Despite its reputation as a leading maker of aviation watches, Breitling’s archive is full of examples of the brand’s creativity in other genres, from racing chronographs to dive watches. In the 1960s, for example, they created the Top Time, an unconventional chronograph inspired by the bourgeoning culture of café racers. The brainchild of the brand’s then-president Willy Breitling, the Top Time was a thoroughly modern watch designed to appeal to a new generation of young and active professionals. With its bold proportions and “Zorro” dial with four distinct quadrants, it was an immediate success and remains popular with collectors today — particularly since Breitling began adding re-editions of the Top Time to its modern lineup.
The newest of these is the Top Time Triumph, which pays tribute to both the Top Time watches of the early 1960s and Breitling’s newly minted partnership with Triumph. Oh, and did we mention there’s a motorcycle too? Well, there is, and it’s full of details that will speak to anyone who loves classic bikes and classic watches.
The Breitling Top Time Triumph is a stainless steel sports watch with a 41mm case (which the brand says makes it suitable for both men and women), and a racing-themed calfskin leather strap with a folding buckle. The watch is powered by Breitling’s Calibre 23 automatic chronograph movement which has a 48-hour power reserve and is COSC-certified ensuring superior accuracy and durability. In addition to these bona-fides, what sets this watch apart from other Top Times in the Breitling catalogue is its brushed ice blue dial, which references a rare Breitling Top Time Ref. 815 from the 1970s as well as a blue Triumph Thunderbird 6T from 1951. Priced at $6,350, it’s now available for pre-order via Breitling’s Canadian e-store, with the bonus of a complimentary Triumph book while supplies last.
“Triumph’s heritage and modern-retro aesthetic are just two of the many things we have in common,” says Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling. “Their blending of tradition with technology is completely in sync with what we do.” Making the most of these synergies, the other half of this collab is a limited-edition Triumph motorcycle, the $21,200 US Triumph Speed Twin Breitling Limited Edition. Painted in polychromatic blue, a colour scheme that nods to the infamous Triumph seen in the 1953 Marlon Brando movie The Wild One, the bike is full of details that watch-loving riders will appreciate. From speed and RPM gauges that take styling cues from the Top Time Triumph dial, to a billet-machined aluminum clutch with a dark anodized finish, and a perforated black leather featuring an embroidered Breitling “B,” Triumph took every opportunity to create aesthetic links between the bike and the watch. And should you be lucky enough to snag one of the 270 examples Triumph is producing, you’ll also have the opportunity to purchase a limited-edition Triumph Top Time with the bike’s edition number engraved on the back.