November 2012

Breitling has introduced its legendary aviation teams to China. Both the Breitling Jet Team and the Breitling Wingwalkers took part in the 9th China International Aviation & Aerospace Exhibition (Airshow China 2012). Breitling is the official timekeeper of the event of which this year’s edition was held in Zhuhai, Guangdong, from November 13th to 18th. The breathtaking performances of the teams at the Airshow were one of the highlights of the “Breitling Dragon Tour”.

The highly experienced pilots of the Breitling Jet Team flew seven L-39C Albatros jets in formation less than 3 m (10 ft) apart and at speeds of up to 700 km/h (435 mph), performing impressive sequences of synchronized rolls, loops, and crossovers. This dazzling show vividly reflected the precision, speed and courage of these ultimate professionals.

Offering a contrasting display, the Breitling Wingwalkers performed an elegant and unique routine for the Chinese crowds below. Standing on top of the two open cockpit Stearman biplanes, the girls endured speeds of up to 240 km/h (150 mph) and forces up to 4G during their 20-minute performance.

“It has been our dream to bring the Breitling teams to China, so that the Chinese people can experience firsthand the longstanding relationship between Breitling and aviation. Today, I feel very proud to see this dream come true”, said David Reid, President of Breitling Greater China.

A long-time mini-grail of mine was a Seiko Spring Drive. At first when I saw the Spring Drive watch, I wasn’t too interested. While I was in admiration of the state-of-the-art movement and the perfectly smooth sweeping second hand, I was still hung up on having an automatic movement that didn’t have any electronics in it. Over time, as my appreciate of fine timepieces has matured, I have come to grow quite fond of the Seiko Spring Drive and the qualities that set it apart… the more subtle nuances of what the Spring Drive truly represents.

The Spring Drive endowed watch that I purchased is a Seiko Ananta GMT Spring Drive, which is not from their highest-end Grand Seiko line, but from their line that is just under the Grand Seiko line. A source tells me that Spring Drives are going to be discontinued from all but the Grand Seiko’s now, in order to elevate their standard and maintain exclusivity. This Ananta Spring Drive retails at $4,300US, which is one of the more affordable Spring Drives on the market.

My Ananta Spring Drive features the silver/white dial with very beautifully polished and applied markers. The markers have a iridescence to them, which almost has a pearl-like effect. This finish is also present on the movement, which I’ll show below.

Bezel is a polished PVD-coated stainless steel with painted white GMT Arabics. The bezel is fixed so cannot be adjusted for a quick timezone change. Case is a very healthy 46mm in diameter, and the watch wears like every bit of it and more. The crown does not screw down, but can be used to wind up the movement – which you can see as the power reserve meter moves while you wind.

Note the complex brushed pvd, polished pvd, brushed and polished stainless finish of the case with multimple articulations and facets. It is a beautifully crafted case and immediately speaks to the quality and attention to detail that Seiko has put into this timepiece.

Another shot of the other side of the case, just to show how clean and polished the watch looks. It is very refined, but also very beefy. I couldn’t find a spec on the thickness, but I tried to measure and it looks to be about 15mm thick. The slightly curved back really sits well on the wrist so it works well even with smaller wrists.

Here’s another head-on shot that shows off that iridescence of the markers. Notice the luminous hands and small lume dots above the markers on the chapter ring. Lume is very good on this watch. The power reserve indicator is located at 7 o’clock, and the only odd thing I find about it is that the arrow points down on a full charge, not upwards. The dial is beautiful, and also has a slight iridescence to it on the surface of the silver.

And there it is, the heart of the watch. The Seiko Spring Drive Caliber 5R66, which is a beautiful sight to behold. This is an immaculately decorated movement from Seiko, and the level of finish surpasses any Swiss watch I have ever seen in this price range. The circular graining decorationg on the rotor and bridges is immaculate, and most if not all the visible screws and cogs are fully polished. That doesn’t count the fact that this watch is mechanical while still being much more technologically advanced than other similarly priced watches. The movement is simply outstanding.

The GMT Hand also operates the way a GMT hand should, like a few select others such as Rolex, Omega, Panerai. This means the main hand increments in 1 hour notches and the date adjusts with it rather than the GMT hand being the one that moves in the 1 hour increments. This allows much easier adjustment of the local time when you are travelling.

Here’s the wrist shot on my 6.75″ wrist. One of the things I really love about the Ananta’s styling is that they are uniquely Japanese in their look, and won’t get mistaken for a European styled watch. I can’t really explain what I mean by that aside from when I wear it, I can tell it distinctly doesn’t have a European or American style to it possibly due to its design heritage being patterned after the Japanese Katana Sword. It is very uniquely Seiko, and beautiful in that respect. Well Done Seiko. While the Ananta’s bold styling isn’t for everyone, it is for me, and the Spring Drive makes the deal that much sweeter.

