Breitling Transocean Chronograph
We've previously looked at Breitling’s flagship Chronomat, and we were undecided on whether it was the right direction for Breitling to go. We loved the calibre 01 in-house chronograph movement, but we weren’t so sure about the looks. Well here’s Breitling’s take two, the Transocean Chronograph. I think we’re going to like this one…
Breitling’s intentions for the Transocean Chronograph are made clear with the ‘B’ logo script, which harks back to the vintage Breitling mark. It sets the theme for the whole design, which borrows heavily from an earlier Breitling Transocean from the 1950s. That influence comes through clearly in the shape and style of the case, as well as the design of the dial, which borrows from vintage Breitlings of many different types. The original Transocean actually had wider dauphine hands, but the skinny sword hands picked out by Breitling fit well with the long, thin markers.
The only real letdown is the date; although Breitling hasn’t committed the cardinal sin of using a white date wheel against a black dial, the font does stand out as awkward thanks to its size and style. It’s the only serif font used on the watch, and it’s larger than even the branding itself. A minor gripe, but one that really shouldn’t have been overlooked. It appears to be a trait shared across the whole calibre 01 range.
Talking of the calibre 01 (and as we mentioned in the previous issue), Breitling’s in-house chronograph is a well-specced engine to rival the best in its segment. The sapphire caseback lets you admire the column wheel—a hard-to-make component that allows more precise operation of the chronograph—and a few other levers and wheels, although it doesn’t have the visual appeal of something like Omega’s calibre 1863.
On the wrist, despite the Transocean’s 43mm diameter and not inconsiderable thickness, it wears well, although it would probably be too much for someone with sub 6.5-inch wrists. The relative simplicity of the bezel design and the steeply curved lugs allow the watch to shrink-wrap around the wrist rather than sit on top of it like so many bigger watches do.
Despite that, the closest rival to the Transocean Chronograph isn’t a watch from another maison—it’s one from Breitling’s own stable. Originally marketed as the ladies’ alternative, the Transocean Chronograph 38 does away with the date window, houses a more traditional bi-compax chrono rather than tri-compax (at the loss of the in-house movement) and is almost £1,000 cheaper. Best of all, its 38mm wears extremely well and compliments the vintage stylings almost to perfection.
The choice between the two has actually worked well in Breitling’s favour, giving fans of smaller diameters the option they’ve missed out on for so long. Breitling has, in recent years, erred towards the larger end of the scale, so having a smaller alternative has broadened the market considerably. And you can’t really go wrong with either watch. Both are stunners, on the mesh especially, and very comfortable to boot. We’d even consider the Transocean Chrono a future classic.
Watch Spec | Breitling Transocean Chronograph AB0152
Case: Stainless steel Dimensions: 43mm Crystal: Synthetic sapphire Water Resistance: 100m Movement: Calibre 01, automatic Frequency: 28,800vph Power Reserve: 70 hours Strap: Stainless steel Functions: Time, date, chronograph