he 1960s was a decade of experimentation, fun, freedom, and energy. Whether cruising on a motorcycle or revving up a sports car, living life at full speed was the order of the day. Third-generation founder Willy Breitling felt this change of pace and set out to design an unconventional chronograph that captured the verve of the era. He called it the Top Time.
“The Top Time represented a break from traditional watch design for a generation that was breaking with convention in every way,” says Breitling CEO Georges Kern. “We are going after that sense of freedom and fun with the 1960s-inspired Top Time Classic Cars collection, and are thrilled to once again partner with Ford to introduce the new Thunderbird model, along with updated versions of the Ford Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette, and Shelby Cobra chronographs.”
A best-selling collection in 2021, Top Time Classic Cars proved such a success, Breitling had no choice but to bring it back – this time with even more throttle.
From the start, the Top Time was all about action, and it became a fast favorite among motor enthusiasts and the fashion set. One of the first chronographs that was equally sought after by both men and women, its bold, graphic designs took over magazines and the silver screen (the world’s favorite spy, James Bond, even wore an iteration in the 1965 movie Thunderball). That spirited tradition continues today with Breitling partnering with some of the coolest names in wheels to create its Top Time designs – brands like Deus Ex Machina and Triumph Motorcycles for bikes, Ford Thunderbird and Mustang, Chevrolet Corvette, and Shelby Cobra for cars.
The updated Classic Cars collection now includes the Ford Thunderbird model with a red strap and clean white dial that draws the eye to the teal Thunderbird logo and red chronograph hands. The four watches feature the colors and emblems of their 1950s and 1960s sports car counterparts, and now all come with a brag-worthy new engine under the hood: the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01.
This exceptional manufacture movement, whose refined mechanics are visible through the open sapphire-crystal caseback, provides an approximately 70-hour power reserve and a 5-year warranty. First released in 2009, the Breitling 01 Caliber is one of the most highly regarded chronograph movements in the industry, designed for maximum precision, reliability, and functionality. As with all of Breitling’s mechanical calibers, each one has achieved the rigorous COSC certification. And as a manufacture movement, it must also pass a gruelling series of in-house shock, winding, and pusher tests. To house the caliber, the Top Time case has been enhanced and now provides an increased water resistance of 100 m (10 bar).
Design elements include the perforated leather racing strap, speed-measuring tachymeter scale, and contrasting “squircle” (not quite square, not quite round) subdials that are evocative of vintage dashboard gauges. And just like its style-driven 1960s predecessor, the Top Time’s 41-mm stainless-steel case is a comfortable size for car and watch lovers of all stripes.
- Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01
- Diameter: 30 millimeters
- Depth: 7.2 millimeters
- Winder: self-winding mechanical, bidirectional with ball bearing
- Power reserve: approximately 70 hours
- Number of components: 336
- Balance frequency: 28,800 a/h or 4 hertz
- Chronograph: column-wheel, vertical clutch, 1/4th second, 30-minute and 12-hour totalizers
- Display: hour, minute, second
- Certification: COSC-certified
- Material stainless steel
- Diameter 41 millimeters
- Thickness 13.8 millimeters
- Height 50.36 millimeters
- Water resistance: up to 10 bar (100 meters)
- Glass: cambered sapphire, glare-proofed on both sides
- Case back: screwed steel, sapphire crystal
- Crown: non-screw-locked, two gaskets
- Bezel: fixed
- White with tone-on-tone chronograph counters
- Super-LumiNova® luminescent hour markers, hour and minute hands
- Red calfskin leather strap with a folding buckle (20/18 mm) or stainless-steel mesh bracelet with a butterfly clasp