Breitling Bentley GMT “British Racing Green” Limited Edition


    • The Breitling-Bentley union is celebrating 12 full-throttle years.

    • The Breitling for Bentley GMT British Racing Green commemorates the power pair’s LeMans win.

    • Polished steel and Racing Green combine with a mountain of features in a 49mm case.

    • Perhaps the best looking Breitling for Bentley watch of all time and 1 of 1,000.

Breitling for Bentley.

12 years into the marriage of British coach builders and Swiss watchmakers, does the ring still fit?

Marvelously, thanks for asking.

While watches and wheels are a natural match in the pantheon of premium boys’ toys, co-branding between industry heavyweights doesn’t always amount to the sum of its parts. The “Breitling for Bentley” concept raised eyebrows when it surfaced in 2002, but if this 1-of-1,000 Breitling for Bentley GMT British Racing Green Limited Edition is any indication, then, my fellow W.I.S., the state of the union is strong.

Just look at the thing.

The gleaming 49mm case and rich natural rubber strap are evocative of size, power, and refinement. Breitling’s GMT BRG evokes its inspiration; imagine this monster on the wrist behind the wheel of an 18-foot Bentley Mulsanne, and the dream just plain fits.

SUVs may compete on the basis of size, but Bentley owns full-figured refinement on the open road. Like the car itself, this Breitling Bentley GMT BRG is built like a bank vault with the swagger and style of a Savile Row suit.

The Breitling for Bentley GMT BRG

matches the impeccable cultivation of its namesake autos.

Like the Mulsanne, the GMT matches its size with commensurate attention to detail. A matte black dial provides Breitling a showcase for its artistic chops. The applied indexes and numerals bespeak an upscale sensibility, and contrasting subdial printing patterns make this the rare over sized watch that impresses with its micro as well as macro scale style.

Note the polished rings around the subdials: subtle tribute to classic Bentley dashboard instrumentation. The theme continues at the outermost bounds of the bezel, where interlocking diamond grid recalls the machined metal dashboards and controls of vintage racing Bentleys that gave hell to Bugatti during inter-war track battles.

Beyond the inner dial, a fixed 24-hour calibration recalls the Crewe coach builder’s record of six victories at the 24 Hours of LeMans endurance epic. This nod to Bentley heritage works in tandem with a bidirectional world time reference ring yielding instant display of time in 24 global reference cities. Naturally, “GMT” is blazon in red as the home timezone of Bentley Motors.

Additional shocks of red animate the Breitling for Bentley GMT’s sprawling dial. Working back inward from the global reference ring, the low-gloss red is encountered on the 24-hour GMT hand that informs the second half of this Breitling’s moniker. While the GMT is a true 24-hour hand, it can be set independently of the local time in order to provide a constant second time zone reference for travel and long-distance phone tag.

Subdial hands are colored red for exceptional legibility against the black backdrop of their registers.

Over the course of the decade-plus since Breitling and Bentley tied the knot, the green cars have returned to victory lane at LeMans, and Breitling was there for every minute of the 2003 triumph. The Breitling for Bentley GMT BRG’s signature complication, the chronograph, is an ideal match for a sport where seconds equate to immortality.

Breitling’s COSC chronometer-grade caliber 47B packs a special feature unique to the Grenchen firm’s historic catalog. Among the many early twentieth century chronograph innovations claimed by Breitling, the double-time chronograph is a standout.

Patented in 1926 and adapted to operate at the 47B’s eight beats per second, the mechanism accelerates the chronograph seconds hand to trace 360 degrees of dial arc every 30 seconds.

The benefit for users is clear; each second of elapsed time covers two printed seconds on the dial’s track, so increments as small as one-eighth of a second can be read with ease. For users who don’t have the luxury of abundant light, free time, and a magnifying glass, the Breitling for Bentley GMT BRG offers a welcome alternative to the usual chronograph eye strain.

It’s watchmaker prescribed and pit-crew approved. LeMans drivers would love it.

Under continuous family ownership since 1978, Breitling has made a name for itself as the go-to luxury watchmaker for timepieces of a technical bent. Its association with aviation is the corporate calling card, but the firm’s link to Bentley and its 24 Hours of LeMans-winning motorsport program has forged a modern legacy of ground-bound performance.

Because Bentley is one part mailed fist and one part velvet glove, the Breitling Bentley GMT BRG employs contrast to great effect.

Alternating use of matte and polished finishes keeps the enormous 49mm timepiece from appearing monolithic or insipid. The British Racing Green rubber strap is gorgeous to behold and a pleasure on the wrist; it serves as the ideal visual counterweight to the high polish of the stainless steel case.

Full integration of the steel lugs and rubber strap ends creates a seamless aesthetic continuity, and the attached bright polished steel clasp provides another visual counterweight to the deep tones of the strap. And that double-trigger clasp closes with an imposing thud worthy of a 200-pound Bentley door.

This Breitling for Bentley GMT British Racing Green Limited Edition, one of 1,000, is available from WatchBox with a full set of factory boxes, technical manuals, documentation of provenance, and accessories. In outstanding condition, it presents as new.

Co-branding doesn’t always make sense, but Breitling and Bentley have conducted a decade-plus masterclass in branding done right. The Breitling for Bentley GMT BRG feels like a watch inspired by a car that’s build like a house.

Sure, it’s a mouthful, but Bentleys sit atop the glorious crossroads of success and excess.