Breitling introduces the  new Chronomat B01 42, complete with a brand-new Rouleaux bracelet!

Using the hashtag #BringBackTheRouleaux, we've long been advocating the return of the Rouleaux bracelet. So when the first hints of the return of this icon were dropped, we couldn't be happier. And now it's here - with an entirely new Chronomat no less!

The Breitling Chronomat as we know it today was introduced in 1984. It was the first Breitling to sport the so-called rider tabs on the bezel, a feature that would become near synonymous with the brand in  years to come. As far as I know it was also the first Breitling to be fitted with the Rouleaux -or Bullet- bracelet, a rather unique bracelet that appears to consist of horizontal bars. Over the years the Chronomat evolved and evolved, and countless variations and sub families were introduced. The iconic Rouleaux bracelet was sadly discontinued somewhere along the line.

Today Breitling introduced an entirely new Chronomat for 2020. Not at BaselWorld, not at a Breitling Summit or Roadshow, but purely digital, via a Summit Webcast, as dictated by the current COVID-19 situation in which we find ourselves. Many brands have put off releases entirely; Breitling however choose to move forward, providing some much-needed distraction, also using the uplifting hashtag #WeWillAlwaysBeYourSmile.

The 2020 Breitling Chronomat is clearly inspired by the Chronomat of the 1980's. It is however not a retro, throwback design - rather it uses the design codes set by the 1984 original in an resolutely contemporary fashion. Compared to earlier generations, the case has sleeker lines with more pronounced edges and bevels. The rider tabs are of course present; not integrated such as on the previous version, but as separate, interchangeable parts as was the original concept behind them. Inside ticks Breitling's in-house caliber B01 movement, which can be admired through the display back.

The re-introduction of the Rouleaux bracelet is almost as significant as the watch itself, particularly for fans such as myself. Simply put, it's a work of art. Solid, machined chunks of metal work together in tight formation, and wrap around the wrist in sublime comfort. It looks every bit as unique as the originals, with the added bonus of modern manufacturing tolerances which make for a very solid construction. The second link extents to the edge of the lugs, which makes for a semi-integrated look. All in all, it's very clear that the watch and bracelet were designed together, made to work in tight symbiosis. The bracelet very much enhances the qualities of the watch, and the same goes vice versa.

The 2020 Breitling Chronomat 42 B01 comes in a number of different versions in either stainless steel, red gold, or a combination of the two. Notable is also the inclusion of a Bentley version, sporting a British Racing Green dial. As an added bonus there's a limited edition that pays hommage to the Frecce Tricolori, the aerobatic demonstration team of the Italian Air Force that was instrumental in the development of the 1984 Chronomat. My favorite? Probably the stainless steel version with silver 'Panda' dial.

The 2020 Breitling Chronomat B01 42 with Rouleaux bracelet is available for pre-order in our eBoutique. Deliveries are scheduled to begin in May.

View all new 2020 watches in our eBoutique at this link.