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Review and Watchscapes: Breitling Premier B01 42 Bentley Centenary Limited Edition Red Gold

by Peter Chong on October 8, 2019
Reviews
Overview
Brand

Breitling Premier B01 42 Bentley Centenary Limited Edition Red Gold

Complication / Type of Watch

Chronograph with in-house movement
Racing car inspired with unique brown burl elm dial
Limited Edition of 200 pieces

Recommended Retail Price

S$ 40,200.00 inclusive of tax

Available in SS but with same brown burl elm dial S$14,750.00 (1,000 pc LE)
And from 2018, in SS with a British Racing Green Dial (not limited) for S$ 11,400.00 inclusive of tax

We take a close look at the Breitling Premier B01 42 Bentley Centenary Limited Edition in Red Gold. Hands-on with full specifications and pricing.

We have reviewed earlier editions of the Breitling Bentley watches here:

Breitling Bentley GMT B04 S Carbon

We present today the latest Breitling Premier B01 Bentley Centenary Limited Edition – review and large format Watchscape wallpapers.

Please note: As with our large format Watchscapes, some of the images will have links to wallpaper sized images. These images are provided for personal use only, and on clicking on the link, you acknowledge that you have read and understand this statement, and agree to be bound. Commercial use rates for any images on this site are available on application.

Breitling Premier B01 42 Bentley Centenary Red Gold

Link to wallpaper: By clicking on this link you confirm that you have read and understood this statement, and agree that you will use the linked photograph for personal consumption only.

Breitling and Bentley Motors have had a longstanding partnership tracing back to 2002. At that time the iconic automobile brand was designing the Continental GT and commissioned Breitling to create an on-board clock which would reflect the luxury, quality and performance of the grand tourer. The car (and clock) debuted in 2003. In this year’s Geneva International Motor Show, Breitling once again renewed this partnership with the Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition wristwatch. This also commemorates the celebration of Bentley’s 100 years of motoring.

During the Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition Launch at the 89th Geneva International Motor Show on March 5, 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland. (PPR/Breitling/The Image Gate)

The case, dial and hands

Two models are available – a red gold version as reviewed, and a stainless steel version.

The case is the very elegant Premier line case design – with sleek lines, and a very large aperture for the dial such that the bezel is vestigial. The layout is a two counter chronograph is very legible and though the gold on brown tone on tone dial colours might suggest low contrast, in reality under most light conditions, the dial is easy to read.

The dial itself is rather special. Made from a thin slice of brown elm burr wood, each is unique as it carries the patterns from the tree which it came from. We presume the elm burr veneer is attached to the brass dial by ga glue of some sort, as the Breitling literature is silent on how the dial is constructed. The dial certainly looks lovely, and certainly adds a touch of luxury and old world charm.

The same elm burr is used in the Bentley cars, and is inspired by the wooden dashboard of the iconic 1929 “Blower” Bentley. The Blower is the affectionate nickname given to the 4 ½ Litre Supercharged race cars driven by Sir Tim Birkin and the legendary Bentley Boys in the 1920s.

Link to wallpaper: By clicking on this link you confirm that you have read and understood this statement, and agree that you will use the linked photograph for personal consumption only.

The chronograph sub-dials are in black and provides a subtle but noticiable and distinguishing contrast to the burr wood. A white tachymeter scale on a black inner bezel around the dial, with a red tachymeter inscription. The markers are large rose gold appliques. The hands are also rose gold.

The left side of the 42mm case is sporting a “Bentley” engraved plate, inspired also from the “Blower” Bentley dashboard design.

Link to wallpaper: By clicking on this link you confirm that you have read and understood this statement, and agree that you will use the linked photograph for personal consumption only.

The movement: Breitling B01

Powering the Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition in 18k red gold is the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, a mechanical movement developed in-house by Breitling. This movement was that established itself as one of the most reliable mechanical movement in the industry, and used by Tudor in their Black Bay Chronograph.

The Breitling B01 Chronograph. File photograph.

The movement is robust, and from loupe examination through the case back (of another watch with a clear sapphire crystal back) looks to be well made and designed. The movement finishing is at a very high engineering standard, and is near haute horlogerie levels. For example, the anglage are polished, but from the visual inspection, the bevels look like they are machine made. As are the Côtes de Genève. The column wheel is rather nicely polished, and the system works via an elegant vertical clutch mechanism, and will prove to be both reliable and rugged.

