Breitling’s Navitimer 1 B03 Rattrapante 45, unveiled in 2017, represented a new technical height for the aviation-focused watchmaker: namely its first model with a in-house-made split-seconds chronograph movement. This year, Breitling re-interprets its most highly complicated chronograph watch in a new model pairing a luxurious 18k rose-gold case with the brand’s hallmark “Stratos gray” dial.
The timepiece’s case measures a robust 45 mm case in diameter and features the inner rotating bezel with a circular slide rule, a useful tool for aviators during the early days of flight and a signature of the Navitimer since the original’s debut in 1952. Under a convex, double-nonreflective coated sapphire crystal, the dial hosts three dark gray-toned-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 hour markers and central hands coated in Super-LumiNova.
As on previous versions of the Navitimer Rattrapante, the overlapping central chronograph seconds hands, with the brand’s “anchor B” logo counterweight, makes a clever departure from the usual design: the “B” is on the main red chronograph hand and the anchor is on the split-seconds hand. The two logo elements are separated when the split seconds hand is stopped and rejoined when the two hands are overlaid. The split-seconds pusher, which stops and restarts the split-seconds hand, is embedded in the 3 o’clock crown.
The movement inside, Caliber B03 boasts two patents and a modular architecture built upon the base Caliber B01, Breitling’s first manufacture movement, which debuted in 2009. It continues Breitling’s industry-influencing historical role in the field of mechanical chronographs, which includes such milestones as the first chronograph with an independent push-piece, in 1915; the first with a second independent push-piece, in 1934; one of the first self-winding chronograph movements, in the pivotal year of 1969; and the development of the classic Duograph in 1944, a highly collectible piece with an extra-thin split-seconds chrono movement, which could be considered the Navitimer Rattrapante’s spiritual ancestor.
Like all Breitling movements based on the B01, Caliber B03 is equipped with automatic winding, date indication, an integrated 1/4-second chronograph function, and a 70-hour power reserve — all this in addition to the COSC chronometer certification bestowed upon the majority of Breitling calibers. 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.
This latest and arguably most elegant edition of the Navitimer 1 B03 Rattrapante 45 is mounted on a black alligator leather strap with a gold pin buckle and carries a five-year warranty. The price is $27,480.