Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

New & Noteworthy: The Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

There’s something fishy about the watch industry, of late. We’re not talking about conspiracy or controversy, but rather a trend that seems to keep making the rounds — the ongoing appearance of pinkish, creamy, iridescent watches sporting what’s commonly known as a salmon dial. From Patek Philippe to A. Lange and Söhne to Audemars Piguet, several of the industry’s heavy hitters have hopped into the ring over the last couple of years.  Today we are looking at the Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph — the brand’s contribution to the trend, and a modern piece that clearly draws inspiration from vintage chronographs from the brand’s archive. 

Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph
Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

History

Beginning in the 1940’s Breitling introduced the “Datora” model line, a series of mid-century triple calendar chronographs that helped Breitling to establish their name. Sporty in aesthetics, Breitling’s Datora was the utilitarian alternative to the Patek Philippe chronographs of the 40s and 50’s. With time, the Breitling brand changed ownership several times, but the Triple Calendar Chronograph remained a cornerstone of the collection as a nostalgic revival of the brand’s past legacy. 

In 2021, Breitling revamped their flagship Premier line, incorporating a new Triple Calendar Chrono, the B25, with salmon dial. The model was designed as an outgrowth of the vintage offerings, incorporating many details from the mid-century models into a modern 42mm case diameter with a new automatic winding movement. Salmon dials were popular in the 1900s, and many others patinaed to the salmon coloring with time and light exposure. Thus, while salmon dials are certainly a trend of the present, that trend is directly founded upon a general motion of the industry toward vintage revival across the board. The salmon dials are a mere symptom of this progression. 

Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph
Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

Design Details

The Breitling Premier B25 Datora is riddled with details and refinements to the case and dial. From a topographical perspective, the dial has raised numerals, sunken day and month aperture windows, stepped chronograph registers, and double stepped coaxial date and moonphase. Each subsidiary display is snailed for further texture. Around the exterior of the dial, the tachymeter scale is set on a chapter ring running around the dial, further accentuating the dial’s dished three dimensionality. This watch is 15.3mm thick, but Breitling takes full advantage of this thickness to add visual interest to the dial’s depth in presentation. 

Before getting further into it, it’s only fair to address the elephant in the room. While some may choose to debate this statement, calling this dial a salmon dial is a bit of a stretch. When the watch first launch, many media were quick to jump onto the nomenclature, but even Breitling themselves know better (they refer to it as a copper dial). Color is a spectrum, and always will be, but if we were to side with camp salmon, we’d at the very least qualify it as being farmed salmon rather than any salmon caught in the wild — if you know, you know.

Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph
Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

Above the dial, Breitling has cambered the B25’s sapphire crystal to mimic the appearance of vintage mineral crystals. This allows the piece to take on the visual charm of the vintage references without sacrificing the technical enhancements afforded by the contemporary materials available. That said, its case dimensions will ensure its interpretation as something wholly modern. The case flanks feature grooving as an homage to the art deco references of Breitling, the bottom of each groove polished to contrast with the satin brushing of the case sides. Similarly, the vintage inspired pushers are polished at their facets but brushed on the broad surfaces. The case’s attention to finishing is much more consistent with what would be expected of a higher end piece, which is really attractive to find at this price point.

Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph
Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

The bezel is thin and double faceted to join the lugs, which are rounded off at the sides to remove visual weight. The vintage inspirations continue with the addition of blued hands for the chronograph indications, syringe hands for running time, and a retro-inspired font used throughout the dial. The rich salmon dial is complemented by a dark brown alligator strap and deployant clasp. 

This timepiece is both sporty and dressy. The thickness and general proportions of the case are all quite sizable, suggesting a more robust wearing application, but the leather strap, deployant clasp, and dial appearance/ layout confer a more refined and elegant aesthetic to the design. The piece is thus quite versatile in aesthetic, and on a larger wrist, this piece wouldn’t look out of place in a dress environment. 

Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph
Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

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Inner Workings

Breitling’s caliber 25 powers the B25, and while not as elaborately finished as some of the top-shelf watches we cover on the blog, it still affords many of the mechanical advantages of the higher end chronograph movements on the market. With column wheel action and an oscillating pinion, the caliber 25 provides the tactile experience both expected and required in the luxury watch ecosphere. The caliber 25 is based on the Concepto 2000-RAC-2822 — a modular chronograph caliber that uses an ETA 2892 as its base, and that draws basic architectural inspiration from the extremely popular Valjoux 7750. Breitling partnered with Concepto to develop what became the caliber 25, however its production and finishing is completed in-house by Breitling themselves.

The caliber 25 is chronometer-certified in spite of the large array of complications, and is rhodium plated for resistance to corrosion. Breitling has applied Côtes de Genève to the automatic winding rotor and movement bridges, and perlage is visible on the baseplate.

Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph
Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

Versus the Competition

When considering alternatives to a vintage inspired piece like the Breitling Premier B25, there are several different angles of approach. This could be a particular design or aesthetic from a particular era, or perhaps an interest in the history of a specific brand. In turn, this leads to a host of alternatives that at times are far from being apples-to-apples comparison pieces.

The first example to spring to mind, and one that will set you back a fair bit more than the Breitling is the Vacheron Constantin Cornes De Vache. Like the Breitling, it’s inspiration is tied very close to its 1955 predecessor, however in this case Vacheron stayed a bit more true to the original in proportions. Measuring 38.5mm in diameter and a little over 10mm thick, the sleek manually-wound chronograph could safely pass for a vintage watch when viewed by an untrained eye.

Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph
Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

If one’s search is open to finding an original vintage piece, why not start with the maker of the reissue, right? This Premier Breitling Chronograph is a great example of the original aesthetics of vintage Breitling, coming in at a smaller 37mm in rose gold. Similarly, this Breitling Clamshell Chronograph example features a telemeter scale and beautifully patinaed dial. 

If vintage-inspired aesthetics aren’t a priority and you are looking for a salmon dialed timepiece, there are several modern releases to consider. First, Patek Philippe’s 5172 is a remarkably similar option, albeit without the triple calendar functions of the B25. The piece includes syringe hands, sunken sub registers and Arabic numerals just like the B25, but certainly features a better finished movement and more refined case profile. The lugs are stepped, the movement is manually wound, and the case is a much slimmer 11.45mm. If you are searching for a higher end chronograph to scratch a similar itch for salmon dial and vintage inspiration, this is where you would look.

For a Patek Philippe unicorn with a salmon dial, an extremely rare variant of the 3940 was made for the 175th anniversary of Patek Philippe in preparation for the London Saatchi Gallery exhibition in 2015. The story behind this piece is quite interesting: Patek found a number of new old stock 36mm 3940 cases, and placed salmon dials in them for the exhibition. The resultant exceptionally rare out-birth inherits the smaller case dimension but modern dial layout found on newer Patek perpetual calendars.

Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph
Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

Personality

The Breitling B25 Datora is a piece that would satisfy an array of collectors. Generally, a piece of this stature would be most suitable for those with larger wrist sizes due to the thick case, 42mm diameter, and broad lug profile. Aside from the physical limitations, this piece is very versatile which will make it equally popular in many circles. Also, being a triple calendar chronograph with a sticker price under $10k makes it an easy option for those wanting to make their first “big watch” purchase.

There’s no doubt that the Datora is a modern piece, and as such, the collector that purchases this watch will likely appreciate vintage design but desire a watch that presents in a modern package. Many collectors are concerned about the fragility of vintage watches. Modern reimaginations of classic style satisfy these collectors wonderfully, affording modern luxuries such as sapphire crystals and greater water resistance assurance without sacrificing the aesthetics desired. 

Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph
Breitling Premier B25 Datora Chronograph

Final Thoughts

In the last 30 years, Breitling has undoubtedly gone through a bit of a reinvigoration. Under new leadership, the brand has reassuringly released many references like the B25. Returning to its roots, the Breitling collection is more consistent with the philosophies and designs of the past, coherently illustrating the continuum of the brand ethos into the modern era. 

A great value in its price range, the B25 affords the charm of a high end vintage piece with the modernity of a watch released in 2021. 

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