How It’s Made: Breitling’s Chronomat
As the world grows ever smaller with the advancement of technology, corporations seem to only get bigger in a race for dominance in the marketplace. While mergers and acquisitions consolidate entire industries at a time, the family-run business (especially those with heritage) has become a dwindling breed as many often struggle to keep their heads above water. However, rare as they are, there are some that dare to defy the norm and thrive amongst giants.
Breitling is one of those brands.
It’s not to say that they are by any means a small operation. 132 years of continued success have established Breitling as a leader in its category, but with all the positive attributes that come with being family run. “Heritage, performance and robustness,” says Ted Schneider, Breitling’s Canadian Brand Manager, when describing the company. “Breitling is an independent and family-owned business, one of the few remaining in the Swiss watch industry. The company was founded in 1884 and quickly became renowned for its reliable and precise timepieces.” Indeed, Breitling has a rich pedigree full of milestones that have defined the brand and industry, alike. What makes them so special is the fact that they have blazed a trail of performance and innovation for so many after them, establishing themselves as a world leader in luxury timepieces. Heralded as the rebirth of the mechanical chronograph, Breitling’s Chronomat continues to be one of the most successful models produced by the timepiece company.
“Being an independent company, innovation has always been of the utmost importance to Breitling,” continues Schneider. “As the inventor of the modern chronograph and one of the rare companies to produce and manufacture our own mechanical chronograph movements, innovation has been a part of our DNA since 1884.” 31 years after they were founded, Breitling made waves in the world of horology as the first to invent an independent pushpiece for the wrist chronograph before their next breakthrough — a second independent reset pushpiece — that would set an industry precedent and create the modern chronograph that we see today.
Equally impressive, Breitling is also one of the rare companies that produces its own mechanical chronograph movements in-house. “The decision [to produce internally] serves two main purposes,” states Schneider. “First, the constant quest to improve quality and performance. The second is the desirability and necessity to remain independent in an industry surrounded by larger groups of companies that support each other.” To produce their own Manufacture calibers, such as their high-performance self-winding Caliber 01 movement, Breitling utilizes a mix of automated and manual techniques to harness the best attributes from both processes. The result? An exceptionally impressive timepiece that can withstand even the most rigorous of quality tests (they are one of the few watch brands to submit all movements to the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute, an independent body considered the highest benchmark of quality on an international standard.)
To truly appreciate a Breitling timepiece is to understand its pedigree and the significance that the brand has had in the complex, thrilling and innovative world of luxury timepieces. To wear one of their storied watches is to grace your wrist with 132 years of disruptive innovation and time-tested quality. How’s that for a conversation starter?