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View Full Version : Review of BREITLING B01 Chronomat the "Ultimate" version



By-Tor
08-09-2010, 03:38 PM
http://i.imgur.com/ZIwAIeN.jpg

When was the last time I reviewed a new replica watch? Yes, I have reviewed watches like Skyland v2 but that's like yesterday's newspaper... I mean a new model, something that hasn't been around for long. I didn't remember so I had to go back to my section and find out.
It was January 2009, WM9 Submariner v2. It's been that long. After that I have only purchased gens and only a few good old rep models, like the Skyland v2. Actually I also bought a BCE Graphite v3 but sold it within a week. That was a nice rep but not quite for me.
B01 is now the "flagship" model of the whole Breitling range because it's the first mass produced Breitling that has an inhouse movement. It's not built around 7753, it's completely inhouse.

There aren't many practical reasons for this as ETA 7753 is a proven workhorse, but in the purists' eyes this will will move B01 to the same playing ground with watches like Zenith and Rolex Daytona. No wonder the price tag is high: Stainless Steel B01 retail price is $7690. The luxury watch price consist of many things, image is one very important reason, and inhouse movement is the "ultimate orgasm" in the purists' world. Sense has often little to do with it.
B01 doesn't seem to have a big following in the rep boards. Actually when we made this (http://www.rwgforum.com/topic/120014-favorite-breitling/) poll about the most popular Breitling model, it got ZERO votes. Why is that? The replication itself can't be the reason, it's very good and accurate, and the only notable issue is the unavoidably recessed datewheel.

http://i.imgur.com/FjPyP1U.jpg

I think people simply shy away from this watch because of its non-conservative design traits: The huge blobby pearl, weird datefont, Sci-Fi bezel font, bezel itself (which is all polished) and weird bracelet/non-SEL combo are definitely a departure from classic sports chronographs. Watch buyers are very conservative, the more adventurous models rarely have a mass appeal. It'd be interesting to know how much the genuine has been selling. I have a feeling that B01 might become a commercial flop.

http://i.imgur.com/R0u6KeP.jpg

I can't blame the members, my first impression of Chronomat B01 wasn't positive, either. I never thought I'd buy one. But strangely enough this watch started to grow on me, and when I first saw proper pictures of it I already liked it. Weird how that happens, huh? Maybe I didn't "love" it like I love my Aquaracer or SMP Chrono but at least it was different. My collection has always been full of brushed steel diver watches... I don't know how many Subs, GMTs, Planet Oceans and Steelfishes I have owned. So why not try something different for a change?

http://i.imgur.com/38aAeJy.jpg

I had one thing in mind, I wanted another Breitling but this time it had to be with the Pilot bracelet. Blackbird (which is truly one of my favorites) was my first option. But PT said that he doesn't trust the movement and his customers have had some bad experiences with it, I decided to pass. Since those old and outdated Navitimer replicas leave a lot to be desired and I really dislike the big and sloppy lume tabs on BCE reps I decided to go for B01.
First I ruled out all nice and adventurous colors. The "Mirage red" and "Amber" versions are way too garish.

Then I had to rule out the blue dial versions. Not because I don't like them (you know how much I love the blue dials) but because the rep blue dials are once again totally inaccurate. This is an unfortunate fact... the rep dial colors (other than black) are rarely accurate. And besides, when you choose the black version the recessed dw is not a big deal (black on black). It's not noticeable (except from the angles I intentionally photographed this watch) and not worth stressing about, imho. Live a little, worry less and enjoy your reps.
We discussed this model with other RWG members and came to the conclusion that the best rep option for B01 is the Onyx black version. Go for sticky or Roman numerals one, they're both as nice with very few flaws. Personally, I prefer the Roman version. Breitling dials are traditionally busy and the Roman numerals somehow it gives the dial "fuller" and more "Breitlingsque" appearance. Although I gotta admit that the end result is kinda weird mix: The bezel has the Atari Asteroids font and the dial utilizes "ancient" Roman numbers. But that's exactly why B01 appeals to me: It's different, it's like the designers had been on acid. Grateful Dead produced a lot of crap and musical meatloaf on acid but some good stuff too... I think B01 falls to the latter category. It's a bit crazy but it works.

