Breitling Chronomat B01 Chrono 44 500 Meters
The Breitling Chronomat B01 44 is a brand fan favorite and has been for some time. At Baselworld 2018, the newest version that was released continues the overall look, but done in a more subtle nature that will appeal to many. In particular, the case and bracelet is finished in 316L satin-brushed stainless steel. Additionally, the dial (available in “blackeye” blue and grey only) has been finished in a more simplified and subtle way. We did conduct an informal poll of the Talk About Watches staff in the office and, to a person, everyone likes the watch. The only “complaint” was an overall preference for less water resistance (this new model is 500m) and the inclusion of an exhibition caseback. What say you?
44mm case diameter
16.9mm case thickness
Convex sapphire crystal wtth anti-reflective (AR) coating
500m water resistance
Screw down crown and function pushers
Dlue or grey dial options only
Breitling B-01 in-house automatic chronograph
Hours, minutes, small seconds, chronograph seconds, chronograph minutes (30) and chronograph hours (12)
22mm Breitling Pilot bracelet with folding clasp
28,800 VPH (4Hz)
70 hours of power reserve
COSC Certified Chronometer
It’s All About The Movement
Let’s face it. Of the many things that can have an effect on the price of a timepiece, one of the major factors that can come into play is the movement that is used. In the case of the in-house (or manufacture) B-01 movement from Breitling. This particular movement is the first manufacture movement from Breitling and was in development for approximately five (5) years! The fact that it is an [automatic] column wheel chronograph is of particular importance as this type of movement is significantly more expensive to design and produce.
The first in-house (manufacture) movement made by Breitling
Five (5) years of developement work
COSC (Contrôle Officiel suisse des Chronomètres) Certified Chronometer
28,800 vibrations per hour (VPH) or 4Hz
70 hours of power reserve (minimum) with single barrel design
Vertical clutch column wheel automatic chronograph
Instant change date
Date can be changed at any time, there are no “danger hours”
Custom Breitling rotor
Triple ball bearing rotor assembly design
Patented auto-centering system for the reset hammers
Decoration include Côtes de Genève, circular graining, diamond polished bevels and snailing
The column wheel chronograph is widely thought of as the higher-end mechanism compared to alternatives. The column wheel has one obvious positive attribute for the wearer. The pusher action is very smooth. When a column wheel chronograph features a vertical clutch (instead of a horizontally coupled chronograph), you will notice is how smooth the chronograph seconds hand jumps off from a stopped position – there is almost no noticeable ‘jerk’. The smooth action of the hand is achieved because the gearing is lifted in and out of place vertically, and the hand can stop and start precisely where it lays. Note that without the vertical clutch, a column wheel chronograph will likely still display a jump in movement, and not all are outfitted with this clutch system. In fact, horizontal clutches are often thought of as more aesthetically pleasing and are used in some high-end movements.
COSC Certified Chronometer
One thing that is very important to note and is often not known by many watch collectors out there is that all Breitling timepieces (including quartz) that have been manufactured since the year 2000 are all COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) certified Chronometers. This ensures a high level of quality and reliability in a watch movement and does add to the overall manufacturing costs. On short, your Breitling Chronomat 44 Automatic Patrouille de France Limited Edition (actually, the B-01 column wheel chronograph powering it) is a COSC Certified Chronometer.
For those that may not know, the COSC (or Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) is a non-profit association which was created in 1973 by the Federation of the Swiss Watch Industry (aka FH) and the five major watchmaking districts of Switzerland. Namely Geneva, Vaud, Neuchâtel, Bern and Solothurn. Watch movements submitted are subject to fifteen days of testing in five positions and at three temperatures (8° C, 23° C and 38°C). The positions used are crown left, crown up, crown down, dial up, dial down and verification of additional all additional functionality of the watch movement. That is, date, chronograph, etc. The seven (7) criteria that must be met are average daily rate, mean variation in rates, greatest variation in rates, difference between rates in horizontal and vertical positions, largest difference in rates, thermal variation and rate-resumption. The tests that must be passed (for non-quartz movements) are as follows:
Minimal requirements in seconds per day (s/d), category 1 (diameter of the movement less than 20mm):
– average daily rate = -4 / +6
– mean variation in rates = 2
– greatest variation in rates = 5
– difference between rates in horizontal and vertical positions = -6 / +8
– largest difference in rates = 10
– thermal variation = ± 0.6
– rate-resumption = ± 5
Minimal requirements in seconds per day (s/d), category 2 (diameter of the movement equal to or larger than 20mm):
– average daily rate = -5 / +8
– mean variation in rates = 3.4
– greatest variation in rates = 7
– difference between rates in horizontal and vertical positions = -8 / +10
– largest difference in rates = 15
– thermal variation = ± 0.7
– rate-resumption = ± 6
Each uncased movement is individually tested for fifteen days, in five positions, at three different temperatures. The movements are fitted with a seconds hand and the automatic winding mechanisms are disengaged for the tests. Measurements are made daily with the aid of cameras. Based on these measurements, seven eliminatory criteria are calculated, each of which must be met (e.g., for movements of a diameter over 20 mm, the requirements, indicated in seconds/day, are noted in the table below). There is no ISO standard for quartz timepieces, but there is development in this field. ISO 10553:2003 specifies the procedure for evaluating the accuracy of quartz watches, individually and by lot, and the relationship between the accuracy tested and the accuracy classification given by the manufacturer.
If you are unfamiliar with the COSC certification process or you’d just like to really go down the rabbit hole and learn much more about it, we recommend that you watch the following video. This is a video put together by our friends at Long Island Watch as a part of their “Watch and Learn” series. As is the case with all of the videos from the folks at Long Island Watch, they have done an outstanding job at putting this together. It is very much recommended to all!
If you prefer an additional (and shorter) video, our friends at TheWatches.tv also have a very good video that covers the COSC process. It, too, is highly recommended.
This first video is from our friend Federico and his YouTube channel “Federico Talks Watches”. In it, Federico does a great job at stepping you through and educating you on the Breitling B-01 automatic column wheel chronograph.
This second video literally amounts to a master level education on the Breitling B-01 movement. It comes from the “Watch Science” YouTube channel (which, by the way, is a great channel to subscribe to!) and is led by Breitling USA instructor Robert Flood. This is especially good because several comparisons are made to the venerable Valjoux 7750. The 7750 does have a number of flaws in design and these are all not only explained, but shown to be corrected in the B-01. A great video for the true watch geek ready to go down the rabbit hole and learn a lot from it.
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