With its new Breitling for Bentley Barnato 42 Midnight Carbon, the Swiss manufacturer keeps gradually putting on a pretty strict diet its best-selling models designed in partnership with Bentley. Packing them in smaller bodies, but still offering a nice combination of superb build quality and mass-produced movements that are finely tuned to the highest standards of accuracy, the company introduces a new generation of accessories that could be worn not only by basketballs stars, but also by an ordinary CEO obsessed with British motorsport legacy, but still sane enough not to wear a humburger-sized monstrosity with a formal suit.
Delivered in a relatively compact body around 42 millimeters in wide, the new watch is some 7 mm smaller in diameter than the gargantuan 49 mm Barnato Racing Chronograph from early 2011.
Although the watch is around 15 percent smaller in diameter, it keeps intact the proportions of its angled body, the high-contrast dial, and the notched bezel that features the pattern reminiscent of a Bentley radiator grille.
Well, perhaps the setting crown and the chronograph push-pieces at 2 and 4 o’clock look a little larger, but that’s only for the better since the parts provide the watch with a bit more brutal, rugged appearance.
The main differences between the 49 mm and this new 42 mm model are limited to the dial.
The new watch ditches the rotating steering-wheel-style disks of the original in favor of more traditional indicators that, with their thin polished hands and high-contrast, easily readable numerals, strongly remind me of instrument gauges on the Bentley Continental grand tourer.
By the way of speaking of readability, I must note that the new Barnato 42 Midnight Carbon offers superb legibility even in total darkness offering more than enough Superluminova in all the right places.
As you can see on the close-up shots of the dial, the luminous substance covers not only the usual hour and minute hands but is also present on the chronograph hands (a 12-hour sub-dial at 6 o’clock and a 30-minute totalizer at 9 o’clock), as well as on the applied hour markers. It is also nice to point out that the indices are painted with thin strips of silver-toned Superluminova, which remains almost invisible in broad daylight.
As for the movement, the original ETA 2892-based Breitling B25B caliber was swapped for a more advanced Breitling 25B movement, which is a COSC-certified chronometer-grade version of the ETA 2892-A2 industry workhorse.
The watch will arrive in a limited lot of 1000 numbered pieces.
Breitling for Bentley Barnato 42 Midnight Carbon Chronograph specification
Price: $8500 (MSRP, ref. M4139024-BB85-217S)
Movement: Automatic, caliber Breitling 25B (base ETA 2892), COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 38
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, small seconds, date, chronograph
Case: Black steel
Size: 42.00 mm
Hour markers: Luminous
Hands: Steel, luminous
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black rubber strap
Crystal: Sapphire, cambered, antireflective on both sides