Presented in the traditionally massive stainless steel body, the limited-edition Breitling Blackbird Red Strike Chronograph may be of particular interest to those still living in the times of the Caribbean Crisis and dreaming about preemptive nuclear strikes and reconnaissance flights over Soviet Russia. A high annual income is also a must since the chronograph won’t come cheap.
The new member of the Windrider series (its other notorious member is the Chronomat that now comes equipped with their in-house Caliber B01 chronograph movement) offers lots of black with blood-red touches just in right places.
Why black and red? Hey, because that is the color of the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird strategic spy aircraft that was in service from 1966 till 1998!
Well, Blackbird the plane wasn’t exactly black: it was painted in a very, very dark shade of blue to better blend into the night sky. The red lines on its wings and fuselage were marking places where the skin of the plane was especially thin and could be damaged if treated without extreme care.
Although I would have been tempted to substitute the normal Superluminova that covers the hour indexes and hands with a colored one to make the dial exclusively black-and-red, Breitling’s designers refrained from such a blatant decision and left things as they are.
As a result, we see a legible, high-contrast dial layout that lets you easily read time and keeps the chronograph indicators and the big date window at 12 o’clock where they should be — in the background.
The Blackbird is offered in a normal for the brand 43.7 mm body, which is available either in the fully-polished or satin-brushed finish. Those looking for an even more intimidating color scheme should probably turn their attention to the Breitling Blackbird Chronograph Limited Edition Blacksteel model that comes in a black DLC-coated stainless steel case.
As the rest of the family, the Blackbird Red Strike Chronograph is powered by the Caliber B44 automatic movement, which is based on a high-grade version of the ETA 2892 engine. As usual, the movement is an officially COSC-certified chronometer that offers both precision and robustness. Of course, being a not “true” chronograph (the mechanism is a simple three-hander with a chronograph module,) the B44 is not as reliable as 775x-based chronographs, but, well, that’s how some brands nickel-and-dime their way to sky-high profits, don’t they?
Breitling plans to limit the Red Strike’s production to 2000 units, which makes it not so rare at all.
The Swiss brand will introduce the model bearing a price tag of some $7800, which is expensive for a watch animated by an ETA 2892 (even if it was upgraded to higher standards of Swiss certification authority,) but still bearable all things considered.
See also: Breitling Chronomat 01 Diamondworks
Breitling Blackbird Red Strike Chronograph specification
Movement: Breitling Caliber B44 (base ETA 2892), automatic, COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Functions: Hour, minutes, seconds, chronograph, big date
Power reserve: 42 hours
Case: Brushed or Polished stainless steel
Case size: 43.70 mm
Dial: Black, with red accents
Hands: Steel, luminous
Water resistance: 300 meters
Strap: ‘Blackbird special’ Pilot bracelet
Crystal: Sapphire, AR-coated on both sides
Back: Solid, engraved