http://i.imgur.com/VPPaAm2.jpg

When people collect reps longer many change their priorities over the years. For me the build quality has become much more important than some miniscule accuracy things, like serial numbers, etc. I mean who gives a **** unless you're trying to scam someone on Ebay.
My good forum friend Importr (the guy I bought my Skyland v2 from) said that B01 is extremely well built replica with instant quality feel. He has owned many gen Lings and pretty much all Breitling replicas ever produced so I took his word for it. That was definitely true, the bracelet is excellent, the clasp is excellent and the steel really shines and sparkles.

http://i.imgur.com/VJy6inD.jpg

I never fully understood why so many people prefer their Lings on a strap. For me, the Breitling steel bracelets are one of the main attraction. By the way, genuine spare stainless steel bracelet for B01 costs over $1K retail. A friggin' stainless steel watch band! And no, they're not larger than life. My rep Pro2 is almost as nice as my gen. Breitling spare parts prices are totally outrageous. Maybe they want to approach Rolex in this sense too, and become shameless, arrogant bloodsuckers.
I went for the "Ultimate 316L" version which was more expensive but I have always bought only the best.

I haven't seen the standard version so I can't verify that the "Ultimate" is actually any shinier or nicer. I'm a bit skeptical about the whole "Ultimate" thing, really... and I have a small suspicion that there might be no difference in the steel quality between the standard one. Maybe it's just a typical gimmic from our Chinese friends? It'd be nice to know though. All I know that this one really sparkles. I also heard the bezel rider tabs are removable on the Ultimate.
Do I like it? Yes I do. Will this watch have a long-term appeal? I don't know, time will tell.

When you get a new watch, there's always the "honeymoon" with it and you can't tell immediately. But usually in a few months you'll know for sure... but so far so good. The flaws (besides the recessed dw) are minimal and almost not even worth discussing about. I'm sure there's some (maybe a missing seconds marker or stuff like that, etc.) but I don't really care. I couldn't spot anything worth mentioning. The only small complaint is the double-AR, which is good but not quite as strong as my gen Fish or v2 Skyland.
Here you can see some gen vs. rep comparisons that I composed. In the first photo the Roman numerals look thinner on the gen.
REP vs. GEN COMPARISON. (http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i243/BT2112/7-6.jpg)

Now look at these genuine photos that I have found on the Internet. The numbers look thicker than in the factory pic. The square lume markers at '12, '3 and '9 are a bit smaller on the rep. The rep pearl is also a bit smaller.
GEN REFERENCE PHOTO 1. (http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i243/BT2112/IMG_9051.jpg)
GEN REFERENCE PHOTO 2. (http://i74.photobucket.com/albums/i243/BT2112/P1020361.jpg)


How should we categorize this watch? It's definitely not a traditional sports chronograph with all that bling and fully polished areas. But then again it's not "men's jewellery" either... at least not in the same way that a diamond bezel Breitling would be. But if an all-stainless steel watch can be considered "blingy", then B01 is exactly that. I can't imagine anyone wanting to use B01 for diving or for any other extreme activites. If you're rough on your watches, this is definitely not a watch for you, I'm sure B01 is a serious scratch magnet. The way I see it, B01 is a "special occasion" dress watch, designed to be worn with a suit... maybe in the same boat with Ulysse Nardin MM Chrono, Omega DeVille, Rolex Yacht-Master and the old Chronomat Evolution.

http://i.imgur.com/G9EUo7Q.jpg

Even with all the design weirdness, I like this much more than the standard BCE. It's much cooler, although I'm still not a huge fan of how the bracelet attachs to the watch (without SELs). But if you throughly examine the whole Breitling range, you'll realize that Chrono Avenger/Super Avenger/Skyland (+ all the special editions) aren't that much different from eachother. Same could be said about all the old Chronomat variations. There are lots of these and they're all basically the same 7750-based watch with similar case, bezel and everything. It's a bit boring, really... of course all watch brands are guilty of this same thing in some degree, but I'm still happy that Breitling had guts to be different with B01. It's probably not a watch for everyone but then again neither are the PloProf or Panerai.
The replication is really good and like I said previously, it screams quality in every way. This particular factory (same one that produces all those amazing TAG reps) can produce some outstanding stuff, we have seen it many times in the past few years. And if you consider the gen, there is no better "test drive" than this rep. If you're a Breitling fan, you simply HAVE to get this one, it's much nicer (in the flesh) than you think. This one gets a big thumbs up from ole' By-Tor.

