British super-spy James Bond is known for wearing both Rolexes and Omegas in his long series of cinematic adventures, but one of the most famous and fondly remembered timepieces in the Bond film canon comes from Breitling. In 1965’s Thunderball, Bond uses a Breitling Top Time model equipped with a Geiger counter to track down a cadre of stolen nuclear missiles hidden underwater. Today, following up its other recent, successful re-editions of historical favorites like the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 and AVI Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition, Breitling has announced the release of the Top Time Limited Edition — and no, it doesn’t have a Geiger counter, but it will appeal to most anyone seeking to emulate that distinctive 1960s Bond style.
Fans of the original Top Time — launched more than 50 years ago and described by its originator, Willy Breitling, as “ultramodern” and “suited to the needs of the young and active professionals” — will appreciate the distinctive “Zorro” dial layout, with its two parallel white subdials framed by a black domino-mask-like motif. The stainless steel case measures 41 mm in diameter, with a convex sapphire crystal, a non-screwed, single-gasket crown, and plunger-style chronograph pushers.
Adding a splash of color to the predominantly black-and-white dial are red details such as the hour, minute and central chronograph seconds hand, as well as a red sector of the 3 o’clock subdial. Elapsed chronograph minutes are tallied on that subdial, while running seconds are displayed on the other subdial at 9 o’clock. Super-LumiNova coats the hour and minute hands as well as the dot hour markers, and a decimal scale occupies the dial’s flange.
Inside the 30-meter water resistant case beats Breitling Caliber 23, a self-winding chronograph movement based on the ETA 7753 and storing a power reserve around 48 hours. Like all Breitling calibers, and attesting to the “CHRONOMETER” designation on the Top Time’s dial, it has met the stringent chronometric criteria of the official Swiss testing agency, COSC. The Top Time Limited Edition completes its vintage look with a brown nubuck leather strap. Limited to 2,000 pieces and priced at $4,990, it’s available in March via Breitling’s e-commerce site and, according to Breitling, “upon request from the brand’s global retail network at a later date.”
Breitling has also announced that the Top Time Limited Edition will be its first-ever watch offered with a blockchain-based digital passport, which confirms the authenticity and ownership of the watch with a single click. Owners can access the digital passport at any time and can transfer ownership, if they choose, with a simple blockchain transaction. Along with Breitling’s innovative digital warranty program, the passport provides a high level security and makes it possible for customers to engage with the brand anonymously while allowing Breitling to add new online services. Consider this cutting-edge security system the replacement for 007’s built-in Geiger counter.
“The Top Time is an important but often-overlooked part of our heritage, and we know it’s going to resonate with men and women who love this blend of history, design, and great performance.”Georges Kern