From commercial to military and all of the enthusiasts in-between, Breitling has spent many years cultivating a close and valuable relationship with the world of aviation. Earning a reputation like Breitling's requires a hands-on approach to connect the Breitling name with aviation outfits all over the world.
It is with this in mind that Breitling recently announced a special edition of their Chronomat 44 to commemorate their partnership with the Frecce Tricolori (the Tricolor Arrows). Essentially, the Italian Air Force's equivalent of the Blue Angels, the Frecce Tricolori are a demonstration and aeronautics team whose relationship with Breitling dates back to the mid-80's, when they chose Breitling as their official watch supplier.
Breitling worked with the Frecce Tricolori to produce a purpose-built pilot's chronograph and designed the watch that would, just a year later, become the Breitling Chronomat, which is now one of the most recognizable names in their product line up. This special version, dubbed the Breitling Chronomat 44 Frecce Tricolori, is essentially a standard Chronomat 44 with a redesigned dial that incorporates the Frecce Tricolori logo and a script displaying "P.A.N Frecce Tricolori" (P.A.N stands for - Pattuglia Acrobatica Nazionale).
The Chronomat 44 is built around a 44mm steel case with a unidirectional bezel and a screw down crown and pushers. Being one of Breitling's flagship models, the Chronomat 44 is powered by their in-house Breitling Caliber 01 chronograph movement which employs some 47 jewels, operates at 28,800 vph, and boasts a power reserve in excess of 70 hours. This attractive Breitling's sporting intentions are reinforced with 500 meters worth of water resistance and a sapphire crystal with a dual-sided anti-reflective treatment.
I really like the look of this Frecce Tricolori special edition. The large hands, markers and bezel give the Chronomat a diver-like appeal and the brushed case avoids the rather flashy vibe that often characterizes much of Breitling's modern styling. The chronograph is pilot-ready as well, offering central seconds with 1/4th seconds resolution backed by both a 30 minute and a 12 hour totalizer. Lastly, there is a date feature with a dial-matched white-on-black design between the four and five o'clock markers.
Breitling will be making 1000 units of the Chronomat 44 Frecce Tricolori, and it may be the Chronomat 44 version to have. Not only does the Tricolori sport a handsome brushed finish case, but Breitling has also opted to remove the square design that sits center-dial on other Chronomat versions. I've never liked that square design and I think the Tricolori special edition is improved in its absence.
Carrying a retail price of $9,400 USD, the Chronomat 44 Frecce Tricolori represents a considerable jump in price over basic Chronomat models. While far from the most expensive luxury item to carry the Tricolori colors, the Breitling Chronomat 44 Frecce Tricolori is an attractive and exclusive timepiece for those who would like to commemorate the 29 year relationship between Breitling and the Frecce Tricolori flight team.