The Chronomat’s roots go back to 1940, nearly twelve years before the introduction of the famous Navitimer. By this time, Breitling already had an impressive resume - They were responsible for inventing the first chronograph to use multiple pushers for starting/stopping and resetting the hands, and they had supplied Britain’s Royal Airforce with cockpit chronographs throughout WWII. The Chronomat patent was filed by Breitling in 1940 as a sliding watch bezel with demarcations used to easily perform calculations. Considering the original Chronomat watch had a slide rule bezel and a slim case design, the model line has certainly developed into its own over the years, most likely to separate itself from the Navitimer.
One of the factors that makes the Chronomat so unique is that it predates such a popular watch. As well-loved and celebrated as the Navitimer is, there is just something cool about saying, “yes but have you heard of the Chronomat?” and then sharing an interesting story about the lesser-known model. Also, the Chronomat falls somewhere in the sweet spot between being a bare-bones, simple design and an overly complicated pilot’s watch dial. This quality helps the Chronomat wear better in more formal scenarios, and it even cleans up nicely on a leather strap. This will strike a chord with certain collectors.
In the current state of the market, there is a great deal of value when it comes to preowned Breitlings. The Chronomat collection is filled with many different case materials and dial color options, which makes the hunt on the secondary market for “the one” all the more fun. If you are in the market for a Breitling Chronomat, Watchbox’s global inventory is the best place to start your search!
The Chronomat is a pilot’s watch at its core, but the overall sporty design makes it evenly suitable for both land and sea. This modern design is most identifiable by the three-dimensional bezel and distinct onion crown. Water resistance is generally uncommon among aviation pieces, but the thick 44mm steel case and screw-down pushers allow this model to withstand 500m (which is more than many standard dive watches of the day). As its name suggests, this watch is also a chronograph. Especially for a pilot’s watch, the dial is relatively clean and simple. The tri-compax chronograph registers at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock give the dial an overall balanced look.