After the debut of Breitling’s new Premier Chronograph – based on the vintage Premier from the company’s archives – late last year, the Grenchen-based watchmaker subsequently launched a Bentley version. This year Breitling followed up with another special version, the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 “Norton” Edition, which highlights their partnership with the British motorcycle manufacturer, Norton.
All contemporary versions of the Premier Chronograph to date come in a 42 mm x 13.65 mm case and are powered by Breitling’s in-house caliber B01 automatic 4Hz chronograph movement with 41 jewels and 70-hours of power reserve.
The case is stainless steel and features a distinctive Norton logo engraved on a plate (which is secured with two screws) on the left side of the case, just as it’s engraved on the side of the engine of the Norton Commando 961 Cafe Racer MK II Breitling Limited Edition Motorcycle (pictured). The bike is currently on display at Breitling’s Manhattan boutique, located at 575 Madison Avenue (in Midtown at the corner of Madison and 57th).
In addition to the Norton logo, the dial has a so-called “reverse panda” dial (white on black), and is combined with unique 18K red gold plated hands and applied Arabic numerals and indices. The sapphire screw-in caseback is laser inscribed with the Norton motorcycle motif and logo. The dial is protected by a boxed domed sapphire crystal. Setting and winding are controlled by a push-in crown protected with two gaskets. The water-resistance rating is 100 meters.
The Premier B01 Chronograph 42 “Norton” Edition (Ref. AB0118A21B1X1) is not a limited edition (just limited in production) and comes with what Breitling refers to as a raw brown leather strap (light brown), with two-stitch cream-colored contrast threading, or the stainless-steel bracelet Navitimer bracelet (22 mm interlug width). The watch weighs 100 grams without the strap, which is not much more with the leather strap, although with a stainless steel bracelet the weight goes up considerably.
Shorter, more tapered lugs and a larger case than the 1940s Premier models give the watch a different look than you might expect from something that’s vintage-inspired. Both the old and the new Premiers have a thin, fixed, stepped bezel although the lugs are smooth, not stepped, on the modern version. Ultimately, the watch wears comfortably and has a relatively large wrist presence due to the thin bezel, short tapered lugs, and 42 mm diameter. The proportional perception likely varies depending on the color tachymeter scale on the outer edge of the dial. Personally, I think this watch is best for those with thicker wrists who want a vintage style watch that’s not tiny looking like something 36 or 38 mm in diameter would be.
The retail price is $8,500 on a strap and $8,800 on a steel bracelet.
Learn more at Breitling.