Breitling Takes a New Tack With the Premier Collection

The buzzword is ‘elegance’, but don’t write the watches off as wimps.
IMAGE Breitling

Back at the start of the year, Breitling and its newly appointed disruptor CEO Georges Kern gathered members of the watch press to unveil the Navitimer 8 collection, and in a wider sense, the new direction for Breitling as a whole. The boss spoke of being more inclusive, recapturing Breitling’s glamour of old and offering more than just ‘big pilots watches.’

That first collection of the Kernian erawhich featured the handsome, vintage-inspired B01 Chronograph, a super simple 41mm two-hand automatic and the downright pretty 38mm edition of the iconic Navitimerhas been well received across the world. As has Breitling’s new brand identity, which is partly comprised by a series of ‘squads’ who typify the marque’s spirit of style and adventure. Brad Pitt is the Cinema Squad, for example, and Kelly Slater heads up the Surfer Squad. Members of the Explorer Squad appeared at the Esquire Townhouse last month, and as the principle partner of the event, Breitling exhibited its new loft concept: a sea change that is gradually being rolled out to every store around the globe.

Breitling Premier Automatic Day & Date 40 IMAGE: Breitling

Kern and his team have been continuing apace throughout 2018, and the next chapter of Breitling’s renaissance began in earnest this week with the release of the Premier collection. “This is the first modern Breitling collection dedicated to everyday elegance,” said Kern. “With outstanding quality and performance, these watches bear our unmistakable brand DNA, but they have been created with a focus on style that beautifully complements their purpose.”

Breitling Premier Automatic 40 Steel IMAGE: Breitling

Clearly, the highlight is the 42mm Chronograph with the ‘panda’ dial. Few things are as inherently manly and cool as a panda dial chrono, especially one that is reminiscent of the Navitimer (the manliest watch there ever was). The most technically astute piece in the range, it packs a chronometer-certified automatic manufacture movement with a 70-hour power reserve, all visible through the sapphire case back. Reiterating that the Premier is a watch with a focus on style, rather than function, there is a day-and-date edition, and even a 40mm two-hand with small seconds sub dial. 

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Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 IMAGE: Breitling

But despite Kern stating that the Premier collection is “dedicated to elegance”, the watches are still tough and relatively rugged and capable of weathering whatever storm you put them through. Be that on the set of film, an Arctic expedition, or the crest of a Hawaiian wave.

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This story originally appeared on Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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Charlie Teasdale
Esquire Deputy Style Editor
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