THE PREMIER RETURNS,
80 YEARS AFTER IT FIRST TOOK THE CHRONOGRAPH FROM TOOL WATCH TO STYLE STATEMENT
Introducing six new Premier models, updated with a heritage-inspired design and equipped with the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01. Their launch coincides with a new book chronicling the genesis of Breitling’s most collectable chronograph.
By 1943, Willy Breitling had built a name for himself as a maker of aircraft instrumentation and tool watches that met the functional needs of wartime. But the third-generation Breitling founder also dreamt of a time after the war when utility would give way to unbridled optimism. With that future in mind, he designed a series of elegant chronographs and assigned them the best materials, finishings, and calibres. He called his new line the Premier.
Reintroduced by Breitling in 2021, the Premier Heritage chronograph collection revived Willy’s dream of seeing the functional chronograph made undeniably elegant and infinitely wearable — in his words, “the unmistakable stamp of impeccable taste.” Today, the Swiss watchmaker adds six new references to the Premier assortment, all powered by the self-winding Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01.
“We are committed to preserving Willy Breitling’s bold vision of combining the precision of a professional tool watch with the sophistication of a modern dress watch,” says Breitling CEO Georges Kern. “The Premier embodied the hopeful energy that emerged in the postwar era, and we are proud to continue that tradition with a modern-retro version for our times.”
THE HEIGHT OF PRECISION, INNOVATION, AND STYLE
Breitling’s speciality has always been the chronograph, and each of the brand’s three founding fathers had a role in shaping it. When he started his business in 1884, Leon Breitling put his expertise into perfecting the pocket-watch timekeeper. His son Gaston introduced the first wrist-worn models that included an independent pusher at 2 o’clock. And his grandson Willy added the second pusher at 4 o’clock — establishing the form of the modern chronograph used across all watchmaking today. Willy would then go on to take the family vision one step further, giving the chronograph style as well as function.
The new Premier B01 Chronograph 42 assortment also matches Willy Breitling’s uncompromising technical standards. The six models are powered by the self-winding Breitling Caliber 01, a manufacturing movement designed for maximum precision, reliability, and functionality. First released in 2009, it is one of the industry’s most highly regarded chronograph movements. As with all of Breitling’s mechanical calibres, each has achieved the rigorous COSC certification for accuracy within -4 and +6 seconds per day.
Just as gruelling is Breitling’s own in-house 16-year-ageing equivalent that includes shock testing (approx. 60,000 shocks at 500 G), crown testing (more than 100,000 crown winds), winding of the oscillating weight (3,456,000 weight turns) and chronograph pusher testing (approx. 5,840 start-stop-reset engagements).
The latest iteration of the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01 in the new Premier chronograph was redesigned in 2022. It featured a trimmer profile and more compact oscillating weight that can be admired through the transparent sapphire-crystal case back. The movement comes with a five-year warranty and provides an approximately 70-hour power reserve. In keeping with Willy’s desire to marry usability with elegance, the Premier now has a 100 m (10 bar) water resistance.
To create the design of the new Premier, Breitling preserved distinctive vintage-Premier design details, including the smooth fixed bezel, twin-register dial, streamlined rectangular pushers, and applied Arabic numerals. At 42 mm, the case diameter is slightly larger than the 40 mm found on the existing B09 (manual-wind) models. The tone-on-tone subdials with chronograph minutes at 3 o’clock and running seconds at 9 o’clock lend a polished style, while new dial shades in salmon, blue, green, black, and cream add a contemporary twist to the stainless-steel models. A further variation in 18K red gold features a classic cream dial. The watches come with a classic alligator leather strap or sleek 7-row metal bracelet.