Editor’s Note: This is a preview of the new Breitling Top Time Triumph watches and bike. We hope to go hands-on with the watches soon and provide a more detailed coverage. In the meanwhile grab a helmet and read-on. For our actual hands-on reviews, please head to the dedicated section here.
A Bike On The Road Is Worth Two In The Shed
Speed junkie, legendary actor and perpetual ‘Mr Cool’ Steve McQueen once quipped: “Everytime I start thinkin’ the world is all bad, then I start seeing some people out having a good time on motorcycles and it makes me take another look”.
Not to sound too macho or sexist or anything, but as a guy, collaborations like this are made in testosterone heaven. Steve McQueen was right.
Breitling is releasing two novelties: a regular production ref. A23311121C1X1 with a ‘Zorro’ style dial and a 270-piece limited piece ref. A233111A1C1X1 with the same shade of blue dial but with a sunburst pattern and a special numbered engraving on the back.
The latter 270-piece LE will only be available to those who purchase the special 270-pieces only Triumph Speed Twin Breitling Limited Edition motorcycle exclusively designed for this partnership. For those who may not know, Triumph Motorcycles Ltd is the largest UK-owned motorcycle manufacturer.
Forming a new partnership between two stalwarts in their respective industries is the new Top Time Triumph with a wearable across multiple wrist sizes 41mm x 14.27mm stainless steel body.
And one of most striking aspects of this release is the dial. And its colour. And thankfully, that’s not Tiffany Blue by any measure.
The colour in fact harks back to both Triumph’s and Breitling’s own catalogues — a blue Triumph Thunderbird 6T from 1951 and a rare, blue-dialled Breitling Top Time Ref. 815 from the 1970s — and I respect that both the brands haven’t really jumped on the Tiffany Blue bandwagon but released a colour that’s symbolic of their history.
To agree with McQueen’s sentiment above, everytime I think that blue has been overused in watches, rehashed over and over again, that as versatile as it may be it is perhaps time to move beyond blue (and green soon too), then I see these pictures of a new watch and motorbike with unusual shades of blue and it makes me take another look.
The new Breitling Top Time Triumph is one such watch. Elegant, sporty, and iced out blue to drive your blues away.
For only 7’590 AUD, it doesn’t break the bank too. It’s perfect for those who love motorbikes and Breitling watches, who do not treat luxury items as ‘safe-queens’, and are not scared to wear their watches out and about. Just be mindful of the low 30m water-resistance that bars most aquatic activities but we hope you are not taking your bikes in water anyway.
The sexy new Breitling Top Time Triumph on the wrist is worth two (any other watches) in the safe.
The Wild One
The new Breitling Top Time Triumph Series is inspired by the 1960s café-racer culture, when stylish motorcycles were used to transport their riders from one hip café to another.
Breitling is reviving that culture and the watch borne out of that culture, with the new Breitling Top Time Triumph Series following hot on the heels of the recent Top Time Limited Edition ‘Zorro’ ref. A23310121G1X1, Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection and the Top Time Deus LE ref. A233101A1A1X1.
As both a bike/car and watch enthusiast, I appreciate that both the new bike and the new watches share some similarities: the colour scheme of the Breitling Top Time Triumph is also inspired by the Triumph immortalised in the legendary 1953 biker movie The Wild One. And motorcycle’s speed and RPM gauges are co-designed by Breitling and take their styling cues from the Top Time Triumph dial design.
The bike’s billet-machined aluminium clutch and alternator embellishers with a dark anodised finish showcase an exquisitely machined Breitling logo, while the case-back of the Breitling Top Time Triumph is etched with a detailed design sketch of Triumph’s parallel twin engine.
Then there’s the perforated black leather with contrasting gray stitching seat that complements the strap of the watch.
There are also some other ‘in spirit’ similarities with the engines as well; while the higher-specification and fully adjustable Öhlins piggyback twin rear suspension units make the Triumph LE motorbike the greatest Speed Twin ride ever, the Breitling Calibre 23 ticking inside the Top Time ensures that the accuracy is on the higher-specification end by keeping within the COSC-guidelines.
