With its refreshed Breitling Colt 36 SuperQuartz, the brand finally notices the demographics targeted by Dove’s Real Beauty campaign that began more than a decade ago. Designed with slightly larger wrists in mind, the new Colt 36 may be a bit too large for a skinnier type of girls that French fashion houses love so much, but, come on, let’s celebrate some diversity here!
Like many other incumbent watchmaking brands, Breitling belongs to the sort of conservative businesses whose management thinks that you can never be too cautious when it comes to the introduction of new models. It usually takes years of piecemeal alterations here and there before we get a wristwatch that you can call “new.” Their time measuring devices are normally bought as an “investment” that is supposed to last for decades (if not generations) without losing too much resale value due to normal shifts in fashion trends. In the world of computers, the brand would probably be Compaq or, perhaps, Xerox. Compaq is no more and Xerox lost an opportunity of a lifetime with its graphic user interface that was acquired from them by Apple.
Luckily for Breitling, they are not in the world of computers: when it comes to fine wristwatches, you can easily get away with producing the same model literally for decades making minor tweaks here and there and adjusting them for new movements when a third party decides to introduce a new ebauche. It is a winning strategy in a market that makes most of its money by staying deliberately archaic as long as your company is called Rolex, Omega or Breitling.
Case, Bezel & Strap
Compared to the 2012 Colt 33 SuperQuartz, the new variety comes in a slightly larger 36mm body that is still visually similar to the older model.
The main difference that you will notice right away is the new bezel that is now more stylistically in line with their other models from the 2015 collection. The previous bezel was more comfortable to operate thanks to its more ergonomic shape. The new one offers better esthetics, though: something that can be more important for the great majority of potential buyers who will never take the expensive gadget even close to a body of water and will never use the “dive timer.”
As far as overall aesthetics is concerned, I have an impression that the more laconic and visually slimmer bezel makes the new model look a great deal lighter than the older one. Besides growing in width, the Colt 36 has also become 1.10 mm thicker, although, given its overall thickness of just 10.20 millimeters you probably won’t notice the difference. In fact, thanks to better proportions, the wristwatch looks even more slender than before.
Besides the stainless steel bracelet (ref. A7438953/G803-178A, pictured,) there is also a choice of colorful -and comfortable- leather straps, as well as an optional diamond-set bezel that, perfectly matching (optional, too) eight diamonds on the dial, will tone down a little the gadget’s bold stance if you intend to wear the Colt 36 for social occasions.
Judging by the official specs, the brand has returned to the same ETA Thermoline 955.652-based Breitling 74 COSC-certified chronometer caliber that was used in many other of their watches like, say, the 2011 Breitling Colt 44 three-hander.
Offering a respectable eight years of power reserve and giving you the level of accuracy that puts to shame many of the best Japanese quartz movements, the mechanism is also extremely reliable and robust. It is not that cheap throw-away engine that a lot of second-tier Swiss manufacturers use to power their more affordable watches. In the world of quartz calibers, it’s a Porsche Flat-Six with a nice upgrade package.
Dial & Legibility
The new dial, too, is more appropriate for a timepiece that was designed with women in mind. Yes, it is not as elaborate as the on the 2012 version, yet the ocean-green mother-of-pearl face makes the timekeeper a lot lighter and more delicate, especially when complemented with diamond-set hour markers.
Overall legibility of this watch is adequate for the task: the dial is clean and easy on the eyes, and the date aperture is wide enough to accommodate relatively large font on the calendar wheel.
The polished hour and minute hands are thin, but the patches of luminous compounds are wide enough. What I don’t like is the extremely small dots of SuperLuminova on the railway-style minute track: they simply don’t glow bright enough for the watch to be easily readable in the darkness.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4/5
Breitling Colt 36 Ladies specification
Price: $6000 (MSRP, ref. A7438953/G803-178A)
Movement: Quartz, ETA Thermoline 955.652-based caliber Breitling 74, thermocompensated, Swiss Made
Power reserve: Approx. 8 years
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date
Case: Stainless steel
Size: 36.00 mm
Case height: 10.20 mm
Lug width: 18/16 mm
Hour markers: Block-shaped metal / Diamonds
Water resistance: 200 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet / Smooth leather strap in different colors
Crystal: Sapphire, antireflective on both sides