Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915
Hands-On: Angus Davies gets hands-on with the Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915
This detailed review of the Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915 includes live images, specification and pricing.
A competent chef should be capable of preparing a varied range of dishes, all to a high standard. However, every chef has a ‘signature dish’, that one culinary masterpiece which allows them to shine and which differentiates them from their peers.
In the sphere of horology, Breitling has been demonstrating its watchmaking expertise since 1884. However, since its inception this prestigious Swiss watch company has always been renowned for its chronographs.
In 1915, Breitling created a chronograph which featured a dedicated push-piece, positioned at 2 o’clock, to start / stop / reset the stopwatch function. This ingenuity set Breitling apart from its watchmaking contemporaries. A few years later, in 1923, the Swiss maison unveiled a chronograph featuring an additional push-piece at 4 o’clock, separating the start / stop and reset functions. It is this latter concept which has been copied by legions of other watch brands and has now become de rigueur in the field of horology.
One hundred years later, in 2015, Breitling looked to its past, unveiling the Transocean Chronograph 1915.
The Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915 is a modern-day watch that has been inspired by the innovative timepiece of 1915. It is offered with a Milanese-style bracelet or brown leather strap and is produced in a limited series of 1915 pieces.
The watch’s vintage appearance heightens its desirability and makes it worthy of close examination.
The dial is delivered in ‘mercury silver’ and features a period Breitling logo in stylised text. Plump Arabic numerals proclaim each hour with stylish aplomb. The appearance of the dial proves most engaging and evinces a delightfully aged character.
The baton-style hands are lined with luminescent treatment, articulating time with clear tone. The minute track allows the wearer to read-off the seconds easily. Every 15-minute integer is marked with Arabic numerals.
‘Balance’ and ‘cohesion’ are two words which spring to mind when describing the dial of the Transocean Chronograph 1915. The bi-compax layout masterfully delivers a symmetrical stare. Everything is harmonious and evenly proportioned. The snailing on the subdials impart texture with eye-catching effect.
A date aperture resides at 6 o’clock. It is framed with a stepped aperture and outlined with a slender black border. Each date numeral is displayed avec serifs, reinforcing the nostalgic character of this timepiece. The positioning and scale of the date display ensures ease of read-off.
The total jewel count is proclaimed in the lower portion of the dial, again employing period styling to glorious effect.
Despite, the plethora of details occupying the dial of this watch, nothing inhibits ease of interpretation. Everything is highly legible.
The stainless steel case of the Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915 is highly polished on all surfaces and, as such, evinces a high quotient of boldness.
The case measures 43mm in diameter with a case height of 14.60mm. The lugs sharply taper downwards, according a comfortable union with the wrist.
Breitling has imbued the Transocean Chronograph 1915 with a wonderful vintage ‘vibe’, courtesy of the box glass sapphire crystal. The sapphire crystal resembles an acrylic glass of yesteryear, but proffers greater robustness.
A pane of sapphire crystal also graces the dorsal flank of the case, allowing sight of the hand-wound movement within.
While the push-piece on the original 1915 watch was round, Breitling has chosen a rectangular form for this modern-day version. The rectangular push-piece at 2 o’clock arcs outwards and ultimately extends to a noticeable point. The resultant aesthetic is delightful and grants this monopusher chronograph with a distinctive character.
The Manufacture Breitling B14 is a hand-wound movement featuring a double column-wheel chronograph. The frequency of the balance is 28,800 VpH (4Hz) and the movement contains 33 jewels. The power-reserve is a mightily impressive 70 hours (minimum).
Breitling has suffused the movement with beautiful finishing. The centrally positioned bridges are adorned with Côtes de Genève motif, while golden text states the jewel count, place of origin and centenary period.
Breitling has skilfully navigated a route which takes in nostalgic views while embracing modern-day wisdom. The sepia-like character of this watch is carefully paired with contemporary sapphire crystal, a modern-day movement and other neoteric elements.
The dial of the Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915 delivers readability while sympathetically referencing the past. The dial is balanced and cohesive, deftly sidestepping a cynical and confused pastiche. This is a well thought-out horological composition.
While the case is highly polished on all surfaces it does not appear garish. The box glass sapphire crystal charmingly augments the retro appearance of the timepiece, coalescing perfectly with the other vintage-inspired elements presented.
The monopusher has an unusual rectangular profile, projecting from the case with an arc-like trajectory, making it not only attractive to look at and simple to operate.
Once again, Breitling has showcased its ability to create an excellent chronograph. The Manufacture movement and double column-wheel heighten the desirability of this watch. This is an impressive timepiece, demonstrating Breitling’s prowess at making mouthwatering horological dishes.
• Model: Breitling Transocean Chronograph 1915
• Case: Stainless steel; diameter 43mm; height 14.6mm; sapphire crystal to front and exhibition caseback; water resistant to 10 ATM (100 metres).
• Functions: Hours; minutes; small seconds; date; chronograph
• Movement: Breitling B14 (Manufacture); hand-wound movement; frequency 28,800 VpH (4Hz); 33 jewels; power reserve min. 70 hours.
• Strap: Brown leather strap with stainless steel pin buckle
• Price: £7,130 (RRP as at 10.1.2018)