Breitling has unveiled a new take on the classic split-seconds chronograph with the Duograph Premier B15 Split-Seconds, continuing their legacy of precision timekeeping. As a leading pioneer in split-seconds chronographs since 1915, Breitling’s new Duograph Premier allows the wearer to measure two elapsed times simultaneously – an impressive complication requiring intricate watchmaking expertise.
Overview of the Duograph Premier B15 Split-Seconds
The Duograph name first appeared in the 1930s for Breitling’s dual-register chronographs, later evolving into split-seconds models like the ref. 765 AVI and 806. Breitling has revived the Duograph name for this 2021 revival piece, limited to 250 units worldwide. True to Breitling’s aviation roots, the Duograph Premier features a bidirectional rotating bezel with an ADLC-coated black ceramic bezel ring and raised tab.
At 42mm diameter, the new Duograph sits perfectly in the vintage-inspired Premier family. Details like a box-type domed sapphire crystal, silvery opaline and black smoked dial options, curved lugs, and beaded crown further echo Breitling classics. Powering the watch is the Breitling Caliber B15, a COSC-certified in-house movement beating at 28,800 vph with a 70-hour power reserve.
Using the Split-Seconds Complication
The split-seconds complication, also known as a rattrapante, enables the wearer to time two simultaneous events of different durations. An additional seconds hand, superimposed over the main seconds hand, can be stopped independently to read an intermediate time while the main seconds hand continues running. Pressing the rattrapante pusher again reunifies the hands to resume timing together.
To accomplish this, the split-seconds mechanism requires two separate gear trains, coupling wheels, a differential, and heart lever inside the movement. When the rattrapante pusher at 10 o’clock is pressed, it activates a clamp to halt the split-seconds hand while the main seconds hand keeps moving. The split hand “catches up” to the running hand once the pusher is pressed again, an ingenious function requiring painstaking precision.
A Sporty and Modern Split-Seconds Chronograph
While rattrapante watches can often lean dressy, Breitling gives the Duograph Premier sporty versatility. Compared to precious metal cases, the stainless steel version on a leather strap makes the piece both rugged and comfortable for everyday wear. The Duograph pairs well with both casual and business attire.
Breitling also decided to place the split-seconds pusher at 10 o’clock, rather than the more common 2 o’clock position. This gives the watch balance and distinguishes it from vintage Duograph models. The pusher at 4 o’clock stops and resets the chronograph. Large Super-LumiNova coated hands and indexes aid legibility, accentuated by the high-contrast dial options.
At the back, a transparent caseback shows off the movement and black-gold commemorative engraving. Breitling offers the watch in obsidian black and silver dial variants. Both possess a modern flair suitable for an owner with an active lifestyle.
Breitling’s Legacy in Split-Seconds Chronographs
For over a century, Breitling has been a leader in split-seconds chronographs, both manual-wind and self-winding. Their first rattrapante came about in 1915, a large pocketwatch commissioned by the Swiss army. In 1923, Breitling introduced their first patented split-seconds wristwatch chronograph.
The 1930s saw the release of the Duograph line, featuring Breitling’s first in-house split-seconds movement, the Caliber 13. Ref. 765 AVI and Ref. 806 followed, supplying navies and armed forces with precise timing tools before the Duograph name went dormant.
Breitling’s modern take on their split-seconds legacy arrives at a time of renewed interest in complicated watchmaking. As the Duograph Premier B15 proves, Breitling has retained their mastery of this challenging mechanism.
Duograph Premier Build and Quality
As expected from Breitling, the Duograph Premier B15 exhibits stellar attention to detail and craftsmanship. The 42mm polished steel case is water resistant to 100m, substantial for a chronograph. Domed sapphire crystals protect both sides of the watch, with an AR coating to reduce glare on the top.
Here is a closer look at some of the features of the Breitling Duograph Premier B15 Split-Seconds:
- The split-seconds chronograph: The Duograph Premier B15 Split-Seconds is a split-seconds chronograph, which means that it can be used to measure two elapsed times simultaneously. This is done by using two sets of hands: one set to measure the total elapsed time and one set to measure the split time. The split time can be started, stopped, and reset independently of the total elapsed time.
- The Breitling Manufacture Calibre B15 automatic chronograph movement: The Duograph Premier B15 Split-Seconds is powered by the Breitling Manufacture Calibre B15 automatic chronograph movement. This movement is based on the ETA 7750, but it has been heavily modified by Breitling. The B15 movement features a column wheel and vertical clutch, which are considered to be the hallmarks of a high-quality chronograph movement.
- The stainless steel case and silver dial: The Duograph Premier B15 Split-Seconds has a 42mm stainless steel case and a silver dial. The dial features black Arabic numerals and hands, and it is protected by a domed sapphire crystal.
- The alligator leather strap: The watch is presented on a black alligator leather strap with a stainless steel deployant clasp.
The Breitling Duograph Premier B15 Split-Seconds is a truly special watch. It is a limited edition of only 250 pieces, and it is sure to become a collector’s item. Price: $10,250 in stainless steel; $22,850 in 18k red gold
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