Breitling is renowned the world over for its sports watches, particularly its pilot watches. But you knew that, didn't you? Yes, even if this is your first step into the rabbit hole of wristwatches (and believe us, it most definitely is a rabbit hole), you'll know about Breitling already. How could you not? They position themselves with all the other big names like Rolex, Omega and Tudor. If you see those three in a store, Breitling surely isn't far away. Maybe you've already gone up to the window and admired their watches, glittering in the light that's designed to make them look as attractive as possible.
If you have done this recently, think back to that time and see if you can remember whether there were any dress watches there. You'll undoubtedly have seen the Navitimer pilot's chronograph in all its pride and glory, and the Superocean diving watch. Maybe you'll have even glimpsed the Chronomat, which is designed to be used in any situation. But dress watches are something Breitling doesn't seem to do. At least, that's the feeling we get when we walk into a retailer. Actually, that's not true. Breitling makes some excellent dress watches, but it doesn't shout about them from the rooftops. That's much different from not making dress watches at all. These dressier watches are called the Premier line, and you can see why.
Breitling's Premier line of watches is over eight decades old. When you look at the design of the watches in the current lineup on Breitling's website, you can see the historical influences in the watches, especially the chronographs like the B25 Datora 42, which has a chronograph, calendar and moonphase function.
The old Premier models were typically chronograph pieces. Breitling has a strong historical connection to the chronograph, having been the first watchmaker to develop a wrist-worn chronograph under the tutelage of the company founder's son Gaston Breitling. Gaston's son, Willy Breitling, is often credited with developing the first twin-pusher chronograph mechanism. Until 1934, chronographs were monopusher affairs, meaning one pusher did the start-stop-reset function. The twin-pusher chronograph, the most common variety today, splits the start/stop and reset functions across two pushers, thereby allowing you to start and stop the chronograph as many times as you like without resetting every time.
It's likely that Willy Breitling is also responsible for introducing the Premier. Perhaps the most interesting tidbit of information we found out about the older Premier models is that they were very often tested to the extreme. Breitling knew its watches would be used as dashboard pieces for cars and so made them extra resistant to vibrations and shocks. It's a shame that watchmakers don't seem to build a model range like that any more, not just Breitling, but nearly all of them.
The Premier line of watches was re-invigorated a few years ago to the delight of many Breitling collectors. The new watches look terrific, combining classic design cues with modern ones, embracing the best of both. The Premier Automatic Day-Date 40 is an example of this, which is, sadly, no longer in production. With that said, it does present itself as an excellent buy pre-owned, and we just happen to have one in stock at the time of writing.
A Day/Date watch is a classy one. We know this very well as we're the experts when it comes to watches like the Rolex Day-Date. The Breitling Premier Automatic Day-Date 40 is another classy affair with a simple black dial featuring gold-coloured hands and markers. There's something almost Art Deco about this watch's dial, especially the markers at three and nine o'clock; they're very attractive. These lines also run down the side of the stainless steel case and further amplify that Art Deco feel.
Thanks to a contrasting white backdrop, the day and date windows are easy to read. The date sits at the six o'clock marker above the SWISS MADE text, while the day is displayed at twelve o'clock. Notice how Breitling hasn't needed to use any magnification to make these details easier to read; it's a testament to their design process. It's also helped by the fact that this watch is 40mm across.
Inside it, you'll find the self-winding calibre B45 although it's not on display through a sapphire caseback as it might be on some other Breitling models. The B45 calibre is a variant of the ETA2834-2 movement and has been used across many different Breitling families from the Premier and Navitimer lines and discontinued model ranges like the Transocean and Galactic models. It's a real workhorse movement with a modern 4Hz beat rate and a 38-hour power reserve, making it perfect for daily wear.
The Premier line of watches doesn't get advertised enough by Breitling, but that means it becomes a self-confessed connoisseur's favourite. We love it for its distinctive dial colouration and overall classical design, but there's way more to love about it than just those two points.
If you're interested in purchasing a Breitling, or any other pre-owned luxury watch, please do get in touch and we'll endeavour to source one for you, assuming we don't have one in stock already. Our website is continually updated as we buy and sell all kinds of watches. Don't worry if we don't have the watch you want in stock. We buy and sell a lot of watches, so another one is bound to come around, but you can always contact us, and we can help you source the perfect timepiece for your collection.