As seen in the photograph above, the movement is visible through the transparent case back featuring a Bentley logo. The case back will be engraved with “1 OF 200” (prototype shown above).

Competitive Landscape

The landscape of motoring inspired watches is rather vast, but almost all the watches are in either steel or titanium, or carbon. Perhaps a nod towards the motoring inspiration, not many are offered in red gold. And not many have such luxurious aspirations, as the norm is to model after motor sports.

At S$ 40,200 in red gold, the Breitling Premier B01 42 Bentley Centenary Limited Edition Red gold is perhaps rather lonely in its own hill. On the left is the mountain of the super race inspired watches like the Richard Mille RM50-03 McLaren which is equipped with a tourbillon and a split seconds movement and the Jacob & Co and Bugatti associations. On this mountain, the old adage applies: “If you have to ask the price, you can’t afford it” commonly attributed to U.S. financier J.P. Morgan. And to the right, the mountain inhabited by the pure play chronograph gods the likes of the Lange Datograph, Vacheron Constantin Corne de Vache and Patek Philippe Ref 5172. This hill of specialists come with attendant price tags though not nearly as astronomic as the left mountain, is nearer the century mark in Singapore dollars.

Though perhaps not quite. The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona also lives on the same hill. Both the Rolex and Breitling have great pedigree, similar eloquence expressed in the aesthetics, and very close ballpark pricing. The Daytona in SS is S$16,600 and in yellow gold with a rubber bracelet at S$36,960. But as the market knows, the Daytona at retail is as rare as hen’s teeth. So enough of that.

Of the non-superwatch (and super priced categories), we have the offerings from Chopard, TAG Heuer et al. Of note, with perhaps similar aspirations is the Chopard Mille Miglia (link to 2018 Race Edition) is only in a stainless steel case or a two tone steel and gold case. But the movement is a automatic chronograph calibre (ETA-2892 with Dubois-Depraz module) with COSC-chronometer certification, while the 2019 Race Edition (also in SS and SS+gold) is an automatic chronograph calibre based on the 7750 architecture, with COSC-chronometry certification. The SS/RG (LE 1000) retails at CHF 10,500 and in SS (LE 250) at CHF 7,170. Very similar prices to the Breitling SS version.

Concluding thoughts

After spending some time with the watch, we are very fond of it. Particularly to the beautiful aesthetics – the lines, the proportions are elegant. The luxury of the wood dial evokes sensations of being wafted in a cloud at high speeds, like one would be in the comforts of the Bentley Continental GT in the autobahn. Old world charm, with new world technology.

We think the Breitling Premier B01 42 Bentley Centenary is an excellent representation of this genre. Pure. Luxurious. Elegant. Beautiful. Even more so than the Rolex Daytona. And particularly the red gold edition we review here. Sure its quite a bit more than the regular SS version or even the British Racing Green standard version, but luxury is not measured only by dollars. But the emotion it evokes in oneself. And this watch certainly does it for us.

Breitling Premier B01 42 Bentley Centenary Specifications

Reference: RB01181A1Q1X1
WATCH MOVEMENT
Caliber: Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01
Diameter: 30 millimeters
Depth: 7.2 millimeters
Winder: self-winding, bidirectional with ball bearing
Power reserve: approximately 70 hours
Number of components: 346
Balance frequency: 28,800 a/h or 4 hertz
Chronograph: column-wheel, vertical clutch, 1/4th second, 30-minute
counter
Display: hour, minute, second, date window
Certification: COSC-certified
CASE
Material: 18 k red gold
Diameter: 42 millimeters
Height: 13.65 millimeters
Water resistance: up to 10 bar (100 meters)
Glass: sapphire, convex, double anti-reflective
Caseback: screwed 18 k red gold, sapphire glass
Crown: non-screw-locked, two gaskets
DIAL/HANDS
Brown elm burl with black contrasting fields for permanent seconds and 30-minute totalizer
Super-LumiNova® luminescent hour and minute hands
STRAP
Brown Bentley-inspired strap with pin buckle

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