Editor’s note: Breitling had some amazing offerings this year, and you can read about the new Top Time Classic Cars, Premier B09 Chronograph ‘Pistachio’ and Duograph/Datora here, here and here. And while these are all stellar, today we go hands-on with the one that’s pulled the rug from under my feet, the mesmerising new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here.
The Maroon Haze
There are rare moments in time when at dusk the sky is ablaze with the gentle fury of a burning sun. As this ball of fire sets on the horizon, for about a few seconds, the sky is soaked in mysterious red. If a few clouds dare to cross paths, their silver-white fluffy bodies catch the shooting red rays of the sun and soak themselves in the majestic aura of the sunset.
This fraction of a rare moment, of a split-second when the vista has turned to an unimaginable shade of intense red, is masterly embodied in the Bordeaux sun-ray effect dial of the new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy ref. AB0930D41K1P1.
It’s as if through a mist of rich burgundy mixed with delectable maroon the wearer of the timepiece gets to witness the magic of time being churned ever so elegantly and with immaculate legibility. This limited edition of only 250-pieces Premier B09 Burgundy is truly the epitome of grandeur meets stylish-art-of-time-telling.
In 1923, Gaston Breitling gave the world the first chronograph with two pushers, a revolutionary design that would forever change how most modern day chronos would look like. But Breitling’s tryst with horological destiny began way earlier when Léon Breitling patented a simple timer/tachymeter for a pocket watch in 1906. The next chapter in this story occurred in 1915 when Gaston Breitling created one of the first wrist-worn chronographs with an independent pusher, followed by the 1923 invention mentioned above.
Continuing the family legacy, Willy Breitling, Léon’s grandson, in 1934 patented the second independent chronograph pusher (this time at 4’o clock).
Then in 1943, the Breitling Premier Collection was launched as a series of serious yet practical chronographs, watches that combine elegance and glamour with practicality.
Watches like the 1943 Premier ref. 760 Venus 175 36mm and 1945 Premier ref. 777 Venus 175 38mm, both with their bi-compax layout, set as the perfect roots for the new Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy.
The new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy is part of the re-launched Heritage Collection that comprises of three different timepieces, the Premier B15 Duograph 42, Premier B25 Datora 42, and the Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40. Besides this limited edition version in Burgundy, the latter comes in two variations: ref. AB0930D31L1P1 with a pistachio green dial and a stainless steel case, and the ref. RB0930371G1P1 with a silver dial and an 18k red gold case.
“Elegance is the only beauty that never fades,” said Audrey Hepburn.
Essentially the new Breitling Premier Heritage Collection has been in the making for over a hundred years. All this legacy encased inside a compact case of the new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy, and now yours for the taking (for only 10’990 AUD).
The Hands-On Experience
Even though it is that unique dial that’s got me drooling, let’s start with the inside out; the movement itself is of great importance with these pieces, which in turn also assists in the really decent case-sizing.
Under The Hood
All of the three Chronograph 40s including this Burgundy Boutique only edition feature the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B09. Breitling’s calibre B09 is based on their automatic B01 and and has previously been used mostly in other limited-edition run pieces like the AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition and Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition.
This 30 x 6.73mm movement is a manual-winding version of the B01, beats at the same frequency of 4Hz, and offers a similarly impressive 70-hour power reserve.
The interesting bit of trivia here is that Tudor’s MT5813 found in their chronograph offerings (including the popular Heritage Black Bay Chronograph S&G and the new Black Bay Chrono) is either based or derived from this very Breitling caliber and features the inclusion of the same popular nearly 3-day power reserve. Both Breitling and Tudor timepieces are COSC-certified as well.
Given the new Tudor watches still use the existing Breitling x Tudor movement, it’s only reasonable to talk about the former’s competitive edge with the new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Collection.
And now for the outside.
Even besides the use of this popular movement, a main selling point for these would be the case design and dimensions.
Continuing comparisons with the Tudor range, the new Tudor Panda Chronos feature a 41mm diameter and 14.4mm height — with the bund strap it is 16.4mm thick — and 50.7mm lug-to-lug spacing with 22mm lug interhorn spacing.
