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As a timepiece, the Breitling Chronomat continues to prove that wristwatches can evolve and remain relevant. This timepiece is a true test of time and relevance. 

First off, this watch appeared on the wrist of soldiers in World War II. Afterward, it went through the quartz crisis and came out better. Then, the watch went through a reinvention along with an entire company’s reshape. 

Today, the Breitling Chronomat Automatic retains its pedigree as one of the brand’s most established and valued timepieces.

Let us cast a quick look at its present element. 

Presently, Breitling gave the Chronomat such design that makes it the supreme all-rounder watch. Not just that, the watch parades an elegant style and a vast spectrum of varied compositions. 

First of all, understand that the Chronomat is one of the most valuable products of Breitling’s catalog. Plus, over the years, this wristwatch continues to present itself in various distinct shades. 

First, it was a tool watch for scientists. Shortly after, it became a pilot’s watch. However, it remains one of the most outstanding Breitling models since the brand began production.

History Of The Breitling Chronomat Automatic

We will begin with a brief history of Breitling as a brand.

The Breitling journey began in 1884. The brand is the brainchild of Léon Breitling in St. Imier, Switzerland. This brand began with the main focus on developing chronographs. 

Shortly after, in 1899, Breitling received a patent for a simplified chronograph pocket watch. Three years later, in 1892, the brand’s workshop extended its capacity. It became an original factory in La Chaux-de-Fonds. At that point, the brand had about 60 employees. 

The decade that followed was one with huge progress in stopwatches and chronographs. This progress didn’t leave out timers. It welcomed the first timer with tachymeter scales that could calculate speeds. There were also pulsometers to measure pulse rates. That was a tool for doctors.

Now, the company is under the leadership of Willy Breitling (the founder’s grandson). He chose to continue his grandfather’s progress in chronographs. With that, he patented the world’s maiden wrist chronograph with two pushers.

This production eventually set the ball rolling for what became the Chronomat in 1940. In this period, Willy paid equal attention and directed the brand’s efforts on developing timepieces for pilots. Also, the brand created clocks for aircraft. 

During the Second World War, the British Royal Air Force was a client of Breitling. Some of the country’s fighter jets and bombers dressed up with Breitling dashboard clocks during this time.

Welcome The Breitling Chronomat Automatic 

The Chronomat Automatic is one of Breitling’s maiden releases of tool watches. However, the watchmaker saw the need to further separate this model from the rest. Amongst the pilot’s timepieces of the time, the focus was on the Chronomat Automatic.

Hence, the brand traded it in the direction of the scientific section of the wristwatch community. The watch is for scientists like mathematicians and engineers. This is the exact origin of its name, Chronomat which means Chronograph For Mathematicians

The actual Breitling Chronomat timepieces headlined slide rule bezels. This was the first time a model from the brand will headline this distinct feature. Over time, this feature now appears as the trademark design component of other collections like the Navitimer.

In the last few years, various varieties of the Chronomat continue to grace the watchmaking stage. There was the maiden automatic chronograph in the late 1960s. Then, the quartz version came during the scandalous quartz crisis of the 1970s. 

Basically, Breitling suffered the same effect as most legacy watchmakers of the era. The quartz crisis was bad for business. It caused the firm to go up for sale in 1979. 

Still, the firm survived that phase. In 1980, the brand relaunched. However, this time it was without the Chronomat in its watch collection. As a matter of fact, the timepiece was out of production until 1984. When it returned, it geared completely towards pilots and not scientists anymore.

Regardless of the transition, the Chronomat is presently one of Breitling’s most celebrated timepieces. It will easily pass as one of its constant best sellers. 

In 2004, Breitling again proceeded to add another update to this collection. This time, the brand launched Chronomat Evolution in 2004 and 2009. With that launch, Breitling reinvented the timepiece with the Caliber B01. This is Breitling’s first completely made in-house movement.

Breitling Chronomat Automatic: The Dials

Presently, we can categorize this timepiece’s dials into two major kinds.

  • There is the chronograph dial that comes with three sub-dials set at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock positions.
  • Then, the more basic time-and-date dial with the presence of a date window and baton indexes placed at the 6-o’clock area. 

You will find the chronograph dial only on Breitling’s bigger Chronomat timepieces. Moreover, these varieties of the watch all come in 42mm cases.

According to history, the Breitling Chronomat is mostly recognized for its complicated chronograph dials. The very early version of the Breitling Chronomat released in the 1940s captioned two sub-dials. Plus, they were set at the 3 and 9 o’clock positions. 

Furthermore, there is an extremely limited Chronomat made in 1946. It comes with an extra 12-hour sub-dial. Nevertheless, this dual register style could only hang around through the 1950s. This is as this timepiece went on to gain more vogue.

But, in the 1960s things changed after adding a few little upgrades like an arrow marker fixed at the 12 o’clock position. 

Again, that was when we welcomed the very maiden edition of the automatic Chronomat that has a bolder dial. It was either one with a white dial and an outer scale with black sub-registers or a black dial with white or silvered sub-registers and outer scale. Well, both editions also come with colorful red accents.

Based on color, over time, the dials of the Chronomat mostly alternates between black, blue, and white or cream. Still, the Breitling Chronomat in time past again starred green and yellow ‘FOR AMERICA’ dials which is a rarer color.

The recent collection comes with a stunning mint dial featuring the time-and-date models. To add to this, it has additional definitive alternatives like silver, white, blue, and black.

Breitling Chronomat Automatic: The Case

Presently, there are three variations of the case sizes in the recent Chronomat collection. They include:

  • 32mm sized watch.
  • The 36mm sized watch, and
  • The 42mm sized watch.

