Breitling Premier

Watchonista: Volume 04 Exclusive Preview – Breitling’s Premier Moment

Now that Watchonista: Volume 04 is officially available at Breitling boutiques across North America, here is another sneak peek of one of our magazine-only editorials.

By Mike Espindle
Executive Editor

Eighty years ago, in 1943, as Willy Breitling was designing the original Premier line of watches, he wanted to address customer desires for elegance and glamor. But those early Premiers were a first step in the process of combining straight-ahead timing intention with unabashed horological savoir-faire. In fact, the Premier name didn’t refer to adding a chronograph function to a fine timepiece. Not at all. Rather “Premier” was meant to evoke high style and high quality.

Created from the get-go to be a dressy timepiece with a profound chronographic purpose, the Premier was more than just a civilian version of a tool watch that, at the time, was used for the most part by professionals like racers, pilots, and the military. And since the Premier appeared in many configurations and designs throughout the 1940s, people were bound to find one to match their style.

What were some of the hallmark models from those halcyon days? There was the waterproof Ref. 765 and its twin-register sibling, the Ref. 777. Then there was also the unpretentiously complicated Duograph rattrapante chronograph And, of course, who could forget the elegantly designed full-calendar Datora chronograph?

Then when Breitling introduced new models to the Premier Heritage Collection in 2021, it was clear that the looks of the Duograph and Datora remained an important part of the Premier line. However, after the release of the Premier B01 Chronographs in 2023, it’s just as clear that the original Ref. 777 from 1945 served as their primary inspiration.

Style Meets Substance: The New B01 Family

Before we start exploring the half-dozen models of the innovative 42mm Premier B01 Chronographs released in 2023, you need to know about its ground-breaking movement, the Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01…

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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