Breitling celebrates her partnership with Bentley’s release of the Continental GT Convertible Mulliner Edition by releasing the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley Mulliner Chronograph in a limited edition of 1,000 pieces. We get hands-on with the novelty for 2020, and here is our detailed review.
Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley Mulliner Limited Edition
The collaboration with Bentley has been an ongoing affair for Breitling since 2002. And this special edition is to celebrate Bentley’s new Continental GT Convertible Mulliner Edition. The Mulliner Workshop is an extension of Mulliner, a a family company founded by master coachbuilder Robert Bouverie Mulliner in London in 1870.
The new Premier Bentley chronograph takes design cues from the interior of the GT, the most luxurious ever. The car features the same blue and red accents as the watch, and the vertically brushed silver dial of the Premier is similar to the Bentley’s dashboard clock, also signed Breitling. On the left plate of the Premier case is engraved “Bentley”, in a design based on the engine spin dashboard found in historic Bentleys. The Premier Bentley Mulliner comes in a limited edition of 1.000 pieces, each of which engraved “ONE OF 1.000”.
The Continental GT Mulliner convertible is an ongoing design elaboration that builds on the the success of two other Bentley First Editions from the centenary year: the GT Number 9 and the GT Convertible Number 1 limited editions. This Mulliner Convertible is the only Continental GT to have a Breitling clock in the car.
The case, dial and hands
The case is the now classic Breitling Premier case, round, with sloping shoulders which turn into lugs. We have always found the case design to be very pleasing, both in proportions as well as in the shape. The 42mm case diameter wears somewhat small, as the lugs curve to hug the wrist, and carries a two tone “Panda” style dial, which in Breitling-speak signals the presence of the B01 in-house chronograph movement within.
The red and blue accents on the dial echoes the interior of the car. The markers are in Arabic numerals exept for 12, 3, 6, and 9 which are bars – a double vertical bar for the 12 and a single vertical bar for 6, and nearly square rectangular ones for the 3 and 9. All these markers are appliqué, and feature a silvered frame over a blue lacquered infill. The Arabic font used is the same as the ones used in the car’s clock which marks 3, 6, 9 12.
The sub-dials, a 30 minute counter at 3 o’clock and a continuous small-second at 9 o’clock, have blue interiors with white markings. A white tachymeter scale on a blue inner bezel goes around the dial. A smaller circle, in red shows the chronograph seconds markings, reading in 5 second intervals in Arabic and lines for the rest.
The hands are lancet style. The hour and minutes feature infill Super-LumiNova®, and the chronograph hand is a long, elegant number with a diamond shaped counterweight and painted in red.
We have always liked how the Breitling Premier collection looks, how the balance of colours and the harmony of the elements on the dial is just beautiful, and the Premier Mulliner is no exception.
The Premier is presented on a blue alligator leather strap, echoing the Imperial Blue leather interior of the car.
The movement is the now time and tested Breitling B01, which is an in-house creation. The same movement beats within the Tudor Black Bay Chronograph, and is designed and manufactured by Breitling.
The B01 features a vertical clutch column wheel activated chronograph, which is a pleasure to use. Each activation – start, stop, reset is smooth and operates with a light, but positive pressure. The force needed for each of the operation is consistent, as is quite the norm for column wheel driven chronographs.
Movement finishing is not at haute horlogerie levels, but neither are the asking prices, and we think the level offered is highly commensurate with the pricing level. The chronograph works are in steel, and finished to a nice level, with good polish on the flat surfaces, and proper anglage applied to the edges. The movement plates are not fully visible without a disassembly of the rotor and the chronograph works, but we have seen Breitling plates elsewhere and they are adequate. We say adequate not as a slang for poor, but rather in the same vein that Rolls Royce, who used to own Bentley specifies the power output of their engines.
The competitive landscape
At S$11,800 retail (Singapore dollars), the Breitling Premier Bentley B01 Chronograph 42 Mulliner Chronograph is somewhat in a budget middle. It is pricey when compared to chronographs bearing ubiquitious Valjoux or ETA/Dubuis Depraz ebauches. But in comparison to column wheel chronographs which is built in-house, it is quite capable to stand on its own. We determine that the landscape hill it sits on is one which is a tool or tool-like watch, with an in-house column wheel chronograph.
The Rolex Cosmograph Daytona is possible comparison rival, but the Rolex has the secondary market going for it, and one can actually make money selling a used Daytona. Needless to say, as all our regulars know, getting one at retail (S$17,640 on a stainless steel bracelet) is well nigh impossible.
Blancpain also offer an interesting alternative in the Blancpain Air Command retailing for CHF18,000. It features an inhouse column wheel chronograph, the 35-jewel Calibre F388B high beat movement with a 50 hour power reserve.
Omega is perhaps the odd man out, to be able to offer numerous comparable product at a much more price competitive level. One good comparison might be to the one of the Moonwatches, of which there are many variants. We pick the Speedmaster Steel Chronograph, retailing at S$8,600. The watch is not a limited edition, and is somewhat larger at 44mm, The movement is the Omega 9300, a self-winding chronograph movement with column wheel mechanism, Co-Axial escapement and a silicon balance spring on free sprung-balance. All black dial, in line with the Moonwatch heritage, but aesthetically, we do prefer the Panda two tone dial of the Breitling. And ultimately, its a toss up on preferences.
Of course Breitling’s own other Premier B01 Chronographs provide sibling competition. All similarly priced.
The Breitling Premier Premier Bentley Mulliner Limited Edition has a lot going for it. It has the connection to the lovely Bentley motorcar which echoes in DNA. It is plenty beautiful – a very nice blend of very visually appealing aesthetics in a practical bundle. It is a limited edition of only 1000 pieces, and operationally is a good performer. The chronograph buttons work very nicely, and the watch is COSC certified for accuracy. And it wears so well on the wrist. Very comfortable.
And is quite reasonably priced – not the cheapest in its class, but no where near the most expensive.
Photo Notes: Photographed with the Fujifilm GFX100 with GF50mm lens with and without extension tubes.
Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley Mulliner Limited Edition Specifications
Reference: AB0118A71G1P1 or AB0118A71G1P2
Caliber: Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01
Diameter: 30 millimeters
Depth: 7.2 millimeters
Winder: self-winding mechanical, 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
Display: hour, minute, second
Material: stainless steel
Diameter: 42 millimeters
Height: 13.65 millimeters
Water resistance: up to 10 bar (100 meters)
Glass: sapphire, convex, double anti-reflective
Caseback: screwed steel, sapphire glass
Crown: non-screw-locked, two gaskets
Silver with contrasting blue chronograph counters
Super-LumiNova® luminescent hour and minute hands
Blue alligator leather strap with pin or folding buckle