* Prices may differ from that shownMore Offers
Breitling watches are really in a class of their own, arguably right up there with the likes of Rolex et al. I bought the Breitling B1 about 6 years ago during a trip to the USA, where at around £1500, it was some £500 to £600 cheaper than purchasing it in the UK.
The B1 is basically the bigger brother of the popular Breitling Aerospace watch. Both have the analogue face with the twin digital LCD dials, but the B1 is somewhat thicker and bulkier overall, meaning it stands quite high off your wrist (tends to take chunks out of door frames etc), and it is also quite heavy for a watch - nearly 100g without the bracelet (about 180g with the bracelet). Part of the depth of the B1 is built up by a 'cool' looking sound chamber on the back which is meant to amplify the alarm sound. I say 'cool' looking because it looks like it was designed to look like the intake section of an aero engine with all the blades fanning out from the centre - especially apt with Breitling themeing many of their watches with an aerospace theme.
Apart from the superb accuracy (+/- 15 secs per year), what else do you get? The twin LCD displays provide just about anything you could want - dual time, date, chronometer, timer, alarms etc, and each is backlit by a green digital readout when you press the side button.
Water resistant to 50m, the B1 also incorporates a highly polished stainless steel case and a matching Breitling watch strap/bracelet. What I also find really impressive is the sapphire glass over the dial. Non-reflective, it really is practically scratchproof. I normally destroy the glass on watches with all sorts of scratches through normal use, but this one has no marks on it at all after 6 years of use.
The only minor point with owning a Breitling is the maintenance. When you buy one, you get the Bakelite case (which is highly collectable), all the books and a maintenance log because you are meant to have periodic maintenance on the watch to keep it in tip top condition and get the log stamped. The battery in the watch is reckoned to last about 3 years through normal use, but not using the alarms etc, I managed to get nearly 5 years out of mine. Then comes the problem of getting the battery replaced. You don't really want to give a £2000+ watch to a market trader or back street jeweller to have the battery replaced, and many other jewellers won't touch it. So you end up having to send it back to Breitling, either direct or through a dealer, to have the battery done, at a cost of something like £70 (if you shop around). Sounds a lot for a battery, but for that price, they do the battery and reseal the watch to ensure water resistance. In addition, they also give it a clean and polish (which seemed to remove a lot of minor scratches) and you also get it back in a special transportation case (another highly collectable item).
Overall, the watch does have a distinct style and quality, and is quite a lot of initial investment to purchase, but it is one of those watches that will last you a lifetime.