http://i.imgur.com/1hB7huv.jpg


Thanks to Precious Time (UK) for another perfect EU-delivery. He has never failed me. The watch is perfect without any QC issues once again.

chronoluvvv
08-09-2010, 04:05 PM
ROFLMAO @
The bezel has the Atari Asteroids font and the dial utilizes "ancient" Roman numbers

which is why i got THIS (http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr305/chronoluvvv/Breitling/B01/0cccd97d.jpg) nice batons' dial instead

krpster
08-09-2010, 05:43 PM
Good summary BT. Like you this one is growing on me. However, I am not ready to take the leap.........yet :)

Sundance
08-09-2010, 05:52 PM
That was an excellent review. Really enjoyed reading it. Thank you for taking the time, and let's hope the next review takes less than a year coming!

By-Tor
08-09-2010, 07:16 PM
ROFLMAO @
The bezel has the Atari Asteroids font and the dial utilizes "ancient" Roman numbers

which is why i got THIS (http://i494.photobucket.com/albums/rr305/chronoluvvv/Breitling/B01/0cccd97d.jpg) nice batons' dial instead

Yeah, my version is bit of a mess... but that's exactly why I like it. I prefer the Roman version over the batons. But they're both just as accurate, just a taste thing I guess. The Onyx black is the only dial color that people should consider, if they want better accuracy. Actually I don't think the graphite version is that bad, either... but the recessed dw issue is more apparent on that.

coldwin
08-09-2010, 07:47 PM
Thanks! BT
Awesome review of great watch ;)

chronoluvvv
08-09-2010, 09:09 PM
Yeah, my version is bit of a mess... but that's exactly why I like it. I prefer the Roman version over the batons. But they're both just as accurate, just a taste thing I guess. The Onyx black is the only dial color that people should consider, if they want better accuracy. Actually I don't think the graphite version is that bad, either... but the recessed dw issue is more apparent on that.

That's totally ok and you're correct on all fronts
I meant no disrespect B-T, heck when I grow up I want to be just like you :)

By-Tor
08-09-2010, 09:14 PM
Hey mate, no problems. :D

It's actually quite interesting how little this model has been selling. I guess the factories have invested a lot of effort on it. Even the bracelet screws are very good quality.

I had 2-3 stiff middle links though (in a typical rep fashion) but after oiling I'd say this is one of the best Breitling rep bracelets out there.

The only OTB great rep bracelets (that I've seen) were on Ebel BTR and TAG Link Chrono (the original 7750 version). All the others require oiling and bending/twisting those links for hundreds of times. Eventually you'll get them very smooth and silky but it's really annoying procedure.

Maverick
08-09-2010, 09:17 PM
Not my choice but excellent review BT, thx!

chillininla
08-10-2010, 07:32 AM
Awesome review, Thanks.... I've definitely been considering this for a while, If it only didnt have that damn recessed date wheel issue :(

realreplica
08-10-2010, 08:04 AM
For me is probably what you said, the deviation from the traditional Breitling style doesn't quite do it for me on this model, however there are some really nice things about this watch. I was in the AD last week and had a look at these, the dials are pretty cool on these watches really pop out.
I don't think they are being a huge success to be honest but even though is a nice watch.
Maybe this is another of those cases that it will take a while to get used to and in the end it may grow on you.

In regards to your review and pictures, just fantastic as usual B-T. Thanks for sharing with us.

onzenuub
08-10-2010, 08:23 AM
Great review, wil be added in the best rep review database, aaaaaaaaaaall over the boards. :)

sefl
08-10-2010, 01:32 PM
Great photos, great writing.

Great review! Thanks! :)

By-Tor
08-11-2010, 10:09 AM
Thanks, all.

What is remarkable about this rep is build quality and the detail execution. Everything has been done so well, I'm really pleased. Even the pearl which is definitely something that would ruin the watch if it wasn't that good.

normanduke
08-12-2010, 07:52 PM
I certainly respect your opinions as I've been reading them for a long time.
I'm interested in this watch also because it looks very accurate even from the dealers pictures.
I'm not wild about the absence of SEL's either but opposite of you, I usually like my watches more as time goes by.

