It’s now been well over a year since the arrival of Georges Kern as CEO of Breitling. The first releases after his arrival fell into the new “Navitimer 8” series and while they were nice, some felt that they were a touch plain.
Personally speaking, I like them and I think the neutral reception from most was based more upon the shock of seeing Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 that weren’t in the vein of the blingy Bentley series than anything else. Still, it was clear that the watch world was waiting for something earth shaking and triumphant as a result of Kern’s leadership. While today’s subject still likely lacks the “shock and awe” that most seemingly desire, a closer look will hopefully convince you that Breitling is in far safer hands than it has been in a very long time. If nothing else (although I strongly feel there’s something far more at work here), the new Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph should be taken as a positive omen that serious goodness will continue to come from the revamped Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 brand.
One thing that so many of us watch curmudgeons disliked about Breitling over the past 20 years was its apparent disregard for its back catalog. Sure, the company was happy to proudly display its founding date, but they consistently threw sand into the eyes of the faithful in several ways such as wrongly reporting the year of the first Navitimer. Then, abominations such as the wrist-colossus Bentley pieces made their way to the market and it felt as if the brand had reached a point of no return; we’d never see nods to the brand’s glorious past. Well, enter 2017 and Georges Kern joined. In his prior role, he made IWC extremely successful, but some would say at the expense of keeping the brand’s subtle, technical, teutonic styling intact. So, what would we get with Kern at Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 ?
It’s no secret that I have a strong affinity for Breitling’s history and its simply ridiculous library of vintage chronographs – heck, I dedicated a good bit of my vacation to compiling the lengthy “Breitling Expert Interviews”. Furthermore, I “virtually” hang out with a gang of Breitling collectors and it’s no secret as to who leads this band of thugs: Fred Mandelbaum. What I can share with you is that prior to Kern’s arrival, it was as if someone was constantly poking a voodoo doll in the guise of Fred. Whether it was the release of another ginormous monstrosity from his most favorite marque or, worse, seeing TAG Heuer grab its, by comparison, relatively slim history by the horns and run with it, it was clearly bothering Fred. And so, when Georges Kern came on the scene, we heard that he had reached out to Fred and all of us slept a bit better that night. While I am not here to comment on Fred’s involvement with Breitling and its new designs, (we know that he travels extensively with the brand to help shed light on its history to collectors and dealers) something tells me that he at least threw down some guiding opinions on the new Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph.
The Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph joins a number of other new models within the reissued Premier line. In addition to the in-house 42mm B01-powered models (there are several dial variants including a beautiful green Bentley version – yes, a beautiful Bentley version), there are 42mm ETA 7750-powered models, 40mm automatics with sub-second dial, and 40mm day-date models. All of the models can be had on either leather or a stainless bracelet featuring links that are “cut on the bias” as a former boss once said. Today, though, we’re only here to talk about the range-topper and that’s the Breitling Avenger B01 Chronograph 44 .