Editor’s note: Breitling in the last year or two has been particularly on fire. One stellar release after another, they now present the new Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection. Until we get hands-on, here’s our preview and the Gut Reaction Review (Grr…). For our standard detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
The above sentiment by Carroll Shelby is valid even today. No matter how fancy the watch ads may be, if the timepieces don’t end up backing up the hype, any new release can end in obscurity.
The new Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection fortunately drives along all the right routes.
Wearable sizing of 40mm and 42mm catering to both slimmer and larger wrists, a burst of colours, American muscle cars inspired aesthetics, and a COSC-certified engine, all ensure that this latest Capsule Collection will rev your heart, lubricate your desires, add fuel to your motorsports passion, and take your wrist for a well-deserved horological ride.
Picture this: the adventurously curved body of the landscape is serenaded by the myriad views of the setting dusk sun. The seemingly never-ending road unwinds, turning at every curve of the mountain slope. The sun’s rays play hide and seek. You drive along throwing caution to the wind.
Adventure seekers will agree that there is a precise moment where high-speed, open roads, and the thrill-seeking heart all meet. In this fleeting, carefree but almost divine moment one lusts for nothing. The journey beckons, the heart satisfied. The powerful hum of an American muscle car blanks out all other sounds, and the adrenaline simply pushes forth.
In this perfect picture frame, a real-life postcard moment, the only other thing I can think of that can add pleasure is a handsome watch strapped around my wrist.
But it can’t be just any watch. It has to blend in, work with the environment, be a part of the of the serene nature I find myself in. It has to be inspired by the world of cars and high-speed.
Meet the perfect watch collection, for this perfect utopian moment: zoom says the new Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection.
Last year Breitling revived the classic Top Time watch collection with the limited ‘Zorro’ edition. Coincidently, the Zorro one sits right in the middle of the new releases, measuring in at 41mm diameter. Out of the three new releases, the Chevrolet Corvette and the Ford Mustang models sit at 42mm and the Shelby Cobra one comes in at 40mm.
I appreciate how all these 4 versions within Breitling’s Top Time series have their own distinct aesthetics and sizes, thereby not ‘eating into’ any of the models and allowing Breitling and sports car enthusiasts to amass quite a neat collection.
For those collectors who frequently like to showcase their timepieces, the new Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection provides with a sort of Concours d’Elegance, a show where they can present their watches and they can be selected — or improved by different strap changes and turning them into ‘Day-two’ cars for the wrist — for highest levels of quality.
The New Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection
The new Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection is here to not only pay homage to classic sports cars from the 1960s but also to enthral connoisseurs of speed and luxury timepieces. And what better way to do this than cast the spell of the likes of Chevrolet Corvette, the Ford Mustang, and the Shelby Cobra.
The great American car culture now rests on your wrists, ticking away to Swiss perfection, waiting for you to take time on a spin.
These automatic mechanical watches come in two dial and sub-dial variations: tri-compax or what I would call Cruise-O-Matic (three-speed automatic transmission) and bi-compax or Ford-O-Matic (two-speed).
Model 1: Top Time Chevrolet Corvette ref. A25310241K1X1
Inspired by the second-generation Chevrolet Corvette C2 distributed from 1963 to 1967, this one mimics the Corvette nicknamed “Sting Ray” with its striking and bold red colour way.
Model 2: Top Time Ford Mustang ref. A253101A1L1X1
This one is inspired by the first-generation Ford Mustang, produced from 1964 to 1969. Personally, I find it mostly derived from the iconic 1968 Ford Mustang GT from the Steve McQueen starrer Bullitt.
For the pressure of car enthusiasts, with these two models display the car logos at the 12’o clock on the dial, while the next model displays it at the 6’o clock position.
Model 3: Top Time Shelby Cobra ref. A41315A71C1X2
Last but not the least is the blue and white model, and my personal pick of the three, the bi-compax model inspired by the early 1960s British-American Shelby Cobra.
Not being a tri-compax style dial, it is more ‘breathable’ and appears less cluttered. I would call it the ‘acid dripped’ version thanks to the reduction.
Mind you, I haven’t actually test driven any of these on my ~16cm slim wrists, so I can’t say for sure which look the best in person, but based on the media images sent to us, the combination of a blue dial, a white tachymeter scale, and two white contrasting sub-dials is simply a show stealer.
