Breitling for Bentley Watches: The ULTIMATE Collector’s Guide
Swiss watch manufacturer Breitling and English automobile manufacturer Bentley recently terminated their exclusive collaboration. This relationship lasted nearly twenty years and was marked by the creation of many watches and limited edition timepieces incorporating elements of the Bentley brand automobiles.
At the same time, Bentley commissioned the Breitling watch company to create clocks exclusively for their dashboards. The first clock appeared in the Continental GT. In retrospect, the relationship seems a match made in heaven as the founder of Breitling, Leon Breitling, was an avid racing fan from the very beginning.
In 1905 he developed and applied for a Swiss patent for his chronograph that was specifically designed to measure the speed of race cars. Even Leon’s grandson Willy drove Bentleys almost exclusively through the 1940s due to their technical excellence and craftsmanship.
The models created by Breitling over this period incorporated prominent features of the Bentley motorcars. Additionally, many of the dials reflected the exact paint colors available on the automobiles they celebrated. According to both companies, this is the longest collaboration ever between a Swiss luxury brand and a luxury car manufacturer.
The History of Breitling for Bentley Watches
The timeline of this collaborative period begins in 2002, culminating with the first Breitling for Bentley watch being presented in 2003. The first product of this partnership was the Bentley Le Mans Limited Edition Chronograph.
In 2003, Breitling also began sponsoring the Team Bentley racing group at the 24 Hours of Le Mans auto race. This marked a return to where the original “Bentley Boys” achieved great success in the late 1920s.
In 2011, Bentley Continental GT Supersports set a new world speed record on ice. This was accomplished on the Baltic Sea. A Bentley driven by Juha Kankkunen wearing a Breitling Bentley Supersports Light Body Watch reached a speed of 205 mph, shattering the world record set four years earlier by Bentley Motorsports.
2014 saw the return of Bentley to motorsport competition in the GT3 category with the Continental GT3. Following numerous top finishes, Breitling launches the Bentley GT3 watch. The watch features a black titanium case and a race car-inspired carbon fiber dial.
That same year, Breitling and Bentley embarked on their most costly and over-the-top collaboration with the introduction of the Breitling clock with Tourbillon offered in the Bentayga SUV. This clock was the priciest item ever incorporated into a Bentley from an outside source.
In 2016, Bentley introduced seven limited edition automobiles at the Seattle Boeing Seafair Airshow. These were known as the Bentley Continental GT Speed Breitling Jet Team Series Limited Edition. They featured two-tone exteriors of onyx and hallmark with Breitling yellow accents reflecting the striking coloring of the 7 aircraft Breitling show-jet team.
2018 saw the unveiling of the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley British Racing Green wristwatch. The timepiece featured a Breitling caliber 01 movement with a unique transparent case back and a metalized Bentley logo.
It also had an engraved plate with “Bentley” inscribed on the watch case hearkening back to the dashboard of the historic 1929 “Blower” Bentley model. In 2019 Bentley celebrated its 100th anniversary of luxury motoring excellence.
For this occasion, Breitling introduced the Centenary Limited edition. This model was available in either stainless steel or 18-carat red gold. The dial is offered in a unique burled wood nodding to the wood inserts in the Continental GT number 9 edition taken from the seat of Sir Tom Birkin’s legendary Bentley “Blower” from 1930.
The Breitling for Bentley Models
There are predominantly ten designs that encompass the collaborative period between Bentley and Breitling. Before elaborating on each of the individual collections, there are various specifications that are common to all the different models.
All have automatic movements and sapphire crystals. They are water-resistant to 100 meters and are all COSC-certified chronometers. Another prominent feature on most models is the knurled bezel or knurled decorative motif reflected on the dial.
This is an homage to the radiator grill and certain dashboard adornments of the Bentley motorcars. Any features distinct to the particular model will be in the following descriptions below.
Breitling for Bentley Flying B Chronograph & Flying B No. 3
The difference between these two models is that the Flying B is slightly larger at 38.5 by 52 mm and has a chronograph movement. The No. 3 case measures 34.5 by 40 mm and does not have the chronograph subdials.
