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First designed by Willy Breitling himself in the 1940s, the Breitling Premier was dedicated purely to style and everyday elegance. While their iconic Chronomat and Navitimer collections represent the utilitarian and hard-wearing segment of the catalog, the Premier was especially geared towards discerning and stylish clientele.
With their refined cases, elegant details, and tasteful, retro-modern touches, watches from the Breitling Premier line show the brand’s ability to expand beyond the world of aviation. Impeccable movements, and chronograph, day & date, and moonphase complications deliver the quality and performance that Breitling has been known for, while keeping balanced proportions.
Today, the Premier collection offers an impressively large diversity of design configurations, from a wide range of dial colors to an array of available straps, embodying the dynamic taste and lifestyle of its clientele. Explore our collection of Breitling Premier watches at SwissWatchExpo.com.
In the early 1940s, Breitling was steadfast in its mission to provide precise and reliable aviation instruments, mostly for pilots and the military. Then President Willy Breitling, known for his impeccable style, started recognizing the needs for products that embody elegance and glamour – a complement to the robust tool watches that Breitling has been known for.
Willy wanted to develop a distinctive collection, meant for discerning and stylish clientele who were looking for daily wearers. The Breitling Premier was then launched in 1943, positioned as a watch for everyday elegance, but still with the versatility and sportiness found in all other Breitling wristwatches, such as the iconic Navitimer or the stylish SuperOcean diver, both of which will be launched in the 1950s.
Breitling Premier cases were crafted from either solid gold or stainless steel, and in modest 32mm to 38mm sizes. They were created for the gentleman’s day-to-day, whether they’re at work, drinking in a classy bar, or going for a ride in the countryside.
Breitling also continued to build their reputation as elite chronograph makers, by adding complications to the Premier collection. These include the Duograph, a split-second chronograph; and the Datora, a complete calendar chronograph displaying the day, date, month and moon phases.
In reviving the Breitling Premier about 80 years later in 2018, the company had the same vision: to bring a touch of elegance to a catalog that is dominated by robust tool watches. The Breitling Premier revival combined the refined look of vintage chronographs with current market demands, particularly larger case sizes (the B09 is a modern 40mm, while the B01 is the collection’s largest at 42mm).
The new Premier collection began with a collection of four core models: time only, day-date, and two chronograph formats with an array of dials and bracelet options. The line has since expanded to include a revival of the Duograph (rattrapante) and Datora (complete calendar), as well as collaborations with the Bentley brand.
Today’s Breitling Premier collection pays homage to the sport-dress watches of yore with a fusion of elegant dials, balanced proportions, and modern movements, ensuring that it adapts to the needs and lifestyle of the modern gentleman.
Re-introduced in 2018, the Breitling Premier collection revives the elegant chronographs of the brand from the 1940s. This new range of watches combines classic looks with modestly sporty features – think sports chrono meets dress watch. Here are the main models under the new Breitling Premier collection:
The Breitling Premier Automatic features a seconds sub-dial at 6 o’clock. Measuring 40mm, it is offered in stainless steel and 18k rose gold, and features a range of anthracite, silver, or blue dials. Each model comes with a matching metal bracelet, or a choice between an alligator or nubuck calfskin leather strap. Its movement is the Breitling Caliber 37.
The Breitling Premier Day & Date features a date display at 6 o’clock and displays the day in full at 12 o’clock. Available in stainless steel, it measures 40mm and features a black or silver dial, and is offered either with a matching bracelet, or a choice between an alligator or nubuck calfskin leather strap. Its movement is the Breitling Caliber 45.
There are three chronograph renditions within the Premier line, each paying tribute to the classic Breitling chronographs from the 1940s while adding sophisticated movements and complications.
CHRONOGRAPH – the Premier collection features two chronographs, both with bi-compax layout and rectangular pushers. They come in two sizes – the 42mm is powered by the manually wound in-house Caliber B09, while the 40mm is powered by the in-house Caliber 01, a COSC-certified chronometer. Both sizes are available in an array of dial colors and with case materials that include stainless steel and 18k rose gold.
DUOGRAPH – the Duograph is a heritage revived version of one of the most elaborate watch complications. “Duograph” was a term used by Breitling in the 1940s, which basically means “chronograph rattrapante" or split-seconds chronograph, to record multiple time intervals.
Measuring 42mm, it comes in two variations - stainless steel with a blue dial or in 18k rose gold with a black dial. It is powered by the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B15, featuring two patented technologies meant to streamline the mechanism and improve its accuracy.
