Breitling Professional Watches Review: Emergency, Aerospace, Airwolf, Skyracer, Co-Pilot
Professional, a collection that includes over five different lines of chronograph watches, is the only Breitling department that gives preference to electronic quartz (trademark SuperQuartz). It must be said that despite recent technological leaps, which allowed to develop high precision automatic movements, self-winding mechanisms cannot rival quartz for accuracy. All high-end Swiss watchmakers recognize this fact, and many declare officially that the race for finer mechanical movements is propelled by aesthetic appreciation for the complication, not an unrealistic desire to beat modern electronics.
In situations where aesthetics play a secondary role – for instance, dangerous settings where survival becomes top priority – quartz benefits the wearer more. Breitling take this into account, and equip Emergency, Aerospace, Airwolf, Co-Pilot, and Chronospace timepieces with their own brand of precision quartz calibers. The most immediate result is the addition of LCD screens indicating the functions: countdown timer, alarm, second time zone, minute repeater, and others.
Though not as pure visually, these watches have their own unique appeal – a blend of classic Breitling visuals injected with pragmatic assertiveness.
For purposes of contrast, Breitling paint some of the Emergency watches with bright yellow and orange tones – a move that's also characteristic of professional diver watches. Thin hours and minutes hands pierce the surface; seconds hand is often abandoned to leave the space as void from unnecessary movement as possible. Two black LCD strips to the south of twelve and to the north of six o'clock feed the dial with information.
While the bidirectional bezel (unlike in diver watches) carries a prominent compass scale, the most conspicuous addition, is by far the thick transmitter antenna head protruding from the lower lug. The microtransmitter draws power from a separate source, and will be able to perform its duty even if the rest of the watch has been smashed during an emergency event.
Co-Pilot timepieces feature yet another LCD screen located on the bracelet; this window displays take-off and landing times. The function's unusual placement reflects its infrequent use, yet it's easily noticeable when needed right away.
Aerospace timepieces remove the transmitter (useful only in remote and highly specialized missions) in favor of a smoother appearance. The quartz movement allows to dispense with additional push buttons as well – the chronograph and other functions are controlled by the crown. With a bezel ruled by minutes rather than the intense compass scale, this variant presents a more urban, casual facade.
Airwolf, and its rubber outfitted (bezel and push buttons) spec. ops twin, the Airwolf Raven, take a turn back from the casual tendencies of Aerospace, again towards pure function. Rectangular pushers operate the chrono utility faster; a slide rule echoes that of the Navitimer. Skyracer and Skyracer Raven watches offer a similar package, but with an automatic movement (Breitling 27) instead of quartz.