The Breitling for Bentley Flying B ref. A4436512.B873 features a unique black dial with silver subdials. There are also other dial variations, including blue and silver. The Flying B No.3 ref. A1636212.Q551 features a unique bronze dial with a single silver sundial. Both watches are equipped with ETA-based movements modified by Breitling.
The Flying B honors the Bentley winged “B” emblem and features a guilloche knurled inner dial and subdials characteristic of the Bentley automotive radiator grill. The watch cases are cambered rectangular shaped with a beveled crystal. These watches are some of the most beautiful and distinctive dials in the Breitling for Bentley collection.
The Breitling for Bentley B05 Unitime features a GMT complication, making it ideal for globe trotters. The dial features a globe in the center, serving as a backdrop to the three subdials of the chronograph. The dial’s outer ring also has twenty-four different destinations that fall in various time zones.
The particular reference AB0521U4B.C654.78X.A20B.A1 features a patented mechanism along with the double-disc system that makes telling time highly user-friendly. A date window is situated between the four and five o’clock positions.
The watch measures 49mm in diameter, making it one of the largest Breitling for Bentley watches. It has a twenty-four-hour hand, a chronograph function, and a date window, as mentioned earlier. It is powered by Breitling’s B05 caliber and bears the customary Bentley motif knurled bezel.
The Breitling for Bentley Barnato 42 pays homage to Joel Woolf Barnato, the British financier and race car driver who was part of the original Bentley Boys. He won three consecutive Le Mans races from 1928-1930.
His racing partner in each of the races was Bernard Rubin in 1928, driving a Bentley 4.5 liter, Sir Henry “Tim” Birkin in 1929 at the wheel of a Bentley Speed 6, and in 1930 with Glen Kidston racing a Bentley Speed Six (referred to as the Old #1). Barnato went on to invest in Bentley and become its chairman.
The reference M4139024/BB85 features a Breitling 41B caliber with an understated yet elegant dial. Three prominent subdials appear on the dial. In some later depictions, the subdials resemble race car steering wheels. The Knurled bezel surrounds the 42mm Diameter case.
The 6.75 was inspired by the 6.75-liter engine manufactured in the Bentley factory in Crewe, England. This engine is produced exclusively for the Arnage limousine. The watch was created in honor of this perfect blending of performance and tradition.
The watch case of the ref. M4436413.BD27.220S.M20DSA.2 measures 48.7mm in diameter and features the caliber 44b with a chronograph function. A unique characteristic of this watch is the large date window right over the center pinion of the dial.
Other than the Midnight Carbon model, there were several 6.75 designs with cases made from stainless steel, 18-carat yellow gold, and limited edition pieces in 18-carat rose gold.
The Breitling for Bentley Motors is one of the only models that does not display the knurled motif on the bezel. Instead, this series has an engine-turned-bezel finish like that found on a Bentley dashboard. It also has a raised engraving on the case back depicting three legendary Bentley models; the Speed 6, the R Type Continental, and the Continental GT.
The ref. A2536212.L505 features a 48.7mm case with a distinct racing green dial and a date window between the four and five o’clock positions. The watch is powered by the caliber 25B, which features a “30 Second Chronograph function”.
This means that the center hand sweeps once around the dial in 30 seconds instead of the typical 60 seconds. This enables extremely accurate timing to within 1/8th of a second.
The second unique feature of the Breitling for Bentley Motors is the “Variable Tachymeter.” This enables one to measure the average speed of the race car regardless of time elapsed, the distance covered, or the speed reached.
Within the Breitling for Bentley Motors collection, there were also the Motors T watches. These were special editions of the Motors, which came in stainless steel or rose gold cases with black, blue, and white dials.
This limited edition collaborative timepiece was on the wrist of Juha Kankkunen when he broke the world record for speed on ice driving a Bentley Continental GT in 2011, as mentioned before. The Light Body refers to a case made entirely of titanium. In keeping with the lightness mandate, the watch comes with a rubber strap.