DATORA – the Datora is one of the most refined Breitling chronographs with its complete calendar (day, date, and month) and moon phase displays. This heritage revival comes in two variations: in stainless steel with a copper dial, or in 18k rose gold with a silver dial. It is powered by the Manufacture Caliber B25.
The 2018 re-edition of the Breitling Bentley collection was moved within the Premier line. Inspired by the original 1940s Premier, this line of watches is the first collection from the brand to be dedicated solely to style. Refined cases and modern retro touches of the collection were combined with allusions to Bentley design details.
The collection includes the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley British Racing Green and the Premier B01 Chronograph Bentley Centenary, whose dial was inspired by the dashboard of the 1929 “Blower” Bentley. The interior inspiration continues with the leather strap options, whose diamond-quilting is reminiscent of Bentley’s leather seats.
Also within this collection is the Premier B01 Chronograph Mulliner, a limited edition of 1,000 pieces which celebrates the Continental GT Convertible Mulliner Edition. The Mulliner line is renowned for its exquisite bespoke handcrafted coaches, and the timepiece echoes their elegance through a vertical brushed dial with blue and red accents.
Breitling’s sale and manufacture are documented using reference numbers. These are composed of a 12-digit alphanumeric code, wherein each number or letter corresponds to a code that describes watch’s material, design, movement, and certification.
1st letter – case or bezel material
A – Steel bezel/case
B – Steel bezel/case/gold riders
C – Rose gold bezel/steel case
D – Yellow gold bezel/steel case
E – Titanium bezel/case
F – 18kt bezel/titanium case
G – White gold bezel/steel case
H – 18kt rose gold bezel/case
J – 18kt white gold bezel/case
K – 18kt yellow gold bezel/case
L – Platinum bezel/steel case
M – Blacksteel bezel/case
N – Carbon case
P – Platinum bezel/steel case
R – Red gold bezel/case
T – Palladium bezel/case
V – Black titanium bezel/case
X – Breitlight® case
Y – Ceramic bezel/steel case
2nd and 3rd digits – movement or caliber used
10–49 – Mechanical movements
50+ - Quartz movements
4th digit – denotes whether the movement is COSC certified or not
0 – non-COSC certified
3 – COSC Certified
5th and 6th digits – model type, composed of random numbers
7th & 8th digits – case finishing
10 – Satin/brushed/titanium finish
11 – No special finish
12 – Polished finish
13 – Satin and polished finish
53 – Diamond bezel
9th digit – dial color
A – mother of pearl, white, beige, ivory, arctica
B – black, anthracite, diamond black, royal ebony
C – blue, moroccan blue, meteor, neptune blue, peacock blue
E – rhodium
F – slate, slate-grey
G – silver, silver storm
H – champagne, amber, desert dune
I – yellow
J – smoke grey
K – red, burgundy, sunset, rose
L – green, turquoise, laurel green, spruce
M – graphite, titanium
O – coral
Q – bronze, havana, grey violet, burnt oak
10, 11 & 12th digits – three random numbers referring to the dial design
While Breitling’s reference numbers provide a lot of information, we must note that models made before the year 2000 don’t indicate the production period of the watch.
Intended for stylish and discerning clientele, the Breitling Premier line represents everyday elegance, to complement the Swiss brand's utilitarian and sporty side. Here are the most frequently asked questions about the Breitling Premier collection.
Designed by third-generation owner Willy Breitling in the 1940s, the Premier was the brand’s first collection that was intended purely for style. With refined cases and elegant details, the range catered to the fashion-forward gentleman.
It was reintroduced in 2018 with modern-retro touches that uphold the Breitling chief’s impeccable taste, and COSC-certified movements that are in keeping with the brand’s reputation for reliability and quality.
This new collection is made up of a series of references in time only, day-date, and chronograph formats with an array of dials and bracelet options.
Breitling Premier watch models are water-resistant to 10 bar (100 m, 328 ft), which means they are “splash proof”.
They are safe for hand washing, swimming at the surface, and other water sports, but not for diving.
Breitling’s early chronographs from the 1940s measured 32 to 38mm.
For the re-invented Premier, the case sizes are either 40mm (Automatic, B09 Chronograph) or 42mm (B01 Chronographs, Duograph, Datora and Day-Date), catering to need of modern collectors for larger case sizes.