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Breitling and Bentley 19-Year Partnership

Breitling and Bentley 19-Year Partnership

Breitling-Bentley partnership

Want to know how Breitling CEO Georges Kern announced the end of Breitling and Bentley’s 19-year partnership to the world? In his words, “We’re proud of what we have accomplished together and after 19 years. Breitling and Bentley are embarking on their own new journeys.” Bentley Media details this end to a journey of approximately two decades.

Officially, after almost 20 years, Breitling and Bentley went their separate ways in 2021. This is one partnership that gave us a contentious medley of two great brands. There is no disputing their joint commitment to pioneering passion, clever craftsmanship, delicate designs, and technological tenacity. But, there was more to this Breitling-Bentley partnership.

It all began in 2002 when Breitling created the dashboard clock of the Continental GT. This time offering had its last renewal in 2018. That same year, Breitling launched a new collection of designated timepieces. Well, all of these are now only pages in the 19-chapter book of the Breitling and Bentley partnership. 

Retrospectively, the 19 years of partnership between Breitling and Bentley has been a fascinating odyssey. Notably, while the whole yearly production of Breitling gets tracked easily through the brand’s chronometer certifications, it is a different case with the Breitling for Bentley models. The total number of watches manufactured as products of the Breitling-Bentley partnership remains undisclosed.

There is only one safe conclusion that we can make. And that is that both brands had no regrets about the partnership at all. If the case was any different, the Breitling-Bentley partnership wouldn’t last up to nearly two decades.

Meet The Partners

  • Bentley Motors

Bentley Motors remains one of the most sought-after luxury car makers all around the world. Crewe is the company’s headquarters and home to all of this car maker’s operations. So, from car designs, R&D, engineering, and manufacturing, Crewe plays a good host to them all. 

Moreover, the company is famous for its three model lines, Bentayga, Continental, and Flying Spur. These models are products of a good mixture of fine craftsmanship, skills handed down through generations, engineering expertise, and cutting-edge technology. All of these form the fortress of this outstanding UK luxury car brand. 

Overall, Bentley is a good depiction of high-value British manufacturing delivered in platinum. Lastly, Bentley employs over 4,000 people at the company’s headquarters in Crewe.    

  • Breitling

For a journey that began in 1884, Breitling soon solidified a global prestige as a manufacturer of high-precision timepieces. This watchmaker plays a pioneering role in the creation of the wrist chronograph. Also, Breitling is famous for its persistent devotion to design distinction. 

Furthermore, this watchmaking brand holds a storied alliance with aviation. In the past, the brand shared the finest moments in humanity’s conquest of the skies. Well-known for its inventive spirit, it also earns a place of honor in the realms of sports, science, and technology. Finally, Breitling produces its own movements in-house and the quality of everyone is top-notch. Also, these movements hold a verified status as a COSC-certified chronometer manufactured in Switzerland.

Breitling and Bentley: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Breitling and Bentley: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

In the space of 19 years, Breitling launched a considerable amount of timepieces as products of the Breitling-Bentley partnership. First, most of us can wholeheartedly confess that we are far more Bentley lovers than Breitling lovers. Yet, some watches, particularly at the inception of the Breitling and Bentley partnership, were charming, to say the least. 

However, we must also admit that certain flaws plagued the Breitling-Bentley partnership at some point. Therefore, in this section, we look at the good, the bad, and the ugly of the manufacturing escapades of Breitling and Bentley.

  • The Navitimer “Bentley Motors”

Among the crop of early timepieces released was the Navitimer “Bentley Motors.” This watch comes in a diameter of a whopping 48.7 mm. With this size, even the Breitling Emergency looks small. Any watch lover would expect a watch fit to impose such blunt force trauma to be more of a Hummer product than Bentley.

Then, on the 50th anniversary of the Navitimer in 2002, we welcomed the brand-new Breitling for Bentley Le Mans. This watch came in at a staggering 48.7 mm in size. 

  • Breitling For Bentley Chronograph GMT 

In comparison with grand Italian thoroughbred supercars, Bentley is more of a locomotive. We believe this brand should get enough love for that alone. If you ever felt that many Breitling for Bentley timepieces were out of touch, you’re not alone.

The situation didn’t get much better in later years. Sadly, it got worse with the watches getting even larger. Then came the Breitling for Bentley Chronograph GMT that you could buy around the turn of the decade. This watch came in a 49 mm size. That was about the exact size the center caps of a Bentley rim is.

To add to this misery was the Breitling for Bentley GMT Chronograph British Racing Green of 2010. This time, it measured a staggering 49 mm in diameter. Powered by a somewhat small ETA movement that was too small for the case, anyway, it wasn’t the easiest on the eyes. With all the subdials packed closely together in the center of the dial and a wide, knurled bezel being the watch’s main reference to the world of Bentley, we wanted better.

More so, the steel version was rather too heavy. Little wonder Breitling launched a titanium model of the timepiece a couple of years afterward.

