Breitling Premier: old name, new interpretation
Earlier this year, Breitling’s CEO Georges Kern unveiled his masterplan for the future of his brand. After the Navitimer 8, the Premier marks the second new collection under his supervision. Once again there is a strong connection to the past.
‘When a man puts on his Breitling, there is the unmistakable stamp of impeccable taste’. A quote of Willy Breitling that particularly applies to the Premier, the watch that was launched in the early 1940s and proved that Breitling’s skills extended beyond the brand’s signature toolwatches. From purpose to style: the Premier was the refined, elegant alternative to bulky pilot- and dive watches.
And it still is today. As Kern puts it during the presentation of the new Premier in London: “Breitling was once a niche brand, but we have the right DNA to play in more than just the aviation segment. We want to fish in a bigger pond.” He emphasises that to succeed in this mission, heritage remains an important asset. “Breitling is a true legacy brand. Also when it comes to sophisticated, urban style watches we have a long and great history.”
In London we have the opportunity to have a close look at the new Premier. As far as we are concerned, it is a successful modern interpretation of the original. To meet the current demands it is bigger than it’s early predecessor, but with a maximum case size of 42 millimetres it still looks and feels slick. The absence of big hour numerals attribute to the – for a Breitling – clean aesthetics. Asked what influence Georges Kern had on the design, he smiles and replies: “When a CEO doesn’t have an opinion, he has a problem.”
Key design features are the bevelled lugs, alternating brushed and polished surfaces and a sloped flange for the tachymeter or minutes. Grooved sidewalls give the watch a dynamic touch, although they can’t disguise the relative thickness of the case (13,65 mm for the B01 Chronograph). Breitling offers different kinds of leather straps, as well as a stainless steel bracelet. For the metallic finished dials, you can choose between black, dark blue, silver and grey.
The Premier-range consists of four models. Top of the line is the B01 Chronograph 42, powered by the in-house B01 movement and easily recognized by the two contrasting coloured sub-dials. The regular Chronograph 42, equipped with a Caliber Breitling 13, has three tone-on-tone registers and a power reserve of 48 hours instead of 70. Besides the chrono’s, there is a time-only Automatic 40 and an Automatic Day & Date 40.