New Release: Breitling Top Time Returns In All Its Glory A Limited Edition Online-Only Release by Michael Stockton March 26, 2020 MIN READNew Release: Breitling Top Time Returns In All Its Glory
Today marks the return of the Breitling Top Time, a legendary vintage chronograph from the 1960s.
If you were hoping for some fun news during these different and difficult times, we think Breitling has taken a good shot at answering the bell. With the new Breitling Top Time, we see the return of a fabled name and the use of a dial design that’s bound to excite both collectors and lovers of chronographs. The watch also debuts a new Arianee blockchain certificate program to help prove authenticity and to transfer ownership of a watch should it be sold to a new owner. You can read more about this on Breitling’s site.
The Breitling Top Time Returns
That’s right, the Breitling Top Time returns and the opening salvo is a limited edition model that will be sold through the brand’s online sales channel. What’s more, is that we have a brand new case design to help usher in the reintroduction. Before we get to some details, let’s spend a few moments on the history of the Top Time.
Breitling introduced the Top Time in 1964. The pared-back model, with its lack of external bezel and slide rules, seemed aimed at the racing market and competitors such as the Heuer Carrera. Top Times were available in several dial styles, case shapes, and with both two and three-register variants. Hand-winding Venus movements were used during a production preiod that lasted until 1972.
A Favorite Vintage Chronograph
I happen to own a few vintage Breitling Top Time models and would invite you to spend some time on a #TBT article about the 810 series of three-register pieces. They’re amongst my favorites and you’ll notice that the later 1960s Mark 1.2 and Mark 2 versions — along with the two-register models — provide inspiration for the case shape used in today’s release.
The Zorro Dial – a vintage Breitling favorite
A little more history is in order to do justice to the Breitling Top Time. With the new model, Breitling chose to create a new version of its famous “Zorro” or “Bowtie” dial. This dial design is uniquely of the brand and it’s something that first cropped up on 1940s Chronomats.
The Top Time later used the motif and we even saw it on the vintage Breitling Sprint that I reviewed. It’s a wonderfully different look for a chronograph and we’re happy that it has returned. Now, let’s get into some details on the newest piece.
The Breitling Top Time rings in at 41mm in diameter and 51mm in length. With a height of 14.73mm, this isn’t a small watch. However, the original three-register models came in at around 38mm. In that respect, I’d call this moderate growth and it’s certainly in shouting distance of other chronographs such as the Speedmaster.
Breitling chose a screw-in solid case back to house the Caliber 23 automatic movement. This movement is a chronometer certified version of either the ETA 7753 or its Sellita counterpart that adds a 30-minute counter. I wasn’t expecting manual wind for this release, but I am positively overjoyed that the faithful won what was likely a tough fight in omitting a date function. And for those who want in-house, I’d simply state that Top Times always used third party movements. I consider the inclusion of a chronometer rating to be a nice touch. Lastly, a brown 20mm Nubuck strap with pin buckle keeps this beautiful thing fastened to one’s wrist.
And a Lovely Dial
One thing that ought to please the grouches is the choice of standard Super-LumiNova. I applaud the move here because it lets the eye focus on the wonderful contrast provided by the black bowtie in league with the red bits. I’m even a fan of the gold applied “B” logo and the fact that “Chronometer” is the only extra information on the dial. Here again, a big thumbs up for holding off any desire to add the superfluous “automatic” wording. Intriguingly, a decimal scale is present instead of the more typical tachymeter ring. I’d use either exactly none of the time, but the choice is worth noting.
Pricing and Availability
2,000 pieces of this Breitling Top Time will be made and as of now, they will be sold exclusively online. The pieces should show online with an ability to order beginning today. Breitling has priced the newest Top Time at €4,850. Compare that to the in-house powered Premier at €7,700 and we have a notable difference.
This new Breitling Top Time pleases me on so many levels. Firstly, a big “well done” to Breitling for releasing this now during a very tough period. It was and is welcome news. More importantly, though, this watch looks fantastic and brings back one of my favorite vintage models. At 41mm, I’d sure love to try it on first, but I’ve been told that it is very wearable. And for those who begin to moan about the non-in-house movement at this price, the complaint isn’t well-founded. I think that unless you’re considering a Seiko or a Tudor (with a Breitling movement ironically), asking for an in-house chronograph at just under €5k isn’t typical. With the Top Time, you’ll also receive the same beautiful finishing we’ve recently noticed from the brand. In my view, this release is a well-timed winner and good news plus good timing is exactly what we need right now.
For more information on the Breitling Top Time, visit the brand’s official site.
Brand Breitling ModelTop Time Limited EditionReferenceA23310121G1X1DialSilver with applied Super-LumiNova®Case MaterialStainless SteelCase Dimensions41mm Diameter, 51mm Lug to Lug, 20mm Lug Width, 14.27mm ThicknessCrystalDomed Sapphire with Anti-Reflective CoatingCase BackScrew-in, Stainless SteelMovementBreitling Caliber 23 (Sellita or ETA 7753), chronometer certified, automatic with hand winding, chronograph with running seconds and 30-minute counter, 28,800 vph, 48 hours power reserveWater Resistance3 BarStrapBrown Nubuck with Pin BuckleFunctionsTime (HH:MM:SS), 30-minute counter and Central Seconds Chronograph HandPrice€4,950, $4,990, 4,950 CHF, £4,100Warranty5 YearsSpecial Note(s)Available online, 2,000 pieces Watch of the Week
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About the author
Michael was born in South Florida in the USA. As a full-time role, he works in the Automotive Industry. He's lived and worked in many locations and when he's not cruising at 30,000 feet, he calls Germany home. Michael became… read more
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