(This article by Roberta Naas first appeared on her column on Forbes.com.)
With a past inextricably tied to the worlds of aviation and automotive, Breitling naturally produces timepieces that reflect that rich heritage. The Top Time Classic Cars series of watches inspired by the great American sports cars is the perfect example. Now, the brand unveils the Top Time B01 Ford Thunderbird watch, adding it to the Classic Cars collection – all of which were inspired by watches Willy Breitling created in the 1960’s when American sports cars were becoming a cult and significant part of culture. Today, Breitling partners with Ford for the second time to introduce the new Top Time B01 Ford Thunderbird watch. It also revs things up with the other three watches in the series.
The Top Time B01 Ford Thunderbird model making its debut today boasts a red strap and a crisp white dial with the teal Thunderbird logo on it and red chronograph hands. The watch is powered by the brand’s in-house-made mechanical B01 caliber wit h70 hours of power reserve. The chronograph movement, which is visible via a sapphire crystal case back, is a COSC-certified chronometer that has been tested and passed a series of rigorous test for shock resistance, temperature and pressure resistance and more. The logo of the Ford Thunderbird is also etched on the sapphire case back.
In a move to become more accessible, Breitling has also issued its other three classic muscle cars, the Chevrolet Corvette, the Shelby Cobra and the Ford Mustang in non-limited editions. They are now part of the core line. Additionally, Breitling equips all of the Classic Car Top Time watches with its more powerful B01 engine under the hood. The 41mm stainless steel cases have been improved and are now water resistant to 100 meters and all of the Top Time Classic Car watches now boast sapphire case backs for viewing of the movement. That case back is etched with the car logo on it.
Each of the other Top Time Classic Car watches are inspired by the colors of the cars in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. The leather straps – brown in color for all but the Thunderbird — also now feature a racing inspired design with perforations akin to driving gloves and with contrast color stitching. Each of the watches is also available with a stainless steel Milanese mesh bracelet instead. For all models, as well, the tachymeter for measuring speed is enhanced with bold red and orange motifs. And the subsidiary dials of the chronograph recall vintage dashboard gauges.
As mentioned, the new Ford Thunderbird watch was inspired by the first cars released in 1954 and boast a red strap and white dial. The Ford Mustang, inspired by the cars built in 1964-1974 features a green dial. The Chevrolet Corvette is inspired by the 1959 racing model prototype and has a rich red dial, while the Shelby Cobra created and introduced by Carrol Shelby in 1962 is perhaps the most eye-catching thanks to the brand’s signature Cobra blue dial. All watches have Super-LumiNova hands and markers. The strap versions retail for $9,600 and mesh bracelet models sell for $10,200.