Breitling was one of the first companies to break free of this paradigm and to kickstart the evolution of the modern chronograph. In 1915, Gaston Breitling, son of founder Léon Breitling, designed a timing watch with a separate pusher to control the start, stop and reset functions. He placed it on the side of the case at 2 o’clock, just above the crown. The 2 o’clock positioning would soon become standard, as it is easy to reach and control on the wrist. (With wristwatches only just coming into vogue during World War I, the 3 o’clock position of the crown was still a new idea, too.) It wasn’t until 1923 that Breitling would separate the zero-reset button from the start/stop pusher, thus allowing for timing individual events without resetting the chronograph. But the advent of a monopusher distinct from the crown made a world of difference.
The new Transocean Chronograph 1915 plays off of these roots, updating them for a dial and case design in keeping with the Transocean collection. An angled pusher sits at 2 o’clock, above the fluted crown. The silvered dial has a bicompax display: a small-seconds subdial is at 9 o’clock and a 30-minute counter at 3 o’clock. The hands and Arabic numerals have luminous coating. A date window can be found at 6 o’clock.
Whereas Transocean watches usually have the Breitling 01 automatic movement, the Transocean Chronograph 1915 uses a new manufacture movement. Chronometer-certified by COSC, Caliber B14 is a hand-wound movement running in 33 jewels. It has a 70-hour power reserve. Thanks to a frequency of 28,800 vph, the chronograph can time events up to a 1/4 of a second. The seconds scale around the dial is graduated to divide up the minute into 240 parts. Caliber B14 has a double column-wheel construction, arranged in two tiers.
We had an opportunity to see and try on the Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915 at Baselworld. Below are some live shots taken at the fair.