In past times, Chronomat case sizes appeared as huge as 49mm. For instance, the very introductory ‘big case’ automatic Chronomat timepieces. 

And in recent times, the size of the Chronomat moved up to 47mm. You will discover this in the Limited Edition Jet Team GMT MB04108P/BD76. 

Regardless, the actual size of the Chronomat is a fair and decent 36mm. This was rather regular for that time when most men’s tool watches usually range between 34mm and 36mm.

Typically, the case materials used for the Breitling Chronomat include gold and stainless steel. Also, there is the two-tone gold and stainless steel. But, Breitling previously updated the materials.

For example, the GMT mentioned earlier came with a brushed-black stainless steel case. With that, there was an additional modern and tactical aura to it. 

Breitling Chronomat Automatic: The Bezel

When we consider the bezels, the metal mostly fits the case. The only time it doesn’t is when it’s a two-tone. In such a case, the bezel is mostly adorned in gold.

In addition, the designs of the bezels also evolved. At the beginning of the production of this timepiece, the brand fully sought a patent for its rotating bezel. This bezel captioned an interior round slide-rule scale integrated to the lower part of the crystal. 

The rotating bezel produced then contained an external telemeter scale. This helps in calculating distance over time. Therefore, what began as a pointy bezel soon became a beaded bezel. 

With the 1960s came the ‘big case’ as well as a patented and spanking new geared bezel instrument. This time again, it was more of a pointy tip.

Then came the 1980s. This time, the Chronomat got an update featuring a rotating timing bezel. This bezel came with an outward layer of four bulging “rider tabs”. Thanks to this, a pilot could easily grab the bezel with gloves on in the cockpit.

This was a part of Breitling’s aim to remodel the watch as a pilots’ tool watch. This is contrary to the former made for scientists. 

Presently, the bezels are unidirectional. Plus, they come with 5 and 15-minute pointers in the non-chronograph editions. Also, there is a replica for the chronograph. But, this time with extra minute pointers in the first and last 15-minute additions.

Breitling Chronomat Automatic: The Bracelets

Presently, the current Chronomat bracelets star an integrated look. This removable bracelet provides an easy layout from the case down to the strap. You can get these metal bracelets in solid gold, two-tone, and stainless steel.

They fit the cases of their watches. Also, the recent crop underlines the collection’s trademark “Rouleaux” bracelet. This bracelet is best known for its elegantly circular links.

However, you can still find a couple of models that come with leather straps. These were the regular bracelets of the Chronomat until the 1970s. Their replacements were the quartz models with added bracelets. This helped them stay fresh with trends of that period. 

Breitling Chronomat Automatic: The Movements

In time past as Breitling revamped and boosted the Chronomat, the brand likewise furnished the timepiece with a mixture of various movements. Below is a detailed list of almost all the movements utilized by the Breitling Chronomat in past years.

  • The Venus 175

Employed in the initial Chronomats of the 1940s. The features include 17-jewels. Also, there is a core chronograph hand documenting seconds. Then, a minute chronograph register set at the 3-o’clock position with similar recording abilities. Finally, there is a running seconds hand placed on the 9 o’clock sub-dial.

  • Venus 178

This movement came in the very exclusive 3-register sub-dial models made in the 1940s.

  • The Venus 184

The movement was arrayed in the Chronomat Moon Phase. This was the first on the list of Chronomat made in that period. It projected a 3-register edition involving a date complication and a moonphase.

  • Venus 175

It appeared in the Chronomat ref. 769, ref. 808​. Then, in the ‘big case’ ref. 818.

  • Valjoux 7733

Decked out in the ref. 818’s made at the end of the 1970s.

  • Caliber 11/12

The earliest automatic ‘big case’ Chronomat. It appeared with a recently created “Chrono-Matic” micro-rotor movement tagged as the Caliber 11. This movement had a few alterations after a year. Then, the name changed to Caliber 12. Also, this movement appeared in the ref. 8808.

  • Valjoux 7740 

In 1973, the Chronomat ref. 7808 came with this manually wound movement.

  • Quartz

As the quartz crisis went on, Breitling shifted to quartz and abandoned the chronograph. This affected both the regular ref. 7808 that featured this movement, and the ‘big case’ 9108. 

  • Valjoux 7750

This 17-jewel movement appeared in the initial ref. 81950s. Also, a modified version appeared in the Chronomat Moonphase ref. 81950. There is again a yachting timer used in the Chronomat Yachting ref. 81950.

  • Breitling 13

This movement came in the odd-sized 39.8 Breitling Chronomat Blackbird ref. A13350. This edition came out in 1993. Presently, the Blackbird is a piece in the ‘Avenger’ lineup.

  • Breitling B01

Eventually, the Chronomat earns a movement built and made entirely in-house by the brand.

Presently, Breitling employs the Superquartz Caliber 77 in the 32mm timepiece. Then, the automatic Caliber 10 appears in the 36mm models. Also, there is the automatic Caliber 01 featured in the 42mm. In all, all of these movements have the difference of being in-house movements.


With this closer look at the Breitling Chronomat Automatic, a lot is clear to you already. The evolution of the watch, its functionality, and the watch’s amazing look are all enticing features of this tool watch.

The Breitling Chronomat Automatic is generally a technical tool watch with various features. Not just that, the evolution this timepiece experienced over time is responsible for its versatility. 

However, do not limit this watch’s utility to pilots. Various watch lovers go for the Chronomat, especially the one with the leather strap. You should get yours too!


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