOMAT, a name derived from a contraction of the words chronograph and automatic. A few informed connoisseurs soon discovered this chronograph with its avant-garde design. Then came the turn of a broader public, first in Italy, and subsequently around the world. The CHRONOMAT signaled the comeback of the selfwinding chronograph and stimulated renewed interest in complex watch mechanisms.
To mark the brand’s 120th anniversary, BREITLING presented CHRONOMAT EVOLUTION, a new version of its star model, an authentic classic that has established itself as a reference in the field of selfwinding chronographs. Restyling such an important model represented a major challenge for BREITLING designers.
Their in-depth research has culminated in a CHRONOMAT that is larger, more commanding and more opulent, while just as sophisticated: a clever blend of precisely calculated proportions, omnipresent curves and elaborate finishing.
Particular care has been devoted to each and every detail. The dial is meticulously crafted, guilloché-worked and decorated with hour markers or Arabic numerals. The crown and pushpieces are firmly set into the protective case side.
The horns dip elegantly towards the wrist to ensure a perfectly ergonomic fit. Luxurious through and through, the CHRONOMAT EVOLUTION comes in steel, two-tone and yellow gold versions, as well as in a limited series in white gold.
Against the backdrop of its perfectly rounded curves, CHRONOMAT EVOLUTION is above all a genuine “instrument for professionals” in the shape of a sturdy, precise and functional chronograph. By way of example, its case is equipped with screw-locked safety pushpieces enabling it to withstand pressures of 30 bars, equivalent to 300 meters in depth.
This device also provides effective protection against shocks. CHRONOMAT EVOLUTION retains the same “motorization”: Caliber 13, officially certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC), like all BREITLING chronographs. Assembled and “prepared” in the BREITLING CHRONOMÉTRIE workshops, this movement is undoubtedly the most tried and tested of existing selfwinding chronograph movements.
To celebrate the launch of the CHRONOMAT EVOLUTION, BREITLING was also presented an inaugural series dedicated to the Frecce Tricolori, the famous Italian aerobatics flight team.
This is a limited worldwide series of 1,000, featuring a black dial carrying the P.A.N. (Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale) initials and the “Frecce” team emblem. Meanwhile, the back of the steel case features the outline of the nine Aermacchi MB-339A/PAN aircraft making up this exceptional flight team.
Sturdiness is an essential quality of CHRONOMAT EVOLUTION, illustrated by the screw-locked crown and safety pushpieces (also screw-locked) set into the case to keep them safe from shocks.
- Movement: BREITLING Caliber 13, officially chronometer certified by the COSC, high-frequency selfwinding (28,000 vibrations/hour), 25 jewels. 1/4 of a second chronograph, 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers. Calendar.
- Case: steel, two-tone, yellow gold, white gold (limited series). Water-resistant to 300m / 30bars, (gold case:water-resistant to 100m / 10bars). Screw-locked crown. Screw-locked safety pushpieces. Unidirectional ratcheted rotating bezel. Cambered sapphire crystal, glareproofed both sides. Diameter 43.7 mm.
- Strap/bracelet: Barenia leather, crocodile leather, rubber DIVER PRO/PILOT bracelet.