Movement: Caliber 5R66, 30 jewels, 296 parts
Complications: GMT hand, Power reserve indicator
Power reserve: 72 hours
Crystal: Sapphire AR Coating Front, Sapphire Back.
Water Resistance: 100 metes water resistant
Diameter: 46mm

Check out the Ananta video from Seiko below that shows some of the Ananta’s features and also the Spring Drive.

Seiko Ananta Video:

From September 1st, 2012 through March 31, 2013 Fortis is having a contest to win a parabolic flight through space! To win, just submit your ideas or passions about space travel through artistic expression in the first ever Zero-G Space Art Contest! Going to space would be pretty cool, but I’m not really an artiste. Perhaps some of the Breitling Blog readers will find this interesting if you haven’t seen it already?

From Fortis:

“After 100 Years of Going Where No Watch Has Gone Before Fortis Wanted to Give Their Fans the Same Opportunity”

“The winner of this unique contest will have a once in a lifetime opportunity to leave planet earth and experience the incomparable feeling of weightlessness on board a special parabolic aircraft flight that simulates the sensations of orbital flight. The lucky winner will accompany scientists from the German Sport University of Cologne on board a specially equipped Zero-G aircraft as they explore the sensations of weightlessness. The winner of this unique contest will also be equipped with the same Fortis B-42 Official Cosmonauts Chronograph worn by astronauts on the International Space Station.

Anyone over the age of 18 can enter the Fortis Zero-G Space Art Contest by submitting their original artwork or videos to the Fortis Space Art Gallery. Winners will be determined by a vote of the online community. Get your friends to vote for your entry, because the entry with the most votes wins. There is even a prize for voting, since everyone who votes in this unique contest will be entered in a special drawing to win a second Fortis B-42 Official Cosmonauts Chronograph. The more votes your entry receives, the closer you are to a weightless parabolic flight on board the Zero-G aircraft.

Almost any original drawing, photo, painting or video related to your thoughts and feelings about space is eligible for this special celebration of 100 years of Fortis innovation. Get started now, and you may be in for the ride of your life.”

Breitling has chosen David Beckham as the face of its Transocean Chronograph Unitime worldtimer watch. The new campaign establishes a long-term partnership between the innovative and historic Swiss brand and one of the world’s most celebrated icons.

Through its long-established ties with aviation, the sky has always been the limit for Breitling – as the brand has proved throughout its history by creating a number of travel watches including the famous Unitime in the 1950s and 60s.

In the spring of 2012, it took things to the next level by presenting the Transocean Chronograph Unitime. Equipped with the new Manufacture Breitling Caliber B05 featuring a patented mechanism, this worldtimer chronograph has asserted itself as the ultimate travel watch thanks to its double disk enabling permanent readings of the time in all 24 timezones, and its ultra-user-friendly crown-operated correction system.

One of the world’s most successful sportsmen and style icons, Beckham stars in the Breitling advert featuring a highly evocative visual shot by renowned American photographer Anthony Mandler. On the runway of the Mojave Air & Space Port in California, the striking image shows Beckham standing in front of a private jet wearing his Transocean Chronograph Unitime.

“I’ve always been a long-time admirer of Breitling”, said David Beckham. “As a company they create not only the highest-performance watches but also timeless designs that have inspired generations. It was a natural choice for me to partner with this fantastic brand.”

Breitling has partnered with Govberg Jewelers to present a special limited edition Breitling Chronomat 44 timepiece that finally brings the display back to the Chronomat. The limited edition will be numbered one of 50 pieces, and is targeted at the Breitling Enthusiasts community. I’m a little disappointed that there weren’t any photos of the display back, which is kind of the highlight of the piece. [EDIT: Photos of the caseback have now been provided!]

“Already regarded as a chronograph specialist, Breitling introduced its Caliber 01 in 2009, inducting them into the exclusive circle of manufacturers who design and produce their own chronograph movements. This Chronomat 44 Limited Edition’s sapphire case back affords wearers the ability to admire this high-performance movement, which powers hours, minutes, seconds, date and chronograph functions. It features a 44mm case and a Pilot bracelet in brushed stainless steel, an understated yet handsome alternative to the characteristic high-polish finish found throughout ninety-percent of Breitling’s collection. The dial is constructed in black and charcoal, and the central second hand and chronograph subdial hands are accented in Breitling’s signature yellow. This timepiece was built to ensure extreme sturdiness, and is water resistant to a depth of 500 meters, making it a true ‘Instrument for Professionals.'”

-Case Size & Material: 44mm case in brushed stainless steel with unidirectional rotating ratcheted
bezel and exhibition sapphire case back
-Movement: Self-winding mechanical movement; Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01
-Power Reserve: Over 70 hours
-Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph
-Water Resistant: 500 meters {1,650 feet}
-Strap / Bracelet: Brushed stainless steel Pilot bracelet

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