Breitling Revives the Hand-Wind Split-Seconds Chronograph

With the Premier Heritage Duograph.

Best known for its chronographs – especially those for pilots – Breitling now ups the ante with the Premier Heritage Duograph that just debuted alongside the new Premier Heritage chronographs. Named after the split-seconds chronograph Breitling produced during the 1940s to 1960s, the new Duograph is Breitling’s first hand-wind split-seconds chronograph powered by an in-house movement (it did debut an automatic split-seconds in 2017).

Capable of recording two elapsed time simultaneously, the split-seconds is also known as a rattrapante – derived from rattraper, French for “catching up” – and was historically Breitling’s most expensive chronograph due to its complexity. The B15 in the new Duograph simplifies the construction of the split-seconds mechanism, resulting in a surprisingly affordable watch, with the steel version priced at about US$10,000.

Initial thoughts

Alongside with the release of the Datora, the Duograph is proof that Breitling is inching towards more complicated chronographs, which is a good progression for the brand. Breitling has a storied history with chronographs, and the Duograph is a return to form for a brand that was put back on track when Georges Kern, previously the chief executive of IWC, took the wheel and set a new course.

The Premier B15 Duograph in steel

It is important to note that the rattrapante is a challenge to do well, which is why few brands offer the complication, while those that do often price the split-seconds at a steep premium to a standard chronograph. The Duograph starts CHF9500 in steel, making it substantially cheaper than similar offerings from its competitors. That’s thanks to a modular construction – the rattrapante mechanism is a module that sits under the dial, mounted on the B09 base (which is an integrated chronograph movement).

That makes the Duograph the Breitling for me, especially the version in steel. It’s well-priced, despite a technically complex, in-house movement, and has a blue dial that blends past and present – what’s not to like?

Rattrapante

The Breitling Duograph will be available in two variants, at least for now.

The first is a steel model that features a radially brushed blue dial with polished, applied Arabic numerals that give the watch a contemporary look. However, the vintage inspiration is evident in the syringe hands, as well as a domed sapphire crystal that mimics the look of acrylic crystals found on vintage watches. In addition, the registers are recessed and stamped with a concentric patternproviding the dial with some visual texture.

The Duograph can also be had in an 18k red gold case that features a black dial with gold numerals. Undoubtedly the more formal of the two, the gold Duograph brings to mind a 1950s chronograph with a “gilt” dial – not a bad look at all and perhaps an option for black-tie wristwatch, notwithstanding the 42 mm case.

Beating inside the Duograph is the new B15 that’s manufactured entirely in-house by Breitling. It is essentially the B09 hand-wind chronograph movement combined with a split-seconds module that resides under the dial. As a result, the view from the back is identical to that of the standard, hand-wind chronograph movement.

The B15 is also the manual-winding variant of the B03 automatic split-seconds, and boasts an above-average power reserve of 70 hours and is COSC-certified.

Like all of Breitling’s in-house chronograph movements, the B15 is equipped with both a column-wheel and a vertical clutch.


Key facts and price

Breitling Premier Heritage Duograph
Ref. AB1510171C1P1 (steel)
Ref. RB1510251B1P1 (gold)

Diameter: 42 mm
Height: 15.35 mm
Material: Steel or 18k red gold
Crystal: Sapphire
Water resistance: 100 m

Movement: Caliber B15
Functions: Split-second chronograph, column-wheel, vertical clutch, 1/4th second, 30-minute counter
Winding: Manual-winding
Frequency: 28,800 beats per hour (4 Hz)
Power reserve: 70 hours

Strap: Alligator leather strap with folding clasp

Availability: From Breitling’s online store, boutiques, and authorised retailers
Price:
Steel – US$10,250; S$13,950
Red gold – US$22,850; S$28,950

For more information, visit Breitling.com


 

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