Breitling introduced its Navitimer 1 B03 Rattrapante 45, outfitted with the venerable brand’s first in-house split-seconds chronograph movement, in 2017. At the recent Breitling Summit in London, whose centerpiece launch was the new Premier collection, Breitling unveiled a new limited version with a “Stratos gray” dial, available for sale exclusively at the brand’s 70 boutiques worldwide.
The timepiece’s boldly proportioned, 45-mm case is made of stainless steel, outfitted with a convex, double-nonreflective coated sapphire crystal over the dial. The 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) pop against the sleek background of the main dial, which is framed by an inner rotating bezel with a circular slide rule, a useful tool for aviators that has been a fixture of Breitling Navitimers since the model’s debut in 1952 (original version pictured below).
As on the previous, non-limited version 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. Thus 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, made its debut in this Rattrapante version of the iconic Navitimer and boasts two patents. 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 this new model’s spiritual ancestor.
Caliber B03’s 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. Like all Breitling movements, Caliber B03 is certified as a chronometer by COSC.
Limited to just 250 pieces, distributed throughout Breitling’s 70 boutiques across the globe, the Navitimer 1 B03 Rattrapante 45 Boutique Edition is mounted on a black alligator leather strap with white contrast stitching and either a pin buckle or folding buckle in steel.