It is the longest-ever partnership between a watch brand and an automobile manufacturer, and though somewhat curious, it should come as no surprise. Breitling and Bentley have had a special relationship since 2002, when the Swiss luxury watchmaker designed the onboard clock of the first Bentley continental Grand Tourer. The special bond between the two only grew from here, extending beyond calibre and car, and revelling in a common strive for quality, luxury, and performance in their respective fields. As Bentley celebrates its 100th birthday this year, it comes as aptly appropriate, then, that Breitling has unveiled the new Breitling Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition to commemorate its partner.
At the annual Geneva International Motor Show this March, Breitling introduced the Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition alongside the all-new Bentley Continental GT Number 9. Breitling CEO Georges Kern stated, “The Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition is a celebration of Bentley’s history, its luxury, and its incredible racing pedigree, as well as its important, intimate connection to Breitling.” Bringing the opulent feel of a Sunday drive in a Bentley to the wrist, we unwind the specs and tap into what makes this piece so special.
At first glance
The new Breitling Premier Bentley does not take its inspiration literally. In fact, what makes the timepiece intriguing is that it feels equal parts Breitling and equal parts Bentley. Produced in 18k red gold and stainless steel versions, it is clear the watch helms from the Breitling Premier family, owed in large part to the contrasting subdials — the signature of Breitling’s flagship manufacture Caliber 01. Nevertheless, the elegant, unique brown elm burl dial raises the onlooker’s curious brow, designed to be reminiscent of the wooden inserts in the new Bentley Continental GT Number 9. This creates a warm aesthetic balance of sorts from the very first glimpse.
Yet of course, the Premier Bentley Centenary timepiece is no casual chronograph. The limited edition timepieces convey their exclusivity in no shy feat. Beyond the eye-catching black subdials, a Bentley logo resides on the unique transparent caseback, showcasing both the Breitling movement and the Bentley brand. In the 18k red gold version, there is a ‘One of 200’ inscription, whilst in the stainless-steel version, viewers will find ‘One of 1000’ engraved on the back. A distinguished reminder of its exclusivity.
Both watches are presented on a brown leather strap — wherein the pattern and stitching was inspired by Bentley’s signature car seats — with a stainless steel strap also available for the stainless steel version. On the left hand side of the 42mm case of the latter, a plate is engraved with a ‘Bentley’ inscription, in a design inspired by the dashboard of the historic supercharged 1929 ‘Blower’ Bentley.
It’s a bit of a nod to the far-reaching connection between the two companies, too. Bentley, though known for its luxury cars, actually has an impressive far-reaching track history. Between 1924 and 1930, the Bentley Boys and Girls won the renowned 24 Hours of Le Mans race a whopping total of five times. In 2003, Bentley returned to Le Mans, and again took both first and second place finishes. The link? Their proud and supportive main sponsor was Breitling.
Indeed, it writes like a ballad between two brands at the top of their league, and the resulting visual is fittingly opulent. The details in the new Breitling Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition are strong, charming, and familial, and cleverly combine purpose and style on both counts. The watch was launched on the same day as Bentley’s new GT — as no sheer coincidence. Matching quality, performance, and timeless design, it is a tribute to a beautiful shared history and strong ongoing partnership. You need not be a motoring or horological expert to know or appreciate this, and yet if you are, it’s definitely worthy of a couple heart skips of beat. Holding onto a moment in time, Breitling strikes Bentley on its birthday, wishing it a happy centenary in true form.