The Supersports Light Body measures 49mm in diameter. The dial is striking with two of the models available with either a green(ref. E2736536.BA37.220S) or red (ref. E2736529.BA622.20S) tachymeter outer dial ring.
The timepiece is powered by a caliber 27B automatic movement with a date window at the six o’clock position. The chronograph subdials are set horizontally across the” equator” of the dial. This model also displays the knurled motif on the bezel.
The “GT” in this Breitling for Bentley timepiece stands for Grand Tourer and celebrates the most powerful automobile in the Bentley collection. These watches come with mesmerizing dials that are reminiscent of automobile dashboards, and the Bentley etched on the caseback.
This particular ref.A1336212.K506 comes with a striking red dial and a 44.8mm case diameter, which is smaller than other Breitling for Bentley chronographs. It’s powered by the caliber 13B, an automatic movement with a date complication at the three o’clock position.
There are several other Breitling for Bentley GT references with different dial and sundial colors. There’s also the Breitling for Bentley GT Dark Sapphire ref. XB0613C1C984, a unique limited edition piece with a 48mm case and the caliber 10B.
Finally, there are the Japan Special Edition watches that came with incredible dials, such as the blue with mother of pearl dial on the ref. A133627X/BE63/980A.
This Breitling for Bentley release is a fresh interpretation of the GMT watch. It reflects the Bentley styling in the larger knurled motif bezel and totalizer rims inspired by the automobile’s dashboard.
The ingenious multiple display system displays 24 different international locations representing the twenty-four different time zones. The tapered strap or bracelet gives the watch a distinct and modern appearance. The reference RB043112.G775.757P.R20.D1 comes in a beautiful rose gold case with a cream dial.
The watch is 49mm in diameter and sports the automatic caliber 47B. In addition to the watch’s timekeeping function, it has a twenty-four-hour hand, a chronograph function, and a date window.
The original Bentley Mark VI was produced in the factory in Crewe, England, from 1946-1952. The design of the Mark VI is evident in the knurled bezel reflecting the dashboard controls in the automobile. The dial colors are inspired by the original colors available for the various models, and the case back features the Bentley emblem in relief.
The Breitling for Bentley Mark VI is powered by a caliber 26B automatic movement with a 60-minute totalizer, as evident on the dial. The case measures 42mm and is made of stainless steel with a platinum bezel. The timepiece also features a date window at the sixth position. There are two references to this model, one with a silver (ref. P2636212.G611) and one with a blue (ref. P2536212.Q529) dial.
There are also a few Breitling for Bentley Mark VI references with additional complications, such as a 1461 calendar, a chronograph, or a moon phase. These watches had very similar features to the classic Mark VI but were powered by the caliber B19.
The latest collaboration between Breitling and Bentley produced watches that reflect the styling of the original Breitling Premier watches launched in the 1940s. They are primarily characterized as elegant timepieces with a focus on everyday simplicity.
The most common among the Premier Chronograph watches is the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley Mulliner. The watch draws inspiration from the Convertible Mulliner Edition of the Continental GT and features a stunning white dial with blue subdials.
There’s also the B01 Chronograph 42 Bentley Centenary with a gorgeous brown dial inspired by the dashboard of the “Blower” Bentley that came out in 1929. Both watches feature the same specifications and are powered by the in-house B01 chronograph movement.
Finally, the king of the Premier Chronographs is the B21 Chronograph Tourbillon 42 Bentley. This remarkable timepiece features a 42mm rose gold case and a beautiful green dial. It’s powered by the manufacturer’s caliber B21 and is limited to only 25 pieces.
The collaboration of Breitling and Bentley produced many memorable watches and clocks over their almost two-decade-long partnership. I have assembled a starting point for those interested in these special models.
If you are an admirer of Bentley automobiles or a fan of Breitling watches, the information put forth in this article should serve you well in finding your next timepiece or your next addition to your Breitling for Bentley collection.
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