Breitling has issued a diamond-set version of its cash-cow: the Chronomat automatic chronograph. The Chronomat 01 Diamondworks is available in white gold and rose gold cases and bears enough diamonds either to rebuild the Republic of Haiti or to finance a manned mission to Mars. Thankfully, the chronograph is delivered in two versions with a more modest one having the use of diamonds limited only to its signature diving bezel.
Breitling is not the only company that sells diamond-set men’s watches. No, sir! Audemars Piguet, for example, offers diamond-set Millenary and a bit more brutal Royal Oak; Hublot sells its Big Bang Chronograph Diamonds, while Breguet has a number of such models in its Heritage series; even Corum is seducing wealthy gentlemen with its Admiral’s Cup Diamond Black Chronograph 40mm… My point is, it seems like every major brand has a blingy watch or two in its catalog.
Well, although I do not get the idea of a diamond-clad men’s timepiece, I do understand that there is a well-established market for this stuff, and watchmakers just have to put their mouths where the money is.
The Chronomat 01 Diamondworks is basically the same Chronomat 01 Chronograph presented in 2009.
Featuring Breitling’s first manufacture-made movement — the B01 automatic caliber, the model is important for the brand. Although not the most expensive in the whole lineup, it –and its derivatives– can make the bulk of sales in the coming years. So, it was absolutely logical that the Swiss brand decided to subject the model to this degrading treatment.
As usual, the Chronomat 01 Diamondworks is offered in two versions that are differing from each other only with the material chosen for their 43.5 mm wide cases and the number of diamonds used to decorate them. The version is white gold comes with precious stones filling its rotating bezel and hour indexes on its mother of pearl dial, and the version in 18-karat rose gold comes with all the above plus some more diamonds on its generously-proportioned lugs.
For some unknown reason, Breitling abstained from setting a 2-carat stone into the huge winding crown. Sarcasm mode off.
Both chronographs are on sale now with recommended retail prices of around $30,000 for the version in white gold and $58,000 for the one in rose gold. Considering, how much gold and precious stones they use to make these timepieces (and also factoring in the cost of the in-house movement, although its share is dwarfed even by the cost of raw materials,) I would say that it is not that expensive. The clear lack of taste is another thing and, well, a matter of personal preferences I suppose?
Build Quality: 4.5/5
Overall Legibility: 3.5/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 3/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Breitling Chronomat 01 Diamondworks specification
Price: $30,000 (White Gold) / $58,000 (Rose Gold)
Movement: Breitling Caliber B01, automatic, 28,800 vph, 47 jewels, COSC-certified chronometer, in-house, Swiss Made
Functions: Hour, minutes, chronograph, date
Power reserve: 70 hours
Case: White Gold / Rose Gold
Bezel: White Gold / Rose Gold / Diamonds
Bezel shape: Round
Size: 43.50 mm
Dial: Mother of pearl
Hands: Gold, polished, luminous inlays
Water resistance: 500 meters
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated