The Horse-Powered Breitling Novelties

Breaking news from the Geneva Watch Days. Our digital content coordinator Alex Ballmer presents the newest Top Time collection from Breitling.

Breaking news from the Geneva Watch Days. Our digital content coordinator Alex Ballmer presents the newest Top Time collection from Breitling.

- By Alex Ballmer

Before cruising out on the open roads with this trio of colourful chronographs, I must share some key information about the birth of the Top Time chronographs to fully understand the DNA of this mythical collection.

© Jess Hoffman for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo

“We are sweeping into the field of youth, and we are going to speak their language” said Willy Breitling regarding the Top Time collection back in 1964. Before the launch of the model, the brand was already well known for making successful and well-built chronographs under the Navitimer collection. To attract a younger generation, also known as the baby boomers in the 1960s, Willy Breitling broke the traditional design codes with the Top Time collection making it sportier and more contemporary. He focused on creating a watch for this new generation, even saying: “Young people won’t buy the kind of watch dad wears. They will be interested in a competition watch with special dials and push buttons. A watch that will ‘impress the boys’ – a watch that is both impressive and really elegant.” It was a great success building many iterations that stayed in the brand’s catalogue for many years.

Celebrating this era, Breitling is launching for the Geneva Watch Days a trio of Top Time watches paying homage to classic sports cars from the 1960s. Three unconventional racing chronographs, each based on mythical American cars. Here is a breakdown of the novelties.

© Jess Hoffman for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo

The Top Time Chevrolet Corvette is based on the sublime design of the Corvette C2 (second generation distributed between 1963 – 1969) nicknamed the “Sting Ray” by car lovers.

© Jess Hoffman for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo

On the stunning bright red dial, the corvette logo at 6 o’clock makes it clear where this watch takes its inspiration. The racing pedigree of the design is marked by the three contrasting black sub counters and the black tachymeter scale which will help every car racer time their lapse precisely.

© Jess Hoffman for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo

The second watch of the collection is inspired by the first-generation Ford Mustang.

© Jess Hoffman for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo

This legendary car was compact and affordable, creating a new genre in the sports car world. It quickly reached an iconic status thanks to its popularity amongst rock stars and well-known actors even driving it in some blockbuster movies. This iconic racing vibe is well transcribed into the Top Time Ford Mustang thanks to a stunning green dial contrasted with three black sub-dials and the black tachymeter scale.

© Jess Hoffman for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo

Both models are fitted with the self-winding 1/8th second COSC-certified Breitling Caliber 25 with a 42 hours power reserve housed in a balanced 42mm stainless steel case.

© Jess Hoffman for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo

The Top Time Shelby Cobra with its bold blue dial bearing the car logo at 6 o’clock and two white sub-counters is slightly different by being smaller thanks to the 40mm stainless steel case.

© Jess Hoffman for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo

The engine running the watch is the self-winding 1/4th of a second COSC-certified Breitling Caliber 41 with a 42 hours power reserve. The blue and white colour choice hints back to the Shelby Cobra distinctive paint (blue with white racing straps). This incredible car was imagined by the Le Mans winner Carroll Shelby. He created this small sports car to be the fastest possible thanks to a lightweight English chassis mounted with an American big-block engine.

© Jess Hoffman for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo

I’m not a car enthusiast, but when I was spending time with these models creating this article, I felt this deep connection that the Top Time collection shares with these incredible racing machines. All the watches are a perfect homage to the racing world thanks to the straps, engraving of the car makers logo on the caseback and of course the chronograph function.

© Jess Hoffman for Phillips in Association with Bacs & Russo

The bold colour choices will attract young collectors looking to stand out from the classic timepieces. Willy Breitling’s flair for making watches to respond the market demand is still embodied today in the company’s spirit and will surely last for generations to come.

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