Breitling and Triumph give watch lovers a chronograph with rebellious retro vibes
Breitling is stepping up its retro Top Time collection with a new collaboration with Triumph, the British motorcycle brand. The Top Time Triumph ($5,500) captures the freewheeling spirit of the 1960s, when a British subculture arose around “café racers”, sleek custom motorcycles whose owners met in cafes along highways for socializing and planning street races.
“This collaboration was born out of a shared philosophy of bold and original design,” Triumph CEO Nick Bloor said in a press release. “The Top Time Triumph brings together this uncompromising style and craftsmanship.”
Top Time fans will recognize the distinctive design of the brushed ice blue dial, nicknamed “Zorro” because twin triangles fan out from the center like the swashbuckling character’s mask (or bow tie). Rather than Zorro’s typical black and white color scheme, the Triumph model makes the design more subtle with varying shades of blue against which the black “circle” shaped counters and Breitling and Triumph logos at 12 and 6 o’clock really pop. The designated blue hue is a nod to a blue 1951 Triumph Thunderbird 6T and a Breitling Top Time Ref. 815 from the 1970s.
Powered by Breitling’s Caliber 23, a COSC-certified chronometer with an approximate 48-hour power reserve, the 41mm stainless steel Top Time Triumph features retro mushroom-style pushers for easy control of stop functions -start-reset of the chronograph. The easy-to-read black and white tachymeter scale allows the wearer to make speed calculations, and that racing spirit is also expressed with a black perforated calfskin strap with contrast stitching. In a final nod to gearheads, the solid caseback is etched with a detailed design sketch of Triumph’s parallel-twin engine.
Meanwhile, Triumph is launching 270 co-branded Speed Twin Breitling Limited Edition motorcycles (from US$18,300). Bikes echo watches with a polychromatic blue color scheme inspired by a Triumph that appeared in the 1953 biker movie starring Marlon Brando
The wild. The aluminum clutch and alternator have a dark anodized finish with a machined Breitling logo, and the black leather seat hints at the watch strap with contrasting gray stitching and an embroidered Breitling “B” emblem. Breitling co-designed the motorcycle speed and rpm gauges in line with the aesthetics of the Top Time Triumph dial.
Buyers of the bike have the option of pairing it with a special owner’s edition Top Time Triumph ($5,700) featuring a sunburst dial and caseback engraved with their bike’s number.
The original Top Time Chronograph emerged during the heyday of motor racing in the mid-1960s, targeting “young active professionals” with its sporty, modern design and bold proportions. The new Triumph model follows last fall’s Top Times co-branded trio of classic car models, Shelby Cobra, Ford Mustang and Chevrolet Corvette.
“Triumph’s heritage and modern-retro aesthetic are just two of the many things we have in common,” said Breitling CEO Georges Kern in the press release. “Their blend of tradition and technology is completely in tune with what we do.”