Thanks to only two sub-dials, his version also speaks the most to me in terms of replication on the wrist, thanks to the presence of the classic blue base with two white racing stripes.
Another feature I like on this one in particular because there is space for them to shine, is the design of the sub dial counters. Instead of being circular, they have a very Heuer Monaco-esque vibe to them which I personally prefer.
The red and green models feature the Breitling Calibre 25 movement. It is a COSC-certified, self-winding movement featuring a 1/8th of a second chronograph and a ball-bearing rotor. The 29.3mm x 6.9mm movement beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) and offers a 42-hour power reserve.
The movement is cased inside a 42mm diameter and 13.65mm thick stainless steel case that offers a welcome — an increase from Zorro’s 30m — 100m (100 ATM) water resistance. The case frames the red or green dials with black tachymeter scale and black contrasting sub-dials and legibility is ensured thanks to the incorporation of Super-LumiNova® luminescent in-filled indexes and hour and minute hands. Completing the sporty aesthetics is the presence of a black or brown calfskin leather strap with folding clasp respectively.
The Shelby Cobra model features the Breitling Calibre 41. It is again a COSC-certified, self-winding movement featuring a 1/4th of a second chronograph and a ball-bearing rotor. The 25.4mm x 6.8mm movement beats at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) and offers a 42-hour power reserve.
The movement is cased inside a 40mm diameter and 13.30mm thick stainless steel case that again boasts of 100m (100 ATM) water resistance.
If you compare these to last year’s ‘Zorro’, these are a bit different than the calibre 23 used in last year’s Top Time ‘Zorro’. To point out the difference that matters the most for casual wearers, that 30mm x 7.9mm movement was based on the revered ETA 7753 and offered an increased 48-hour power reserve (while as fas as I know, both of these new models feature movements based on the ETA 2892-A2). Rest assured, with a solid engine, these timepieces are anything but ‘trailer queens’.
“It’s about the journey, not the tempo. And that’s true whether you’re tinkering under the hood or hitting the road for a Sunday ride celebrating these beautiful machines,”Breitling CEO Georges Kern
Just like the exceedingly popular five-spoke wheels — Magnum 500 — manufactured back in 60s, the new Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection is bound to end up as one of the most popular sports car inspired choices of the present day.
My appreciation for them aside, much as I like these, personally, I find it a slight missed opportunity for Breitling not to name or market these after iconic movies where these were used. The Corvette could be from either 1978’s Corvette Summer or 1967’s Hot Rods To Hell, The Mustang from Bullitt, and the Shelby Cobra from the first Iron Man movie.
I understand it would be be costlier with harder to obtain licenses from movie studios and what not, but imagine!
I reckon having these association would have perhaps catered even more to the target audience’s interests and associations.
Nonetheless, all these watches are very cool on their own and definitely imbibe the true spirit of those cars they represent.
The Boss aka limited edition variant
I also look forward to a very limited edition version of these series, a ‘body in white’ version if you may: a simple bare-bones time only version that’s got the best of the three distilled into it; a sort of a ‘sleeper’, something a car enthusiast can treat as if they were working on their own car/watch and it’s powered by a beast — one of Breitling’s 70-hour + in-house movements — under the hood.
As a suggestion, this limited edition could be only 2,724 of them, derived from the AAR ( tribute to the All American Racers from 1970s).
That’s All Folks!
Which guy doesn’t like muscle cars? Heck, even the present US President has said in the past: “I know I’m not supposed to like muscle cars, but I like muscle cars”.
I reckon these should sell like hotcakes for the brand, especially among the race cars enthusiast community.
Those like this writer who may not have the privilege of owning a classic American muscle car now have the privilege of owning and enjoying for a long time the next best thing: a timepiece inspired by cars such as Corvette, Mustang and Cobra thanks to the new Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection.
I will wrap this up with a short Carroll Shelby quote: “I love horsepower”.
If you are one of those who feel the same, then the new Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection is the logical next step in quenching your thirst for speed by adding a sporty pièce de résistance to your watch collection.
It’s time to test drive the new Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection.
For more information on this watch and other Breitling watches, head to their website here. All images unless otherwise specified are © Breitling.