Demonstrating the Manufacture’s acute ability to develop instruments for professional use, Breitling has unveiled one of its most intricate horological complications — a split-seconds chronograph movement, otherwise known as a rattrapante, built entirely in-house.
A display of technical prowess, the rattrapante complication features two overlaid central chronograph hands, the second of which can be stopped instantaneously to enable the measurement of a split time, before “catching up” (or rattraper in French) with the first one.
Arguably one of the most difficult watch movements to create, the rattrapante is usually available in very limited releases at extortionate prices. Breitling, however, developed an unprecedented technique with its own split-seconds chronograph movement, by creating a modular-type architecture that contains just 28 parts. This means that not only has Breitling made production and assembly easier with its Navitimer Rattrapante, maintenance is more manageable as well, as only the module as a single block need be removed for servicing or repairs.
This complication is driven by the self-winding Manufacture Breitling Calibre B03, which finds its roots in the Manufacture Breitling Calibre 01, a movement that already boasted such functions as a second time-zone and world-time displays. Evolving from this, the Calibre B03 maintains a generous 70-hour power reserve, operates at 4Hz (28,800 bph), and is water resistant to 30 metres (3 bar). Like all Breitling movements, the B03 is chronometer-certified by COSC (the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute), guaranteeing the international standard of its precision and reliability.
As the vehicle for this unparalleled engine, Breitling chose its acclaimed Navitimer. Paired with a substantial 45mm case, this watch sports Breitling’s exclusive Panamerican Bronze dial that beautifully complements the timepiece’s polished hour, minute, and split-seconds hands, as well as the faceted indexes and indicator dials. A bidirectional, slide rule inner bezel in off-white completes the watch’s classic pilot look and, paired with a host of tachymeter scales, enables the computation of the complex mathematical formulae that this instrument was designed for.
Showcasing Breitling’s attention to fine detail, the Navitimer Rattrapante splits the Manufacture’s “B” logo and anchor symbol between the watch’s two seconds hands — the “B” appears on the red chronograph hand while the anchor is displayed on the split-seconds hand. Thus, the brand’s signature pair is divided when the split-seconds hand is stopped and is made whole when the hands are brought together once again. A pushpiece housed in the watch’s crown at 3 o’clock allows the wearer to control the split-seconds hand to complete the necessary timing exercises.
High-complication aficionados will appreciate the transparent crystal caseback on the Navitimer Rattrapante 18k Red Gold Limited Edition, allowing the wearer to admire the movement within, while the stainless steel version has a solid steel caseback adorned with a scale that facilitates conversion between Celsius and Fahrenheit. Completing the look of this innovative, timepiece is a crocodile leather or eye catching Navitimer bracelet with folding clasp.
Considering the major technical breakthrough housed within this watch, at $37,020, for the Breitling Navitimer Rattrapante 18k Red Gold Limited Edition or $14,390 in stainless steel is a solid investment at an extremely competitive price.
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