The great American sports car collection gets a new team member and more power under the bonnet with the addition of the Breitling Manufacture calibre 01.

The 1960s was a decade of experimentation, fun, freedom and energy. Life was moving at full speed on a motorbike or in a sports car. Third-generation founder Willy Breitling sensed this change of pace and began to design an unconventional chronograph that captured the era’s energy. He called it the Top Time.

“The Top Time marked a break with traditional watch design for a generation that broke with conventions in every way,” says Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling. “We are going for that sense of freedom and fun with the ’60s-inspired Top Time Classic Cars collection, and are delighted once again to partner with Ford to introduce the new Thunderbird model, along with updated versions of the Ford Mustang Chevrolet Corvette and Shelby Cobra chronographs.” Top Time Classic Cars, a 2021 bestseller collection, proved such a success that Breitling had no choice but to bring her back – this time with even more gas.


From its inception, Top Time was all about action, and it quickly became a favourite among motorbike enthusiasts and the fashion set. One of the first chronographs to be equally sought after by men and women, its bold graphic designs conquered magazines and the silver screen (even the world’s favourite spy, James Bond, wore one in the 1965 film Thunderball). That vibrant tradition continues today with Breitling partnering with some of the coolest names in wheels to create its Top Time designs brands like Deus Ex Machina and Triumph Motorcycles for motorbikes, Ford Thunderbird and Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette and Shelby Cobra for cars.

The updated Classic Cars collection now includes the Ford Thunderbird model with a red strap and a sleek white dial that draws attention to the teal Thunderbird logo and red chronograph hands. The four watches feature the colours and emblems of their sports car counterparts from the 50s and 60s, and all now feature a new engine under the bonnet: the Breitling Manufacture calibre 01.

This exceptionally crafted timepiece, with sophisticated mechanics visible through the open sapphire-crystal case back, offers a power reserve of approximately 70 hours and a 5-year warranty. First released in 2009, Breitling’s 01 calibre is one of the industry’s most highly regarded chronograph mechanics, designed for maximum precision, reliability and functionality. As with Breitling’s mechanical calibres, each has obtained the stringent COSC certification. And as a factory timepiece, it must also pass a gruelling series of internal shock, winding and pressure tests. To accommodate the calibre, the Top Time case has been improved and now offers increased water resistance to a depth of 100 m (10 bar).

Design elements include the perforated leather racing strap, speed-measuring tachymeter scale and contrasting “squircle” (not quite square, not quite round) dials reminiscent of vintage dashboard dials. And like its 1960s style-driven predecessor, the Top Time’s 41 mm stainless steel case is a comfortable size for the car and watch enthusiasts of all car and watch lovers.