Breitling introduced its first Unitimer model — a self-winding world-time watch, now a sought-after collectors’ item — in the 1950s. At the 2012 Baselworld watch fair, the brand unveiled the updated version, the Transocean Chronograph Unitime, a timepiece that expresses the brand’s classical, aviation-inspired theme with technical innovations and a striking, modern design.
The watch features Caliber B05, based on Breitling’s first in-house movement, automatic chronograph Caliber B01, introduced in 2009. In addition to its chronograph functions, this movement (which has also subsequently been used in a Breitling for Bentley watch) is outfitted with a patented mechanism that allows the wearer, when changing time zones, to adjust all the indications simply by turning the crown. (Click on the photos below for larger images.)
The system uses two moving disks, one indicating 24 hours and the other bearing the names of 24 world cities representing the 24 major time zones. The time shown by the central hands corresponds with the timezone displayed at 12 o’clock. The city disk (which is available in several different languages) also has indications for daylight savings times. To change the time zone, the wearer simply pulls out the crown and turns it forward or backward in one-hour increments, which simultaneously corrects the central hour hand, the 24-hour disk, and even the date, which is indicated in a window at 4:30, in either direction. A traveler can then see at a glance what time it is in any other time zone in the world, including his home zone. The central minutes hand and seconds hand will continue to run during this operation without interruption; if the chronograph is switched on, it, too, continues running undisturbed.
The watch is offered in both a rose-gold and stainless-steel case, on either a leather strap or a steel Milanese bracelet. The dial options are black or “polar” white, each with an elegantly rendered globe design in the center, surrounded by sundials for the chronograph counters (at 3 o’clock and 6 o’clock) and small seconds (at 9 o’clock). Like its brethren in the Breitling line, the Transocean Chronograph Unitime is officially certified as a chronometer by the Swiss testing agency COSC. The U.S. retail price is $11,200.
Movement: Breitling manufacture Caliber 05, automatic, COSC-certified chronometer; 28,000 vph;
56 jewels; over 70-hour power reserve.
Functions: 1/4th-second chronograph with 30-minute and 12-hour counters; world-time indication;
Case: Stainless steel or 18k rose gold; diameter = 46 mm; convex sapphire crystal, glareproofed on both sides; water-resistant to 100 meters; on Barenia leather, crocodile leather strap; steel version also on steel mesh “Milanese” bracelet
This article was originally published on April 10, 2012, and has been updated.