There's a good reason why the B-1 is part of Breitling's Professional line. It features analog and digital displays as well as numerous functions such as a second time zone and a countdown timer. This chronograph is truly the ideal military watch.
Breitling produced the B-1 from 1990 to 2006. Models featured two different quartz movements over the collection's lifespan. Older models were outfitted with the Breitling quartz caliber 68. Models from after the year 2000 had the Breitling caliber 78. This movement has been certified by COSC (the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute) and is also referred to as a SuperQuartz movement. You can recognize whether or not a watch includes this movement by either the "CHRONOMETRE B-1" inscription on the dial or the A78 at the beginning of the reference number. If the reference number starts with A68, that means it belongs to the earlier generation. Both calibers are based on a movement from ETA, a famous Swiss movement manufacturer that also delivers to IWC and TAG Heuer. Their batteries last two to three years depending on the functions included. The B-1 has an EOL (end of life) display beneath 12 o'clock that shows when its battery needs to be changed.
The Breitling B-1 is a well-thought-out tool watch, meaning it has been designed to be used in a certain industry or industries. This 43-mm chronograph can accurately measure times to within 1/100th of a second and also features a 99-day countdown timer with an alarm function. The Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) can also be adjusted on this luxury timepiece, and it can keep track of a second time zone. This is especially useful when traveling. All of this is set using the crown and the two push-pieces at 2 and 4 o'clock. Pushing the crown turns on the backlighting, making the B-1 easy to read even in the dark. The bidirectional slide rule bezel with an additional minute scale gives it the look of a pilot's watch and can be used by pilots to help them navigate.
|2,300 USD||Very good||68|
|2,900 USD||Very good||78|
When purchasing a Breitling B-1, you can choose from a blue, black, or gray dial. Large Arabic numerals serve as hour markers at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock. The two digital displays are located at 6 and 12. This chronograph comes with a band made of stainless steel, leather, or rubber. Most models have cases made of stainless steel. White and yellow gold models also exist, but are extremely rare to find on the pre-owned market.
Condition plays a larger role than design when it comes to the price of the stainless steel versions. Having all the papers and the original box is also very important for models from this company. Prices for Breitling chronographs from the 90s or early 2000s that are in good condition and powered by caliber 68 start around 1,900 USD. Similar models in very good condition cost about 400 USD more. If you're on the market for a B-1 with a chronometer-certified SuperQuartz caliber , be prepared to spend 2,400 USD for an example in good condition. Those in very good condition demand about 2,900 USD.
In addition to its movement, the reference number of the Airwolf reveals its relation to the B-1. It launched in 2007, one year after production of the B-1 ceased. The design of the Airwolf is a slightly modified version of the B-1: Its slide rule bezel with graduations functions as a compass, and the dial only uses Arabic numerals as hour markers at 3 and 9 o'clock. Even so, the SuperQuartz caliber 78 still powers this timepiece. Airwolf models are also 0.3 mm larger than their predecessor. However, in general, it has still maintained the most important functions of the B-1.
SuperQuartz calibers from Breitling are thermocompensated, meaning they stay extraordinarily precise even under extreme conditions. The manufacturer also has its SuperQuartz movements certified by COSC (the Offical Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute). The criteria to pass such tests are even stricter than those for mechanical movements: To receive chronometer certification, a quartz movement can only deviate 0.7 seconds per day. An automatic caliber, on the other hand, can deviate +4/-6 seconds per day.