Breitling Bentley Flying B Luxury Watch Review (Chronograph, N. 3)
Breitling and Bentley
Several high-end watchmaking companies associate a series of their products with automakers: Jaeger Lecoultre coupled with Aston Martin, Panerai with Ferrari, and Tag Heuer opted for a sponsorship of Formula 1 drivers. While these collaborations presented fans with interesting results, it is Breitling's association with Bentley that seems, of all, to have been dictated by the gods. Take a closer look at the logos of these companies: both feature an uppercase B, signifying the first letter of the respective brand, flanked by two spreading wings. The resemblance is uncanny.
Flying B is, of course, pure luxury. It's as if Bentley have opened the floodgates of luxurious decoration (emphasis on gold and diamonds, but also steel and dial/bezel ornament) in Breitling workshops, rendering the watches independent jewelry as well as time-pieces. Several models, in particular Navitimer Montbrillant, offer gold cases and accents, but nothing in the generally professional and task oriented Superoceans, Avengers, or Airwolfs can match the splendour and richness of the Flying B lustre.
Movement matches the materials in elaboration: the original model (Chronograph and N. 3 exhibit a more conventional mechanism) features a quite rare jumping hours digital display, with a separate analog hand indicating the minutes. Later models return to classic Roman numerals based dials.
Even for seasoned Breitling enthusiasts the rectangular case of the Flying B watch might come as a shock. After all, the Swiss watchmaker is all about the function and utility – and the perfect round shape of its timers guarantees the most effortless, often immediate legibility and operation. In many professional models it's simply a must.
But nothing is “a must” when driving a Bentley, or wearing a Breitling Bentley watch... And the elongated form emphasizes the leisurely tempo of luxury.
Chronograph Flying B retains the elaborate knurled motif covering parts of the dial, but lets go of the jumping hours display – it relies on a more traditional mechanism, and subsequently projects a more reserved and traditional character.
This aesthetic is echoed conceptually: as if time becomes a resource to be carefully spent, the watch carries a chrono function, which allows to micro-manage time, and consequently save it. It's an important adjustment made towards core Breitling values.