By Ashley Davis
One of Breitling’s 2020 novelties is this Superocean Heritage Automatic 42 Boutique “Rainbow” Limited Edition timepiece with a steel case, black dial and leather strap ($4,520).
New York—It’s safe to say Breitling has proved itself to be ahead of the curve.

The Swiss watchmaker announced its decision to exit Baselworld after the 2019 edition, before this year’s exodus of major companies upset with the trade show’s rescheduling in light of the coronavirus pandemic, among other issues.

At the time of its departure last year, Breitling said it would host its own summit to showcase new pieces, as it did in October 2018.

While other brands, such as Rolex and Tudor, have debated on how, when and where to present their 2020 offerings, Breitling has seemed to adapt with relative ease, holding a digital summit earlier this month in place of a physical one.

“We need to stay in contact with the watch lovers around the world,” noted CEO Georges Kern in a pre-recorded video.

Kern introduced three new collections, updates to previous Breitling styles.

20200421 Breitling 1A mix of Superocean Heritage Automatic 42 1957 edition chronographs

The first, the Superocean Heritage ’57 capsule collection, is an ode to surfing, and “is a contemporary interpretation of our iconic sea watches of the ‘50s and ‘60s,” said Kern.

Featured on the wrists of contemporary surf icons Kelly Slater, Sally Fitzgibbons and Stephanie Gilmore, the new pieces feature some key hallmarks from the original style released in 1957, like oversized indexes and concave bezels.

They’re powered by the in-house Breitling Caliber 10 movement.

The three key styles are available in limited production, though not numbered, priced between $4,380 and $5,690.

A special-edition rainbow version is limited to only 250 pieces and priced at $4,520 for a leather strap (seen at top of article) and $5,025 for a steel bracelet.

20200421 Breitling 2The women’s timepiece collection, Navitimer 35, features six references, seen here.

The new Navitimer Automatic 35 collection is designed for women and hearkens back to the Breitling watches female pilots wore in the first half of the 20th century, as seen in vintage ads from the watchmaker.

Kern explained of the styles that provided both fashion and function, “Contrary to what you might have heard, over the years the history of the wristwatch is feminine.

“While there may be some disagreement, there’s no question that in the earlier part of the 20th century wristwatches had become a popular accessory for fashionable women in Paris and New York. However, offering elegant horological jewelry wasn’t enough for Breitling at the time.”

The new time-and-date watches are a refined version of the utilitarian Navitimer original, available in six references, each powered by the Breitling Caliber 17 movement.

Some feature mother-of-pearl dials and diamond accents. Three references are available on stainless steel or 18-karat gold bracelets, while the other three come on a variety of leather straps in some unexpected shades like deep blue and burgundy.

The collection starts at $4,310, with the most expensive reference selling for $8,800.

Chinese actress and philanthropist Yao Chen is the face of the new Navitimer 35 campaign.

20200421 Breitling 3The Chronomat B01 42 Bentley version is stainless steel with a green dial. It’s available now for pre-order for $8,100.

Breitling dipped into much more recent archives to relaunch its Chronomat collection, which saw cult popularity in the 1980s, in what Kern called a “courageous direction away from thin, quartz watches” that “made the mechanical chronograph cool again.”

The style was created under the reign of Ernest Schneider in honor of Breitling’s 100th anniversary in 1984.

It was a more universal version of a watch created the year prior in collaboration with famed Italian pilot squadron, the Frecce Tricolori. The Chronomat was also beloved by racecar drivers and sailors.

The 2020 Chronomat has been reinvented as an all-purpose sports watch, which pays tribute to the original with a 42 mm reduced case size recalling the symmetrical shape of the ‘80s version, the famous “rouleaux” bracelet with a brushed surface and polished interlinks, interchangeable rider tabs on the bezel that offer countdown features for pilots and count-up for divers, and a tachymeter on the inner bezel to measure average speed.

The Chronomat is available in various dial colors, like blue and green, in stainless steel or gold, as well as a completely gold version.

In honor of the 60th anniversary of the Frecce Tricolori, there are also 250 limited edition pieces featuring the squadron’s logo.

Every watch in the collection features in-house mechanical movement Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, which delivers about a 70-hour battery reserve. 

Hollywood heavyweights Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron and Adam Driver front the Chronomat campaign.

The Chronomat collections begins retailing at $8,100 and tops off at $20,200.

Breitling’s 2020 novelties are available now on as well as retailers’ ecommerce stores.

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