The removable rider tabs is a big issue for me. The watch would look definetly " rep " without them. I'm a bargain hunter and there is a quartz one available in the upscale version, not inexpensive though. Near -perfect replication is not as important to me as build and a feeling of genuineness.

I swear my early Asian white Fish has sapphire crystal and some sort of AR. Ditto a 21J IWC Laureus with double AR. I don't think the crystal on my 21J Oris CC is sapphire but it is very acceptable also with 2x AR and a hundred bucks or so is plenty for an off-beat sport watch like this. I like my ( early version ) 21J Aquatimer very much. I think it has sapphire and single AR.

I know this type of rep collecting isn't your cup of tea, but your reviews are very helpful to guys like me.
Enjoy that watch. It's a beauty.

Questions
08-12-2010, 07:55 PM
Nice! I orderd the same watch, It should be arriving in around 5 days :)
Cant wait!

shandroid
08-21-2010, 04:37 PM
Mine is on it's way :)

Love the lings!!!! :D

gazumi
08-24-2010, 07:31 PM
I have just seen the B01 replica in person for the very first time and I am very impressed. I'm not a great fan of the watch from seeing the pictures and window shopping at the AD but having the rep in my hand has definitely changed my mind. It's a beautifully detailed and quality feeling watch. The rep I saw was the light grey with black subdials, I'm thinking of getting a white dial version for myself now.

By-Tor
08-24-2010, 10:48 PM
@gazumi: I agree. It's very well built rep.

The bracelet and clasp are very good quality too and it becomes silky smooth after "oil treatment".

I'm impressed of the dial and bezel execution + pearl. You might not like the design but you can't deny the good replication.

makoberry
08-30-2010, 02:54 PM
@gazumi: I agree. It's very well built rep.

The bracelet and clasp are very good quality too and it becomes silky smooth after "oil treatment".

I'm impressed of the dial and bezel execution + pearl. You might not like the design but you can't deny the good replication.

Hi By-Tor,

Thanks for the great review. I think one of the most important faults of the rep are the quality of the dial. The gen has much more pronunced ridges and a "3D feeling" while the rep is much more flat looking.

By-Tor
08-30-2010, 03:02 PM
Hmm... I don't think so. It might be true for the "stick" version but the Roman numeral version shouldn't have that apparent ridges. The AR might be stronger though.

Here you can see pics of the gen. The rep looks pretty much spot on in every way.

http://www.golftoimpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/dsc098841.jpg

http://www.golftoimpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/dsc09881.jpg

http://www.golftoimpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/dsc099051.jpg

http://www.golftoimpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/dsc09897.jpg

http://www.golftoimpress.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/05/dsc09908.jpg

Holl71
04-06-2011, 03:08 PM
Hi Guys..BT brilliant review. Question, where can I get an Ultimate of the breitling WINDRIDER chrono???

spynena
04-08-2011, 10:20 PM
Got to say this is one sexy watch. Wish they made a ladies version in this particular style I would so get it. Excellent review even to a female newbie it made perfect sense.

Questions
05-07-2011, 10:19 PM
that is 1 stark looking watch!

pokakingjojo
02-07-2012, 11:07 AM
Wow excellent review!! Tks I've been meaning to get this watch for a couple weeks now. Im was gonna go for blue be el but I will take your advice and go for black. Any recommendation on a supplier? Tks!!

Lenny63
08-23-2012, 03:38 AM
Absolutely awesome review By-tor! I saw this on RWG nearly 1 year ago today and it inspired me to make my first ever rep purchase....the B01....still one of my all time favourites today many many reps into the hobby

mike00
08-29-2012, 11:20 AM
I have 3 since 1 month, god they are breathtaking.

I prefered the stick version.

http://i787.photobucket.com/albums/yy153/mike00/chronomat/3faa071b.jpg

http://img.tapatalk.com/d979a901-2b00-5360.jpg

Wandere
08-31-2012, 01:20 AM
Lol, great review and gorgeous watch :)

mikeyriz1024
02-11-2013, 02:12 PM
Beauty!

ronin007
02-11-2013, 04:09 PM
Got the two tone on a gen strap,love it!!http://i1167.photobucket.com/albums/q629/ronin0077/Snapbucket/BCC1D21E_zps0abaa45f.jpg

By-Tor
07-22-2017, 08:43 AM
Pictures back up for this 2010 review. Enjoy.