I realise that many might have an issue with the Breitling Calibre 23 considering it is essentially the ETA-Valjoux 7750 — 30mm x 7.9mm movement beating at the frequency of 4Hz (28’800 A/h) and offering a 48-hour power reserve — but it is nonetheless a tried-and-tested veteran of the watchmaking industry and while even I would have preferred an in-house movement at this price point, the Top Time Triumph overall has enough cool features (and COSC-certification) to counter the ‘somewhat outsourced’ movement (and the low 30m water-resistance and thick 14.27mm case).
The watches are just cool and sexy man, and sometime that’s all one needs. The added references to the movie world, biking culture world, and the shared designs between the bike and the watches, all make the Breitling Top Time Triumph an impressive buy.
And as cool, wild things go, I also appreciate, that whether by coincidence or planning, the new Breitling Top Time Triumph Series was announced on 22.2.22.
“This is where it begins for me. Right on this road,” narrates Marlon Brando’s famous character John “Johnny” Strabler in the movie ‘The Wild One’.
For those like me who love the idea of cruising care-free on their motorbikes, with only the wind, the elements, and the open-road beckoning, or those who love to continue their horological journey of collecting cool timepieces, ‘this is where it begins, right on this road with the new Breitling Top Time Triumph Series’.
It’s time for you to re-live that “freewheeling 1960s café-racer spirit” culture, and hop from one watch meet event to another, wearing the stylish new Top Time Triumph.
“Triumph’s heritage and modern-retro aesthetic are just two of the many things we have in common. Their blending of tradition with technology is completely in sync with what we do”.Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling
“This collaboration is born out of a shared philosophy of bold and original design. The Top Time Triumph brings that uncompromising style and craftsmanship together”.Triumph CEO Nick Bloor
For The Ride
Out of the two versions, my favourite is the regular edition ref. A23311121C1X1, mainly due to the distinctive brushed finish in the bow-tie motif (the Zorro-style dial). Thanks to the different angled brushing, it seems to create two distinct shades of blue, lending the dial that extra oomph.
I also like that just like the fashion mantra, only three colours have been used here.
On both versions, the squared-off black counters not only complement the partial black peripheral minute track and the indices, but also provide contrast with the shape of the watch but also with the icy-blue dial colour. Look deeper and you notice the azurage treatment of the counters, thereby lending them an even more distinct personality.
Both the Breitling Top Time Triumph watches come on a subdued racing-themed calfskin leather strap in black that ties in nicely with the counters. On the strap, there is the third colour, white/gray stitching that complements the use of white as the numerals text on the counters and also on the minute track.
Architecturally, there is a good amount of symmetry to the dial, with the chronograph counters balancing out the 3 and 9, and the Breitling and Triumph logos at 12 and 6. Despite being a bi-compax chrono and with multiple logos, the dial of the Breitling Top Time Triumph is surprisingly uncluttered and legible (and also features a high-contrast tachymeter scale).
I haven’t handled the watch in person yet, but the oversized mushroom pushers seem to be designed to allow for easy control of the chronograph’s stop-start and reset functions.
Since we started with a Steve McQueen quote, let’s end with another: “One of the things that make motorcycling so great is because it never fails to give you a feeling of freedom and adventure”.
With all coolness that the new partnership has to offer, I reckon it’s safe to say that the new Top Time Triumph Series is designed to give you a sense of horological freedom and motorbike adventure.
Just like the Triumph slogan ‘For The Ride’, it’s time to reset your expectations and take both the bike and the watch for the (adrenaline-filled) ride (of a lifetime).
To find out more about the new Top Time Triumph Series and other Breitling watches, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are courtesy are Copyright © Breitling. For those who would love to have their cake and eat it too, aka buy both the bike and the watch, please note that owner’s version orders must be placed with Triumph by August 22, 2022. The cost of the motorbike has not been release by Triumph yet, and you can visit Triumph’s website here to get more information.