In 1984 when Breitling had its 100th Anniversary year the Breitling Chronomat Airborne Chronograph replica watch which had been designed for the Frecce Tricolori became part of the brand’s celebrations in the form of the flagship Chronomat model.
Perhaps it comes as no surprise that Ernest Schneider could interpret the requirements of the Italian flying aces, because as a qualified pilot himself he understood the need for high legibility, functionality and ease of use while at the controls.
2014 sees the 30th Anniversary of the Chronomat and it will be honoured with a special series release, the nice Swiss fake Breitling Chronomat Airborne, styled to pay tribute to Breitling’s affiliation with the Italian flight squadron.
30 years is, even in watchmaking terms, a long time and naturally the model has been updated over that time period but the improvements have remained faithful to the character of the original edition. When in 2009 Breitling singled out the Chronomat as the first model in their portfolio to receive their new Manufacture calibres, it demonstrated the brand’s commitment to the collection.
A handsome face then, but what Breitling really excel at is the usefulness of their watches under extreme conditions and the new Chronomat Airborne models all feature four distinctive raised tabs on their rotating bezels for flight timing, functional even when wearing pilot’s gloves.
So often in life, design perfection can only be achieved by seeking advice and input from the experts. When the Italian airforce aerobatics team issued a tender for their first official watch, Ernest Schneider, who had purchased the Breitling trade name and stock from Willy Breitling before his death, consulted with the squadron members who would be using the requisite timepiece – a fortuitous move, because in 1983 his design became the mens Breitling copy watch of choice for the Frecce Tricolori.