Chrono-Matic: A Vintage Breitling Chronograph
Breitling Chrono-Matic watches feature one of the world's very first automatic chronograph movements. Defining features include a crown on the left side of the case. These timepieces are popular among collectors as an entry into the vintage world.
Chronographs With a Legendary Movement
In 1969, Breitling introduced the Chrono-Matic, a line of timepieces with one of the world's first automatic chronograph calibers. The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer developed this then-revolutionary movement together with Heuer, Büren, and Dubois Dépraz. Known as "caliber 11," Breitling, Heuer, and many other brands equipped their timepieces with this movement.
The caliber 11 is famous for its bicompax design with counters at 3 and 9 o'clock. Perhaps its most notable detail is the location of the crown on the case's left-hand side. The push-pieces take up residence on the right as usual. Combined, these two features lend the Chrono-Matic its unmistakable personality. Breitling later used modified versions of the caliber 11, including the popular caliber 12, for its automatic chronographs.
One of the most famous Chrono-Matic models is the ref. 2110. However, the refs. 2111, 2112, and 2114 are popular among collectors as well. Breitling also produced two versions of the Navitimer with the Chrono-Matic caliber, namely refs. 1806 and 8806.
Reasons to Buy a Breitling Chrono-Matic
- Chronographs with 1960s and 70s designs
- Legendary chronograph calibers 11 and 12
- Affordable entry into the world of vintage watches
- Stainless steel or gold cases
- Iconic design
Prices: Breitling Chrono-Matic
|Reference number||Price (approx.)||Case material|
|8806||4,700 USD||Stainless steel|
|1806||4,600 USD||Stainless steel|
|2110||4,400 USD||Stainless steel|
|2112||3,600 USD||Stainless steel|
|2114||2,500 USD||Stainless steel|
|2111||2,700 USD||Stainless steel|
How much does a Breitling Chrono-Matic cost?
Depending on the watch's specific condition and the accessories it comes with, you can buy a ref. 2111 for around 2,700 USD – quite a reasonable price for a distinguished timepiece from a high-end manufacturer with a groundbreaking caliber. The ref. 2114 costs closer to 2,500 USD. Fans of the Breitling Navitimer are sure to enjoy the ref. 8806 for 4,600 USD. Gold timepieces are much more expensive, coming in around 14,000 USD as of March 2023.
Breitling Chrono-Matic 2110
The first Chrono-Matic from 1969 bears the reference number 2110. Its stainless steel case measures 39 mm in diameter. Today, you can find pre-owned copies with a panda dial (white background with black subdials) or reverse panda dial (black background with white subdials). Both versions come with applied indices and a tachymeter scale for calculating speed and distance around the dial's outer edge. They also feature bright orange hands for the hours, minutes, chronograph seconds, and 30-minute counter. Only the 12-hour-counter hand is black or white (depending on the main dial color). A date display at 6 o'clock completes the dial. Finally, this model features a rotatable bezel with a diving scale for tracking dive times.
Be sure to have around 4,400 USD on hand for this timepiece. However, prices can vary based on the watch's condition and whether it comes with its original accessories.
Ref. 2111: The Chrono-Matic With a Square Case
Breitling made significant changes to the Chrono-Matic's design in the 1970s – the heyday of square cases and unconventional dial designs. The brand's contribution to these trends was the Chrono-Matic 2111. Its case is noticeably more angular and bears a strong resemblance to vintage TV sets, and is thus often referred to as a "TV case." What's more, every surface has a rather coarse satin-brushed finish. The 1970s look continues on the dial, which is available in black or white and has subdials at 3 and 9 o'clock. Unlike the earlier Chrono-Matic models, these subdials sit within a contrasting oval that traverses the center of the dial from left to right. This design resembles the "Zorro" dial, another Breitling creation found on Top-Time chronographs.
A ref. 2111 in good condition will set you back roughly 2,700 USD. For something truly extravagant, you should check out the ref. 2111-15. Instead of an oval, the subdials are joined by a date display within a contrasting trapezoid. Here, the small seconds is located between 9 and 10 o'clock, while the date window is squeezed between 6 and 7. Finally, the 2111-15 uses the caliber 15, an evolution of the caliber 11. As for the price, this unusual model costs about the same as the more conventional edition.
Breitling also produced versions of the Navitimer with Chrono-Matic calibers. One of the most famous references is the Navitimer 1806. A product of the 1970s, Breitling once manufactured the stainless steel edition for the Iraqi Air Force. Its 48-mm case guarantees great wrist presence. Its large size paired with a nearly octagonal case earned the 1806 the nickname "fried egg." As a Navitimer, its dial can feel quite intimidating. In addition to the various scales for calculating speed, fuel consumption, and rates of ascent and descent, this timepiece also features the caliber 11's iconic design with subdials at 3 and 9 o'clock and a crown on the left-hand side. The white subdials sit atop a black background, while the orange chronograph seconds hand and 30-minute-counter hand add a nice splash of color.
A well-maintained Navitimer 1806 requires an investment of around 4,700 USD.
Chrono-Matic Navitimer 8806
The Navitimer 8806 has a more modest 41-mm diameter and comes in stainless steel or yellow gold. Thanks to its caliber, the crown sits on the case's left side. The dial and its various functions are exactly what you'd expect from a Navitimer. Unlike the 1806, the 8806 lacks any colorful accents, pairing a black dial with a white date disc, hands, and subdials. The tachymeter scale around the dial's outer edge is also white.
You can buy a stainless steel Navitimer 8806 in good condition for about 4,700 USD. However, the gold version demands closer to 14,000 USD (as of March 2023).