When you see a triple calendar chronograph replica watch today, it’s usually an actual vintage example from the 1940s or ’50s. Even as everything vintage is fresh again, most modern watchmakers don’t bother with the cost and complexity of this elegant combination of features.
Collectors still love them, however — and copy Breitling’s latest resurrected model is a primo example.
Honestly, we didn’t think we’d get such a cool 1940s-styled Premier when we wished for it just yesterday in predicting what the Watches & Wonders trade show might bring. (This is how you know you’ve had your head in the watch world too long.) In fact, the new-again 42 mm copy Breitling Premier B25 Datora is even cooler than we’d hoped for, and it joins a range of several models based on 1940s chronographs.
The layout is as classic as it gets: two windows at 12 o’clock for the month and day of the week, and a 6 o’clock subdial for the moon phase indicator and date. (The rest of the functions are typical time and chronograph features.) The chronograph and annual calendar features each require complicated mechanics, and together they display a good deal of information. It’s testament to great engineering and design that it can all come together so elegantly.
The best quality copy watch is available in two versions. A steel model steals the show with a copper dial (some might call it “salmon”), but a red gold-cased version has a very classical feel, thanks to its cream-colored dial. Both are 42mm wide (a bit smaller would’ve been nice) and run on the brand’s own in-house B25 automatic movement. The new movement is based on the Breitling B01 and was developed in collaboration with the Swiss company Concepto.
It shouldn’t be surprising that complicated mechanical Breitling replica watches are expensive; the steel version runs into five figures and the one in red gold is more than double that. Considering its complexity and in-house movement, however, a price difference of a couple grand between these and simpler chronographs in the collection doesn’t seem unreasonable. Both are available directly from the brand or from the Hodinkee Shop, at a price of $10,250 in steel or $22,850 in red gold.