FAST FACTS: SIX THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT GEORGES KERN’S BRE­ITLING BLUE­PRINT —

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1. Bre­itling’s prod­uct his­tory, while cer­tainly tied to the high-fly­ing world of pi­lots and jets, has al­ways en­com­passed a broad va­ri­ety of dis­ci­plines, in­clud­ing div­ing, sail­ing, and even ski­ing. New prod­ucts will re­flect this “air-sea-land” di­ver­sity, which Kern de­scribes as nec­es­sary largely due to the suc­cess of a non-avi­a­tion model, last year’s Her­itage Su­pe­r­o­cean II, which be­came the top sell­ing model for the brand in 2017.

2. What has made Bre­itling watches so de­sir­able to cer­tain mar­kets and cus­tomer de­mo­graph­ics – their large sizes and com­pli­cated-look­ing di­als – has also made them harder to sell in China and other Asian coun­tries, where the cus­tomers lean to­ward smaller, sim­pler, and more tra­di­tional time­piece looks. Hence the de­vel­op­ment of prod­ucts like the Nav­itimer 8 – which of­fers more mod­estly sized cases and es­chews the iconic slid­erule bezel.

3. Bre­itling will con­cen­trate on what it does best: ana­log time­keep­ers with me­chan­i­cal move­ments. Quartz-pow­ered pieces like the Skyracer will be phased out, but pop­u­lar out­liers like the Bre­itling Emer­gency will re­main.

4. The sweet spot for watch de­sign and in­spi­ra­tion go­ing for­ward will be the cen­tury span­ning from 1884 to 1984 (with spe­cific in­flu­ences com­ing from the 1930s to the 1950s). The Bre­itling logo un­veiled for 2018 goes for a more vin­tage-style cur­sive text while re­tain­ing the bright yel­low col­or­ing that has be­come so em­blem­atic of the brand, drop­ping the fa­mous Fly­ing “B” em­blem.

5. “Too much choice is no choice,” Kern said when re­fer­ring to the cur­rent plethora of bracelet and strap op­tions of­fered on Bre­itling watch mod­els – Pro­fes­sional, Diver Pro II and III, and Ocean Racer among the rub­ber choices, plus nu­mer­ous col­ors and styles of leather. As part of the clear seg­men­ta­tion of the Bre­itling fam­i­lies, these op­tions will be lim­ited, which will help so­lid­ify each model’s and each col­lec­tion’s iden­tity. It is – in an era dur­ing which nearly ev­ery watch man­u­fac­turer seems to be go­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion, with cus­tomiza­tion and easy strap in­ter­change­abil­ity be­com­ing the name of the game – a bold move.

6. Chrono­graphs equipped with Bre­itling’s in­house B01 cal­iber, or vari­a­tions thereof, will now be more read­ily dis­tin­guish­able from those that use other move­ments, such as the ETA Valjoux 7750. The 3-6-9 tri-com­pax sub­dial ar­range­ment, with date at 4:30, will de­note a B01 move­ment (and hence a higher price point), while the 12-9-6 ar­range­ment with day-date dis­play at 3 o’clock, means the time­piece is pow­ered by the work­horse ETA move­ment. To drive home the point even fur­ther vis­ually, the B01 move­ments will be on dis­play through sap­phire case­backs while the ETA move­ments will be be­hind solid case­backs en­graved with Bre­itling brand­ing.

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