The B09 movement on the other hand is encased inside a slightly smaller but more wearable for slimmer wrists 40mm diameter and only 13mm thick case with a cambered sapphire crystal on top that is glare-proofed on both sides.
But the biggest and they most pleasing aspect is the reading of only 47.6mm lug-to-lug spacing. This is in the region of the highly successful and popular Tudor Black Bay Fifty-Eight range that reads at 47.2mm. Both of these also feature the welcome 20mm lug interhorn spacing that makes the swapping of straps super easy.
The Tudor Chrono offerings are great in their own rights, but compare the measurements of the new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy to them, and for those with slimmer ~16cm wrists such as mine, the Breitling Burgundy is divine intervention.
I reckon my deep appreciation for this timepiece stems from this too, that besides the highly unusual shade of red, the case architecture itself suits my wrists very well. I own the Tudor BB 58 Navy for this reason, and am so damn pleased with the new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy, that funds (and availability) permitting, would love to add this to my own collection.
That Extra Mile
The new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy also boasts of a number of added design features that enhance the appeal.
Starting from the dial, the applied “B” branding logo is welcome in comparison to the winged logo and adds to the ‘dressy’ vibe of the timepiece. It also complements well the appliqué Arabic numerals that catch the light nicely, and while there is no lume on them, still manage to be legible under changing light conditions. The vintage-inspired syringe shaped hands do feature SuperLuminova in-filling which further will aide in nighttime readability. I am also someone who prefers a bi-compax layout more than tri-compax, and that’s perfectly executed on this clear and highly legible dial.
The dial is almost the textbook definition of what a dress watch with an added chronograph feature should look like.
An exceptional detail is the that the colour of the sub-dials matches that of the chosen brown alligator strap. Everything is simply executed to perfection. And the sub-dials themselves feature an azurage treatment that contrasts well against the sun-ray dial.
Moving outwards, the stepped bezel/sapphire glass combo further adds nuance to the designs and also makes the watch look dimensionally perfect on my wrist size.
The three grooves that mimic detailing often found on sporty cars add to the charm of the case from the sides, also breaking up the visual monotony. These grooves are also carried over to the right aide with the pushers which I appreciate for the sake of design balance.
The crown is knurled and easy to grip, and features the same Breitling logo as found at 12’o lock on the dial.
Last but not least, I also like the use of rectangular pushers and the incorporation of those dramatically sweeping curved lugs that aide in achieving the desirable 47.6mm lug-to-lug spacing.
That’s All Folks!
There is a quote by author Isak Dinesen that reads: “there are many ways to the recognition of truth, and Burgundy is one of them”.
While the Danish Baroness was talking about the wine from the Burgundy region of eastern France, the sentiment still remains; with the new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy, watch connoisseurs get the rare opportunity to recognise a horological beauty in its purest truth: a timepiece with a dial colour like no other, in-house COSC-certified movement with an impressive nearly 3-day power reserve, daily useable water-resistance of 100m, and the stunning architecture of the column-wheel, vertical clutch chronograph movement visible through a display case-back.
Here’s a question to wrap this up: what happens when you take the modern-day IWC Portugieser and somehow make it better? A seemingly impossible task for sure.
You get the Breitling Premier B09 collection. And this is ironic — given Georges Kern’s background — because personally I reckon IWC used to rule in this category of simplistic, timeless watches.
“Simplicity is the soul of modern elegance,” said the American fashion designer Bill Blass. From the inherent simplicity of the dials and the refined applied Arabic indices to the mesmerising burgundy/maroon/bordeaux dial, the new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy is a timepiece that would have fit the JazzAge era of the Great Gatsby predating the originals’ release just as easily as it would sit on the wrists on the modern day gentleman of impeccable taste and character.
Whether be it the roaring fiery red of the setting sun or the lusciousness of the wine from the Bordeaux region, the dial of the new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy is a poetic homage to a horological world par excellence.
To find out more about the new Breitling Premier B09 Chronograph 40 Burgundy and other watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise specified are © Watch Ya Gonna Do About It.