Breitling Norton: Caseback Fail

The Breitling Norton at rest, hiding its motorcycle branding

Over at deployant.com, horologist Peter Chong sings the praises of the new Breitling Norton Edition. Apparently the Premier B01 Chronograph 42 variat is “a product of thoughtful considerations to the visual aspects, as well as the technical. The watch exudes a quiet confidence that can only come from competent aesthetics, while the functioning of the chronograph is sleek and smooth that tells the tale of a well designed movement.” And then he turns the watch over . . .

 The case back shows an inscription of the Norton motorcycle and logo on the sapphire glass. This partially blocks the view to the B01 movement, which we think though is a necessity in a co-branding exercise, is a shame as the movement is quite a looker.

Ah, Deployant watch reviews. So . . . genteel. Obsequious? Something. As I might have mentioned, that’s not how we roll here at The Truth About Watches. Our take on the Breitlng Norton Edition?

The motorycle decal over the exhibition caseback of Breitling’s $8500 retro chrono is an abomination, pandering to the marketing mavens who probably saw a Harley-Davidson-branded Ford F-150 and said yup, we’re in.

Breitling and Norton motorcycles. Um, OK

The Breitling Norton decal obscures what is a truly beautiful automatic movement: the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01. We’re talking about a Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres-certified chronometer, accurate to -4 to +6 seconds per day. Underwater too, down to 10 bar (100 meters).

“Cool, charismatic and contoured, this chronograph reflects the innovative and adventurous streak in both brands,” Breitling proclaims with alliterative charm. It’s too bad it’s got a bad back.

You can kind of understand how this obfuscation happened; how else could Breitling claim Nortonian bragging rights?

Simple! Ditch the exhibition case back, put a kick ass engraving of a Norton Commando on a solid case back and call it good. But what do I know? I drive a Harley.

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