Believe it or not, but, contrary to popular beliefs, not all Breitlings do look the same. This new Breitling Galactic 44 (the ref. A45320B9/BD42-101W reviewed here and other models), for example, features a very unusual (for the Swiss-based brand) combination of an elegantly sculpted body that looks more slender than it actually is, a remarkable set of crown-guards, and a relatively thin bezel that still displays all the relevant information for either an amateur diver or a professional pilot. Perhaps, the only thing that it needs is the usual notches that were apparently dropped here in order for its polished surface to better match that of the case. Well, nothing is perfect.
The Galactic family welcomes its new member. Coming in an oversized stainless steel body that nicely combines mirror-polished and satin-brushed surfaces, the military-style Breitling Galactic 44 is, as far as I know, the first member of the growing collection that comes powered by their Caliber 45 automatic movement.
Being basically a slightly refinished and adjusted to COSC standards chronometer-grade version of the well-known ETA 2834-2 caliber (the same mechanism is used in a lot less expensive Altanus Master Classic Gran Data and Paul Picot Gentleman Arc-en-ciel (Rainbow) models), the engine features a little bit as obvious day/date display with the former placed at 12 hours and the latter staying at its usual place at 3 o’clock.
Yes, the mechanism may be not one of those exclusive in-house movements that the Swiss brand has been churning out for their more expensive models, but it is in fact very reliable, quite accurate and, being made by ETA, is very easy to fix to any certified professional in your city.
As you can see, the layout not only makes the watch look more balanced with the day of week aperture partially compensating for the visual ‘overweightness’ of Breitling’s famous “winged B” logo, but is also more legible, which is a good thing for those overseas customers who never studied English.
Although on these promotional photos the wristwatch looks refreshingly thin (I mean, Breitling is one of those watchmakers who was never shy to make a hamburger of timepiece), it is not really true. According to official information, the device measures 14.30 millimeters top to bottom. However, thanks to its mildly oversized body that, as the name tells us, is 44 mm wide, the case indeed looks very slender. The effect is achieved not only thanks to well-calculated proportions, but also with help of little design tricks, like nicely curved side profile, oversized onion-shaped setting crown, and the relatively thin unidirectional rotating bezel.
What I really like about this timekeeper are the crown guards. Shaped as a pair of wings, they not just echo the aforementioned “winged B”, but also reference the brand’s strong bonds with anything that is remotely connected to the aviation and space industry.
As usual, you can have the Galactic 44 in at least fifteen combinations. Currently, Breitling offers the timepiece in stainless steel with three versions of the dial (Trophy black, Metallica blue, and Sierra silver) and five variations of straps, including crocodile leather and black textile strap.
See also: Breitling Chronomat 44 Raven Caliber 01
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Breitling Galactic 44 Automatic Chronometer specification
Price: $5200 (MSRP, ref. A45320B9/BD42-101W, pictured)
Movement: Automatic, Breitling Caliber 45 (base ETA 2834-2), COSC-certified chronometer, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 25
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, day of week
Case: Stainless steel
Case size: 44.00 mm
Dial: Trophy black, Metallica blue, Sierra silver
Hour markers: Luminous
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Leather or Crocodile leather strap, rubber ‘Diver Pro’ band, Military/Pilot bracelet, textile strap
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides, cambered