Vin­tage charm has now set­tled into a more per­ma­nent fea­ture on the aes­thetic side of de­sign. Bre­itling has some of the best vin­tage looks around, and here is one charmer you’ll find hard to re­sist.

Esquire Singapore Watch Guide - - CONTENTS - Words by Leong Wong

Bre­itling has some of the best vin­tage looks around, and here is one charmer you’ll find hard to re­sist.

SOME VIN­TAGE PIECES are just old and look it, and then there are those that just ooze charm and in­stantly draw you in to their old-world glam­our. Bre­itling was es­tab­lished in 1884 at the be­gin­ning of the sec­ond watch re­nais­sance of the Swiss watch­mak­ing industry by Leon Bre­itling, in the town of Grenchen in the Can­ton of Solothurn, where many dif­fer­ent watches were de­signed, en­gi­neered and man­u­fac­tured. In this new age, the cot­tage in­dus­tries and in­di­vid­ual parts mak­ers were soon a thing of the past. It was an ex­cit­ing time, things were mov­ing a lot faster and chal­lenges were aplenty, but the Swiss watch industry es­tab­lished it­self as a force to be reck­oned with. Bre­itling was in the thick of it with sports watches as their forté, which soon be­came pop­u­lar with fa­mous avi­a­tors of the day.

The tal­ent ob­vi­ously ran in the fam­ily and the founder’s son Gas­ton Bre­itling pushed the bound­aries fur­ther. He found a way to sep­a­rate the chrono­graph func­tion but­tons from the crown to avoid con­fu­sion when us­ing the watch and the chrono­graph. He de­vised a sep­a­rate pusher, which con­trolled the three chrono­graph op­er­a­tions and placed the pusher at two o’clock on the pocket watch. That was in 1915, and later, he suc­cess­fully moved the stop/start func­tions to the sec­ond but­ton and left re­set with the crown. Once again in 1934, he cre­ated the sec­ond pusher ex­clu­sively for zero re­set­ting. This was rev­o­lu­tion­ary; the chrono­graph func­tions are com­pletely in­de­pen­dent from the crown and clearly mak­ing every­thing in­stinc­tive, com­pletely mod­ernising the chrono­graph that we are fa­mil­iar with to­day. All th­ese moves took time be­cause a chrono­graph move­ment is so com­plex that it is clas­si­fied as a grand com­pli­ca­tion.

Once again keep­ing up the spirit of in­no­va­tion, Bre­itling has in­tro­duced the Transocean Chrono­graph 1915 this year. It is eas­ily one of the best-look­ing watches that we have seen in a long while. The de­sign is in­spired by a by­gone era and so are the me­chan­i­cal func­tions. The face of the time­piece im­me­di­ately trans­ports you back to the early days of Art Deco with the font style of the Ara­bic nu­mer­als coated in vin­tage beige lu­mi­nes­cent. Mean­while, the dial is off-white with two grey sub-di­als for con­tin­u­ous sec­onds and a chrono minute counter, all de­signed to give a hint of the past. The hands are coated with lu­mi­nes­cent in vin­tage beige as well.

The tech­nol­ogy that drives this chrono­graph is some­thing new, of course; in fact, it is a brand new in-house man­u­fac­ture Bre­itling Cal­i­bre B14. Show­ing their acu­men for in­no­va­tion, the chrono­graph has a patented two-tiered dou­ble col­umn-wheel sys­tem, which ac­ti­vates the con­trols that are ar­ranged on two lev­els. The watch is pow­ered by a handwound me­chan­i­cal move­ment with a chronome­ter-cer­ti­fied by COSC, which emits a fre­quency of 28,800vph, and when com­pletely wound, has a power re­serve of 70 hours.

The dial and the move­ment sit in the al­ready clas­sic Transocean brushed pol­ished stain­less steel case, with an orig­i­nal ta­pered lozenge-shaped pusher from the 1915 edi­tion, again giv­ing it that vin­tage feel. To com­plete the en­tire look, the watch comes with a strap choice of clas­sic steel mesh, which makes a strong state­ment, or brown croc to give it a sportier look. If the watch does not trans­port you back in time, at least the de­sign might put you in the mood, es­pe­cially if you are a wartime avi­a­tion buff who has a taste for all things vin­tage. With the in­no­va­tive con­struc­tion and en­gi­neer­ing of the new two-tiered chrono­graph, the Transocean Chrono­graph 1915 has to be one of the best chrono­graphs this year, if not the most beau­ti­ful.

Top: Transocean Chrono­graph 1915.

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