Continuing our rundown of notable watches in several categories from the Baselworld 2017 watch fair, we turn our attention to five new chronographs — several of them representing firsts for their respective brands — that stood out from the pack. Read on for details, and remember — Father’s Day is only a few days away.
Breitling built on its long history of aviation-inspired chronograph watches this year with the launch of the Breitling Navitimer Rattrapante, which features the brand’s first in-house-made, split-seconds chronograph movement. That movement, Caliber B03, has a modular architecture is built upon the base Caliber B01, Breitling’s first manufacture movement, which is equipped with automatic winding, date indication, an integrated 1/4-second chronograph function, and a 70-hour power reserve. The split-seconds module added to this high-performance horological engine is comprised of only 28 parts, and fitted between the mainplate and calendar mechanism — a construction that not only simplifies assembly but also maintenance: a watchmaker can remove the module as a single block for servicing and repairs.
The two central hands of the split-seconds mechanism are a clever departure from the usual design of Breitling chronograph hands, which feature a counterweight shaped like the brand’s “anchor B” logo: the “B” is on the main red chronograph hand and the anchor is on the split-seconds hand, meaning that the logo elements are separated when the split seconds hand is stopped and reunited when the two hands are overlaid.
The watch’s 45-mm case is available in either stainless steel (pictured) or 18k rose gold; the latter version has a clear sapphire caseback and is limited to 250 pieces. The “Panamerican bronze” colored dial on both new versions is new and exclusive to Breitling, and serves as a contrasting backdrop to the three silver-toned subdials (30-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock, 12-hour chronograph counter at 6 o’clock, small seconds at 9 o’clock) and the silver-toned inner rotating bezel with circular slide rule, a useful tool for aviators that has been a fixture of Breitling Navitimers since the model’s debut in 1952. The Navitimer Rattrapante is available on a brown leather or rubber strap or a stainless steel bracelet. For more info on the watch’s development and details, more photos, and pricing, read our full report on it from Baselworld 2017.
After giving the watch world its first perpetual calendar priced under $10,000 last year, Frédérique Constant adds another affordable high complication to its stable with the launch of the Frédérique Constant Flyback Chronograph Manufacture, which can be had for under $5,000. The watch contains an all-new in-house movement, Caliber FC-760, whose flyback chronograph complication is inspired by models from the 1930s. The column wheel that governs the chronograph’s start, stop, and reset functions rotates on bearings. Also, unlike conventional column wheels, which have several columns, this one is star-shaped, and works in unison with the operating lever, controlled by the start/stop push-piece, to ensure an exceptionally smooth operation of the chronograph. The modular FC-760 movement also uses a new type of swiveling component with two toothed pinions in place of a traditional clutch, and a small locking lever that ensures that the two stopped hands pause exactly at the last position chosen, offering ideal legibility. The flyback module, which is produced in-house by the brand, is attached to the base movement in a configuration designed to conserve energy between the mechanisms.
The watch is available in two main versions, both with 42-mm cases — one more sporty and casual with a silver or dark gray smooth dial; the other more classical-looking, with a silver dial graced with “Clou de Paris” guilloché decoration, printed black Roman numerals and Breguet-style hands. The cases are either in stainless steel or rose-gold-plated stainless steel. The tricompax dial features subdials at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock for the 30-minute chronograph counter, hand-type date display, and small seconds indicator, respectively. A tachymeter scale appears on the dial’s outer edge. The automatic-winding FC-760 movement is visible through a clear caseback and is decorated with perlage and côtes de Genève. For more details on the watch’s flyback mechanism and to see more case and dial styles, click here for our Baselworld report.