Based on one of their earlier Supersports models, the 2016 Breitling for Bentley GT3 (ref. V273655S/BE14/233S/V20DSA.2) delivers the traditional mix of daring exterior styling and a fairly impressive price tag. The only thing that it lacks is an in-house caliber, but for those not interested in the model’s guts and more concerned about looks and brand value its modified ETA movement may even be a better choice.
In this time of overwhelming political correctness everywhere and frugality as the new way of life, there must be at least some things that are bold. We need cars that have massive, gas-guzzling engines churning out gut-wrenching torque and producing hundreds of horsepower; we need bikes heavier than an average European family saloon; and, of course, we need watches that radiate presence so strong that it almost melts your face off when you glance at it briefly to check the time.
Although this new Breitling for Bentley GT3 reminds me of a boldly styled sports car that is powered by an engine outsourced from something as mundane as an entry-level VW Passat, in the looks department it is almost perfect. Maybe not exactly ‘perfect’, but it gets the job done: you will inevitably get tons of attention while wearing this timepiece. In this respect, it serves its purpose well.
Case & Strap
As usual for this sub-brand, the GT3 is delivered in a deliberately oversized, chunky-looking body that is also surprisingly lightweight thanks to extensive use of scratch-resistant titanium alloy. During the last couple of years, there was a visible trend of downsizing, even when it came to ‘sporty’ chronographs, so the introduction of this new model may be a welcome development among those who prefer huge timekeepers to more discreet ones.
Stylistically, there doesn’t seem to be anything new with its exterior: basically, it is just a version of their older Supersports ISR automatic chronograph that was first introduced back in 2011. The only thing that seems to differ is the color scheme and the black rubber strap now has a more expensive look with an embossed pattern that mimics that on the rotating pinion bezel. Not that it is bad in any way: just don’t expect anything groundbreaking with this new model.
Yes, the case is big. Actually, all about this new version of the old watch screams right in your ear “Go Big or Go Home!”
The crown is massive, which is good for those who have thicker fingers. Unfortunately, it is not protected from any sort of shock with those rudimentary crown guards, but I don’t think it’s a serious problem as this is obviously not a tool watch.
The chronograph push-pieces are, too, rather large (whether they are comfortable to operate will strongly depend on the length of your fingers and overall shape of your palm), as are the massive lugs that look like they are strong enough to tow an Abrams tank out of a ditch.
The rotating pinion bezel is a bit too big for me, but that’s not bad either since it makes controlling their signature circular slide rule a lot more precise.
As far as color accents go, the green and red have something to do with colors that the British maker of luxury cars have chosen for its 2014 GT3 racecar that, if memory serves me well, was first introduced at the Festival of Speed in Goodwood (the funny thing is that, while browsing for other images of the vehicle besides the official photo set, I have seen lots of real-life photos of these cars advertising Blancpain on their number stickers, not sure if Breitling was happy about that).
I find the choice of the color scheme not that great: in some lighting scenarios, the paler shade of green may not look too contrast on the dark grey background of the checkered dark grey dial thus making reading the combined chronograph totalizer difficult. The dark grey hour and minute hands, even despite the thin strips of Superluminova compound on them, too, don’t stand out, especially in twilight when the hands have already blended with the carbon-fiber material of the dial, while the luminous substance is still not bright enough to be easily seen. Beauty requires sacrifice, doesn’t it?
As I have noted already, this a refreshed version of an earlier Breitling Supersports model so it is okay to experience a sort of deja vu regarding its dial design. Besides sporting the same horizontal layout for its three sub-dials, it also features a combined chronograph totalizer at 9 o’clock giving you a 60-minute and a 12-hour counter neatly located in the same place, a design that was popularized by Omega when it first introduced its gorgeous Caliber 9300 family of chronograph movements. Of course, the design not only looks cool while saving some valuable space on the dial, but it is also a lot more usable when you need to quickly grasp its reading, although, again, the green color of the sub-dial looks too pale to my taste.
Although during the last couple of years Breitling has attempted a strong push at introducing a number of its in-house calibers to justify its premium prices, this one is still powered by a modified version of the good old ETA 2892-A2. Officially called Caliber 27B, it was simply equipped with an exclusive complication module making the whole setup more interesting to look at, but also (at least statistically) more prone to mechanical failure and also a bit more difficult to service.
While the mechanism itself is accurate enough, the choice of the movement is still a sort of disappointment for such an expensive timekeeper (official pricing on this model still to be announced, but a similarly outfitted earlier model with a plain titanium case was offered with a sticker price of approximately $10,500.) You should expect something more advanced in return for your hard-earned ten Grands.
Pricing & Availability
At the time of writing this brief review, the GT3 was listed as already available at select retailers around the world. Pricing was not revealed at that time, but, as I have already noted above, expected MSRP is about $10,500 or around €10,000, which makes it expensive given its relatively low level of mechanical sophistication and finish that doesn’t require a lot of real craftsmanship but is surely within reach of general Bentley-buying crowd. Perhaps I am just a bit jealous here, so please excuse my being vitriolic.
Limited at just 500 pieces, it may become fairly hard to come by in just a couple of years although I still wouldn’t consider it an ‘investment’.
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 3/5
Breitling for Bentley GT3 Automatic Chronograph (V273655S/BE14/233S/V20DSA.2) specification
Price: $11,900 (Retail)
Movement: Automatic, Caliber 27B (base ETA 2892-A2), add-on chronograph module, Swiss Made
Number of jewels: 38
Movement frequency: 28,800 vph
Power reserve: 42 hours
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, 1/4th of a second chronograph with combined 60-minute and 12-hour totalizer
Case: Black titanium
Size: 49.00 mm
Height: 15.90 mm
Dial: Black Carbon, checkered pattern
Hour markers: Luminous, applied
Hands: Luminous, blacked
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Black GT3 rubber strap
Crystal: Sapphire, cambered, antireflective on both sides
Back: Solid, engraved