It’s never easy designing timepieces for ladies, especially when you’re from a traditionally masculine brand such as Breitling. But the new Chronomat ladies collection seems to have cracked the case, succeeding by looking beyond the immediate challenges like product development and brand history, and seeing the bigger picture: its intended audience.
“Our inspiration for this new collection is the Breitling woman herself, as represented in our #squadonamission campaign: a woman of purpose, action, and style who’s at the top of her game,” says CEO Georges Kern who took over the firm in 2017. The ex-IWC chief executive has been credited for brand’s vibrant revamp that saw its most iconic models leaping feet first into the 21st century as they straddle vintage allure with zesty modernity.
Because all too often, luxury watchmakers spend time and money convincing women about quality, details, craftsmanship, gem-setting… all of which are important considerations. Fair enough. But knowing how much time was spent assembling the movement, or how a particular finishing had been applied to the bezel, isn’t what’s going to make us fall in love with the product. All of it can be very impressive, but without anything else to build upon, it’s just minutiae.
“Our inspiration for this new collection is the Breitling woman herself.”—CEO, Georges Kern
Women want to feel emotions when they see a beautiful object—otherwise it’s just another pretty face. Something needs to click in our prefrontal cortexes in order for our brains to fire off the synapses of desire. What is it? Who can say? Which is why Kern’s decision to direct the spotlight away from the product and towards the consumer had been an especially perceptive move.
Along with the new Chronomat 36 and 32, Breitling introduced the Spotlight Squad comprising three of the most influential—and inspirational—leading ladies on screen and on stage: Charlize Theron, Misty Copeland, and Yao Chen.
Known for their incredible talent on both sides of the camera, Theron and Yao are both award-winning actresses who are prolific social activists and advocators of human rights. Copeland, of course, is the ballet prodigy who became the first African-American principle dancer of the American Ballet Theatre. All three women have been featured in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.
Adds Kern, “Who better than Charlize Theron, Misty Copeland, and Yao Chen to turn the spotlight on major global causes as they redefine what it means to be a strong woman? Three leading stars known for being fierce and pushing boundaries. What binds them together is the Spotlight Squad and Breitling’s dedication to change, diversity, and reshaping the world we live in.”
Echoing the tenacity of the Spotlight Squad members, the Breitling Chronomat also pushes boundaries for women timepieces, now designed as a trusty daily companion of women empowerment. Sized down to 36mm (automatic) or 32mm (quartz) from the men’s 42mm and relieved of the chronograph function, it is now far more wearable, elegant, and refined. Yet those four signature notches on the bezel known as rider tabs remain as a nod to the OG Chronomat of the 1980s.
Another retro-chic feature of the new Chronomat is the smooth and slinky rouleaux bracelet which has links that resemble roller bars and a butterfly clasp at the end. Lending a powerful aesthetic to the watch, the rouleaux bracelet is only found on the Breitling Chronomat today and is just as recognisable on the 32mm or the 36mm model.
Rider tabs and rouleaux bracelets aside (these have already been launched with the men’s collection) the Chronomat ladies models flaunt new and exciting dial colours that have totally stolen our hearts. Think sunburst finished mint green or ocean blue on full stainless steel, or copper pink on two-tone steel and red gold. It’s a mashup of sweet girl-next-door meets strong independent woman of the future—indeed, we can be both.