Breitling has renewed its partnership with rebellious Australian surf-style brand and motorcycle customizer Deus Ex Machina. To celebrate, Breitling unveils the new Breitling Top Time Deus watch with design input from Deus. The base of the new watch follows the familiar pattern of the 2021 Top Time Deus edition with some design tweaks. On the dial, black gives way to sky blue on the tachymeter scale and sunken TV-set sub-dials. Notably, the new Top Time Deus edition ups the limitation to 2,000 pieces. Raising the number of units is undoubtedly in response to the original Deus being an instant sell-out at 1,500 pieces. Will the new one generate the same demand? Let’s find out.
Looking back to 2021, we never covered the original Deus on Fratello Watches. The team is big on Breitling, and several of our guys own one or more pieces from the Swiss brand. But to this day, the Top Time Deus is divisive amongst our group. The Rolex Milgauss-esque lacquered orange lightning-bolt-shaped chronograph hand is perhaps derivative. And the hand-drawn-effect Deus logo is probably a quirk too far. But to me, these outlandish details lift the classic ‘60s twin-register Top Time design, giving it a rebellious spin. In comparison to last year’s model, the new version tones down the blocky orange accents. It also softens the contrast, as against the off-white dial, the tachymeter is now sky blue instead of jet black.
The Top Time is a revitalized ‘60s chronograph with a round case, pump-style pushers, and twin registers. The sub-dial at 9 o’clock provides the running seconds while a 30-minute totalizer sits at 3 o’clock. Since the revival of the model range, Breitling has experimented with various finishes and colors on the Breitling Top Time Deus . Back in February, I went hands-on with the Breitling × Triumph Top Time. Of the latest releases, the ice-blue dial with black details on the Triumph is possibly the soberest launch. But the Deus brings back the adventurous side of things. However, carrying over from the Triumph model to the Deus are the steel trapezoidal hands with a slither of Super-LumiNova. I prefer these subdued hands to the blocky orange hands of the first Deus edition.
Further changes include the beige luminescent indices. Previously, the Deus had polished steel baton indices with lume dots on the outer edge of the dial. The new liberal use of lume improves readability in low light, and the central hands and indices blend more harmoniously. The sky blue in the tachymeter is a pleasing shade in combination with the off-white dial. Yet the Deus mantra, “In Benzin Veritas” (in gasoline we trust), remains where “units per hour” resides in the Triumph model. Continuing the sky-blue hue are the sub-dials with concentric grooves and color-coded red and orange accents. The stylized Breitling logo is nicely positioned, and the Top Time name now sits just below it rather than just above the Deus logo.
Luckily, the funky central chronograph seconds hand remains among all the refreshing updates. The inclusion of the lightning bolt seemingly divides our team into “love it” and “hate it” camps. But looking at the dial with toned-down elements, the shocking orange hand is even more noticeable, which is a plus in my eyes. Shrouding the striking dial is the boxy, raised sapphire glass with a glareproof treatment on both sides. The round 41mm stainless steel case without crown guards has a slight step down to the lugs. The lugs themselves protrude outward and contribute significantly to the 51.5mm tip-to-tip dimension. Along with the 14.27mm case thickness, the Top Time may be a challenging watch to pull off. It’s worth checking out and trying in person to understand the dimensions.
The solid steel case back conceals the non-in-house Breitling 23 chronograph caliber. This movement, based on the Valjoux 7753, beats at 28,800vph and delivers 48 hours of power reserve. With the snap-on case back and non-screw-down crown, the Top Time Deus is only pressure-resistant to 3 ATM. My advice, therefore, is to keep this watch above water. Affixing the Top Time to the wrist is the motorcycle-glove-inspired brown distressed leather strap with a yellow calfskin underside. The strap slots into the 20mm lug spacing and includes a matching steel pin buckle. The Breitling Top Time Deus is limited to 2,000 pieces