The new Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915 (ref. AB141112/G799-154A) is a wristwatch that nicely mixes its modern design language with visual elements from models dating back to as many as hundred years ago. While some of these elements (or rather the way they are mixed together) look a bit controversial, this new variety seems like a very nice offer for a person who finds their signature models like Navitimer and Chronomat a bit too arrogant and tasteless for a person of good taste.
Celebrating the centenary of its world’s first independent chronograph push-piece design (back in 1915, the brand has introduced a chronograph wristwatch that had its push-piece moved from the usual position in the winding crown to a lot more ergonomically sound place at two o’clock), the Swiss-based company has just revealed their new Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915.
Equipped with a nicely finished chronometer grade movement with manual winding, the watch features a very elegant design with its silver-toned dial being a very nice mix of design styles from 1910s to, perhaps, 1950s.
You have probably already noted three stick-shaped markers on the 30-minute chronograph sub-dial at 3 o’clock each measuring exactly three minutes. I, too, was puzzled a little about the design and, after doing some brief searching on the interwebz, I found out that the design has something to do with the way long distance calls were billed by phone companies back in the days. Although even then Breitling target its timekeepers at fairly well-doing persons, it is clear that even back in the 1950s lots of people tried to save some cash if possible.
It looks like the new Transocean 1915 was greatly influenced by a 1950s version of Breitling Premier chronograph: the new watch, too, sports an easy to read bi-compax dial layout, as well the same set of Arabic numerals.
However, being powered by the brand’s new Caliber B14 hand-wound in-house movement, the watch now features a date window at 6 hours. It is also predictably larger measuring 43 mm in diameter versus approximately 37 millimeters of the original timepiece. The increase in physical dimensions together with ditching the tachymeter scale (nobody needs it, seriously) allowed the Swiss-based manufacturer to make the dial a lot more legible and, well, somehow easier to breathe.
Although I know at least a couple of persons that would at least frown at the way the timekeeper combines at least four different typefaces within its spacious dial, I actually like how the brand’s historic logo is emphasized by vintage-looking luminous Arabic numerals (however, I desperately try not to pay attention to other inscriptions on the timepiece’s face).
As I have already noted, this particular model has its chronograph push-piece transferred from its usual position at the winding crown to a more ergonomic place at two hours. In this regard, the timepiece is inspired by a 1915 Breitling chronograph pocket watch: the world’s first chronograph to feature an independent push-piece design (hence the 1915 part of the name). While the way the pusher is placed makes the device look a bit unbalanced, I actually like that they have finally returned to the idea: it is clearly a wristwatch for those who is used to think different.
As usual, Breitling issues the Transocean Chronograph 1915 as a kind of limited edition model with total production run restricted to, yes: 1915 numbered pieces.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915 watch (ref. AB141112/G799-154A) specification
Price: $9275 (MSRP)
Movement: Manual, Caliber B14, in-house, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 33
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 70 hours
Movement decoration: “Cotes de Geneve” pattern, polished screws
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
Case material: Stainless steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 43.00 mm
Case height: 14.60 mm
Lug width: 22/20 mm
Dial: Mercury Silver
Numerals: Arabic, luminous, beige
Hour markers: Black
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Natural leather or Crocodile leather strap / Ocean Classic steel mesh bracelet (pictured)
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides, convex
Case back: Sapphire