Commemorating the 40th anniversary of the world’s first automatic chronograph, Breitling has presented the 2009 rose gold Chrono-matic QP (ref. R29360) limited-edition chronograph that sports a rare “perpetual calendar” complication.
It was in March 1969, when Breitling has introduced the legendary Chrono-matic series of watches. It was powered by the Caliber 11 movement, the world’s first engine combining a chronograph and an automatic movement with date display in a single package.
Besides the Chrono-matic series, the movement was also used in Heuer’s Carrera, Monaco, and the Autavia models.
Well, giving Heuer its due, I must admit that it was Heuer that immortalized the caliber thanks to its charismatic watches that still enjoy high popularity among collectors around the civilized world.
The Heuer/ Breitling/ Hamilton/ Dubois Depraz group has had invested more than half a million Swiss Francs (around 115,000 in 1969 US Dollars) to develop this amazing movement, so the 1969 year Navitimer was offered at a recommended price of $290,00 for a stainless steel model: pretty much impressive price for the time.
The Chrono-matic QP Anniversary is much, much more expensive, even if we will count the inflation. And justly so. Limited to only 125 individually numbered pieces, it comes in a Gargantuan 49-millimeters 18-karat rose gold case that not only impresses with its sheer size but also offers adequate living space for the matte black dial with four white sub-dials.
Besides the usual chronograph counters, the dial also shows a calendar display at 12 o’clock, a moon phase complication at 3 o’clock, a day of week indicator at 6 o’clock, and months sub-dial at 9 hours.
This whole torrent of information is further enhanced by the traditional rotating bezel slide rule that lets you easily convert miles in kilometers and back.
Not that you will use it often, but it still looks nice and, err, professional.
The watch is powered by the COSC-certified Caliber 29 automatic in-house chronometer movement.
First presented in the gorgeous Breitling for Bentley Mark VI Complications 29 model, the Caliber 29 consists of 500 parts, includes 38 jewels, sports a power reserve of 48 hours and features perpetual calendar functionality with leap year indication, seasons and even moon phases. Whoa.
The only problem with this engine is that it was not designed from scratch. The Caliber 29 uses the well-known ETA 2892-A2 automatic ebauche with an add-on chronograph and perpetual calendar. This is not good from the point of view of reliability since the device is more prone to failures and will be more difficult to repair if broken. Also, for a piece that costs like a fully loaded Mercedes C-Class the choice of base movement is a bit, well, questionable.
I can’t even imagine the words that your local serviceman will use when you will bring this baby for routine maintenance.
Breitling Chrono-matic QP specification
Movement: Breitling caliber 29, base ETA 2892-A2, automatic, in-house, 38 jewels, 28,800 bph, 500 parts, Swiss Made
Cadence of balance: 28,800 vph
Complications: Perpetual calendar, chronograph (1/4 sec)
Power reserve: 48 hours
Case: 18-karat rose gold
Size: 49.00 mm
Dial: Black or Panamerican bronze
Water resistance: 30 meters
Strap: Barenia leather, crocodile leather, or Ocean Racer
Crystal: Sapphire, double AR-coated