  • The Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon 

Could the outputs get worse? Well, the Breitling-Bentley partnership did get worse with the Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon. Now, here is a watch that holds a place in our list of ugliest watches ever. This watch looks like a fake made in a backstreet workshop in the Far East. That appearance is no thanks to the adornment on the tourbillon bridge and the cutouts of the date and the chronograph minute counter as well 

Additionally, the two subdials are far too small to read without a loupe at the average age anyone would typically get their first Bentley. Also, it has a monstrous appearance with a diameter of 48.7 mm. Also, the good news is that when you mistakenly drive your Bentley off the pier going to your yacht, the watch keeps ticking. Yes, it is water-resistant up to 100 meters underwater. Although, this watch might just drag you further down into the water.

What Good Did The Breitling-Bentley Partnership Produce?

While we might feel there were quite too many flaws in the Breitling-Bentley partnership, neither company admits their nearly two-decade co-branding had flaws. According to Bentley CEO, Adrian Hallmark, “The long-standing collaboration between Bentley and Breitling demonstrated that when two like-minded brands work together authentically the performance of both is enhanced.”

Watchpro.com also reports that “Breitling has been throwing its weight behind its ‘squad’ concept in the years since Mr. Kern took over as CEO with Hollywood stars, musicians and sports stars representing the brand.”

So, we dug deep, and truly, there were a number of excellent watchmaking feats the Breitling and Bentley 19-year partnership achieved.

  • Changes Began with the 2007 Rectangular Breitling for Bentley Flying B

Well, it was still too big, too thick, and with too much weight. But the way Breitling executed that watch was excellent. Also, Breitling launched The Flying B as a chronograph, but we like the cleaner appearance of the jump hour. This feature also captioned the first time Breitling utilized this complication.

When the partnership got renewed for the final lap in 2018, Breitling moved its Bentley watches into the Premier collection. It was at that point we believe the brand finally got it right. Now, the watches started away from the rest of the herd by mere attributes. Still, we feel that these timepieces grasp the soul of Bentley much better.

Now, they come as smaller, subtler time tools that convey enough refinement in colors and other details. You might think that the name of the Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley Centenary Limited Edition is too long. We do too, but the burl elm dial makes up for it with its stunning appearance.

How about its sibling, the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley in British Racing Green. Here is another tempting wristwatch that any watch enthusiast will proudly wear.

  • The 2015 Bentayga 

Again, the Breitling-Bentley partnership made global headlines as Bentley launched the Bentayga in 2015. This automobile was the carmaker’s most off-road-capable car to date. It came with a price tag and options list that would scare off the faint of heart. Soon, it got a lot of attention focused on the Breitling Tourbillon clock alternative costing a mere $160,000.

With this mechanical wonder, there was a replacement for the standard Breitling clock in the Bentayga.  This watch came with a gold case, a mother-of-pearl dial, and diamond hour markers to create a flawless synergy. The most impressive feature is that this clock comes with an automatic movement but never gets separated from the Bentayga.

Meanwhile, the Breitling clock’s unusual cradle functions as an automated winder, saving you from the stress of manually winding it often. Also, there is a special backlight system that ensures that the driver can also read the time clearly at night. All of these make this watch probably one of the most over-the-top, yet coolest, watch ever attached to a car.

Takeaways From Breitling And Bentley 19-year Partnership

A Breitling for Bentley  

Spontaneous partnerships between a car maker and a watchmaking brand can be fun. However, long-term partnerships scarcely ever fully thrive as you would want them. One huge issue with them is that you rarely find such partnerships where both the watch and the car get loved equally. Most times, there is one or the other that enjoys the following more. 

We know there are some Bentley owners and some Breitling connoisseurs. But, what we aren’t sure of is any Bentley owners that own a Breitling timepiece or vice versa. Also, we don’t know anyone at all that rocks a Breitling for Bentley. It certainly can’t be that they are not proud to wear it in public spaces.

One fact we are certain of about watch and car brand partnerships is that they will all end at some point. In fact, the one that we still consider the benchmark in the industry, which is the partnership between Hublot and Ferrari recently came to an end.

Overall, this is not as strange as we might make it seem. Remember, these are two separate companies that both strive for profit. More so, they altered their strategies, changed their CEOs, and then one or the other failed to extend the partnership contract till it expired.

This happens to the best, and it also happened to quite a few, even those we thought were good mates. Remember Jaeger-LeCoultre made watches with Aston Martin. Their partnership even included an ingenious way to unlock your DB9, DBS, or Rapide. Still, the partnership ended after ten years. Most of us like these two brands equally. Yet, chances are that we would likely wear a normal collection Jaeger-LeCoultre instead of a co-branded Amvox with Aston Martin.

Conclusion: Is a Fusion Necessary?

For those that can afford both, you don’t need a specific watch to demonstrate that fact unless you actually prefer the design. So, when we consider this well enough, there is so little need for these types of fusions.

Also, we cannot forget that they are luxury items, to begin with. These are items that anybody can live without. Aside from that, anyone that can afford a Bentley perhaps already owns a high-quality watch or has a collection.

The situation should be a prompt also for any other brand. Even at the point when the Bentley-Breitling partnership got to the public notice, the reaction couldn’t be so swift. We doubt that many Breitling collectors instantly went to their local Bentley dealerships to order one in celebration. That’s not a way to express their commitment to the horological loves of their life certainly. Clearly, this doesn’t work like the brands thought it would be.

Based on these premises, we believe both Breitling and Bentley are better off concentrating on their core businesses. Possibly, they may find other fields in which partnerships can be more productive.


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