By Stella Kirchner
Breitling has released its new Chronomat models, and they’re breaking ground in more ways than one. Taking the name literally, the Breitling Chronomat is supposed to be a combination of chronograph and mathematics (the original name of the model was Chronograph Mathématique), but these new models do away with the chronograph entirely. Instead of a stopwatch function and slide rule, there’s now a second time zone and four different colors to choose from. So what else can the new Breitling Chronomat do? And what do pro athletes have to do with it?
The Breitling Chronomat GMT: By Athletes, for Athletes
Breitling watches are the epitome of sportiness and often contain elaborate and attention-grabbing features and complications. The Breitling Navitimer is a prime example of this, with its large scales and dials. Placed next to it, the new Chronomat GMT looks rather modest and is only vaguely reminiscent of the Chronomat from the 1940s. The original Chronomat attracted attention in its time due to its wide variety uses in mathematical calculations, including the calculation of distances and pulse frequencies, multiplication operations, and tachymeter functions.
But the modest appearance of the new Breitling is deceiving. A second time zone has always been an important feature in the athletic world, and some watch lovers even claim that it’s the most useful complication out there. Adventurers and explorers will appreciate that this watch not only lets them keep an eye on the local time and the time at home, but also works as a compass with its extra hand. The Breitling Chonomat GMT combines these features with the sporty history of the Chronomat series. With a diameter of 40 mm, the watch will fit on just about any wrist and comes across as smaller and more delicate than many well-known Breitling models. The COSC-certified automatic caliber boasts a power reserve of 70 hours and water resistance up to 200 meters (656 feet).
Breitling also pulled out all the stops when it comes to marketing, hiring four world-class athletes to showcase the new model. Snowboarder Chloe Kim, Norwegian soccer player Erling Haaland of Manchester City, NBA star Giannis Antetokounmpo, and NFL player Trevor Lawrence each took one color of the new Breitling Chronomat and showed what it could do in their respective sport. From long, sweaty training sessions on the court with Antetokounmpo to tearing up the half-pipe with Kim, the athletes put the Chronomat’s athleticism on full display. In the past, Breitling opted for Hollywood stars like Brad Pitt to be part of their “All-Star Squad” campaigns, which is also the slogan of the new campaign.
The New Chronomat Women’s Watch – Focus on Sustainability
In addition to the new Breitling Chronomat GMT, the brand also introduced a new women’s version of the Chronomat, revealing another important aspect of the line: sustainability. The gold used in all future Breitling watches will only come from mines that are certified by the Swiss Better Gold Association. From now on, all diamonds will be produced synthetically, so that mining is no longer necessary. “Only a small fragment is needed to produce diamonds using this technique. The fragment is heated up and split, which allows new stones to be artificially produced, without any mining at all,” explained Aurelia Figueroa, Breitling’s Head of Sustainability. According to Breitling, this technique will be used for the first time in the second Chronomat release, the new women’s version. Watch dealers and commentators have mixed opinions about the new diamonds. While some are fans of the sustainable approach, others claim that this is simply a well-marketed cost-saving measure. But Breitling is standing by the announcement. “It doesn’t matter to me how the new diamond is received or whether people claim that we just want to save money. I’m sure that sustainability is the most important challenge of our time and that we’re doing the right thing,” said CEO George Kern in response to criticism.
But one thing’s clear: Between the new diamonds and the eye-catching, sparkly bezel, the new Breitling Chronomat has a special appearance that won’t be to everyone’s taste.
On the other hand, the Unisex GMT version without jewels has a much broader appeal. Due to its relatively small diameter of 38 mm, this watch is a great choice for all wrists. Chloe Kim is part of the “All-Star Squad” for a reason, and she wears the white GMT model, not the diamond-studded women’s model. Unlike the women’s model, the GMT has the practical second time zone and a design well-suited to everyday life. In contrast with brands like Rolex that count on the longevity of designs that have hardly changed over the years, Breitling takes several risks with the design of its new models. The new Chronomat and Chronomat GMT barely resemble the original Chronomat with chronograph and tachymeter scale. But if we’re being honest, wouldn’t you say a GMT function is much more practical than a tachymeter? And how often do we actually use our watch as a stopwatch?