BREITLING CHRONO AVENGER (AEROMARINE SERIES)
I have always liked sports watches and after so many years of wearing so many different brands, one that I have always looked at but never bought was Breitling. There was a time when I thought that the in house movement was everything and in a sports watch that only meant Rolexes, which I bought, 2 of them actually. Which I then sold after keeping them for some time. The good thing about it was that I did not lose money and I enjoyed them while it lasted.
However in the past few months, I have been surfing more and more to the Breitling sites and was impressed by the sheer presence of the watches in the Breitling line. I thought they provided a lot of bang for the buck and proceeded to look at them closely at the retailers. I was torn between the CA and the B1 but the water resistance of the CA won the day. I was able to land one unit at a decent price at the AD and am now on the slippery slope to having more Breitlings.
Here is an attempt at a short review and what I feel about the watch. Hopefully it is presented well enough to justify its presence on the net.
Breitling calls it the B13 which is based on the standard ETA 7750 movement. It is one of the most popular chronograph movement presently and is based on a much simpler design which forgoes the traditional column wheel. Breitling sends all its movements for COSC certification and my last check was that the watch is running a little fast at about 5 seconds per 24 hours. A nice thing about it is that it has been consistent at this rate per 24 hours regardless of whether the chronograph is running or not. It simply means that the movement is stable and needs only be to tuned a little to improve the accuracy rate. I will be running it for a while more before I send it in for a quick adjustment.
I have not got the tools to open the back as yet but will do so once I get one of those magic balls from the TZ toolshop but understand that Breitling normally embellishes very little the standard movement. It runs at 28,800 vph and has 25 jewels.
Power reserve is the standard 42 hours minimum, which means that if you take off the watch Friday night and wear it again on Monday morning, it would have stopped! Try to wear it over the weekend I believe is the message. Besides, it is suitable for most functions type of a watch, except black tie affairs I would surmise.
As for the date wheel, I can see some movement at about 10pm at night and by about 1 am in the morning the new date is already showing. It creeps along rather that magically clicking into the new date at midnight. The manual advises that we should not adjust the date between the hours of 8pm to about 2am. This is to prevent any damage to the moving date wheels.
One more thing to mention is the infamous 7750 wobble! The watch wobbles slightly when you make sudden movement due to the winding rotor. This is more noticeable when you wear it on a leather strap and surprisingly the least wobble is felt on the rubber strap. It does not bother me as I have had other automatic watches that wobble so much the watch virtually vibrates!
CASE AND CROWN
The case is made of Grade 2 titanium and is therefore lighter compared to a similarly sized steel case. The titanium gleams in a very nice greyish hue and adds a warm glow to the overall look of the watch. While it is not polished to a mirror finish, the watch case does exude a brightness when it catches the light at an angle.
The Chrono Avenger is from the Aeromarine series and as such has a water resistance rating of 300meters meaning it can be used as a scuba diving watch. The bezel has markings to allow the wearer to mark time elapsed which could be useful in a dive. The ratcheted bezel rotates anti clockwise only and it takes 120 clicks to rotate once. 4 bezel markers or rider tabs are added to mark quarter hours and these from part of the famous Breitling sweater killers as they can snag on the material. I have not experienced this personally myself but can’t wait for cooler months to try it on. The marker at 12 o’clock has a luminova pearl which glows in the dark. On the side of the bezel, Breitling has incorporated 8 tiny screws to aid the wearer in gripping the bezel. Personally I do not see this as a requirement but it adds to the overall tool watch look. I have tried unscrewing them and they do come off, so it is important that they remained screwed in well.
The crown is large and can be gripped easily even when wearing gloves since Breitling has thoughtfully added some knurls. It is screwed down with 2 gaskets and provides a nice tactile resistance when you try to unscrew it. While not too difficult, it provides enough resistance to ensure water resistance. The chrono pushers are also large and requires a certain degree of firmness to start and stop. The pushers and crown are well protected and is more that handsomely built. The crown is capped off with the cursive “B” which adds to the allure. The crown stem appears solid and is firmly attached to the movement. It has very little side to side play.
A very nice touch to all Breitlings is the anti reflective coating that is applied to both side of the sapphire crystal. This in my opinion is a very nice touch as it makes the watch legible from all angles, which is an important aspect of a tool watch. The sapphire crystal is also gently domed and aids the overall legibility of the watch. I am very sure that the crystal is at least 3mm thick as it needs to withstand the pressure of 30 atmospheres.
DIAL AND HANDS
The Chrono Avenger is a Arabic numeral based watch. There are 3 sub-dials at 6, 9 and 12 o’clock respectively. The running seconds hand is at 9o’clock. To balance the overall look of the watch, the date window is located at 3o’clock and Breitling has added the words ‘chronometre’ and ‘automatic’ below its flying B emblem and its name.
The tachymetre scale is missing from this dial and the only scale added is the decimal scale which allows calculations to be done. I feel that a tachymetre would be more useful and would reflect better functionalities on a tool watch. The grouse I have is with the luminova dots which I feel is just inadequate in a watch this size. It would have been better to have the Arabic numerals coated with luminova instead.
The main hands are fairly large and suits the watch well. The hour and minutes hands are coated with luminova while the seconds hand has a red tip and within that, Breitling has added a nice round spot with luminova. The sub-dials hands are white in colour to contrast against the black dial for readability but do not glow in the dark. It would have been cool if Breitling added luminova for these hands to add overall legibility in the dark.
One grouse I have is that the chronograph seconds hand does not align with the sub-dial 12 hour hand at 6 o’clock. It is a minor thing but to me, it could have been simple to adjust it accordingly.
Breitling bracelets are renowned for its beauty and functionality. I chose the Chrono Avenger with the Professional I bracelet which has been discontinued. The bracelet has been marked as 3105 which means it has been made on the 31st week of 2005 while the watch casing has a 0506 marking at the space between the 6o’clock lugs which means it was made on the 5 week of 2006. My guess is that the watch came out of Breitling sometime the first quarter of 2006.
The Pro I is a thing of beauty. It is light but strong. I love the middle links which protrude slightly and sits highly than the sidelinks. The end link also feels solid and the bracelet is linked to the end-piece with both side links. This is opposed to the Professional II bracelet which comes with slanted links while the end link is joined to the bracelet at the middle link only. The other main difference is that the Pro I comes with a diving suit extension which is missing from the Pro II. Perhaps Breitling realizes that divers prefer to wear the watch with a rubber strap should they decide to dive with the watch.
I have bought an additional rubber strap from Breitling which to me is a great addition to the overall look and feel of the watch. I felt with the rubber strap the Chrono Avenger became a serious tool watch and really look the business! The double prong also ensures the strap end is secured properly. The double prong sits high but is unobtrusive.
I have since added some leather straps to complete the ensemble and the watch can now have different shoes depending on the occasion!
The watch is extremely comfortable to wear despite its bulk. The overall weight is only 100.2 gram with the bracelet and naturally even lighter with the rubber or leather strap. The watch is 44mm in diameter not including the crown and sits pretty high on the wrist at 17.6mm. While wearing large, it nevertheless is very comfortable due to the overall lightness of titanium and the lugs curves downwards to hug the wrist.
One does not feel the thickness of the watch and as observed from the side view, one can discern the 3 major parts of the watch, ie; the screw in case back, the watch case itself and the bezel and crystal. Together it functions to disguise the overall thickness of the watch. I have not had the ill fortune of banging it against everyday objects as yet!
PACKAGING AND MANUALS
The complete packaging is very nice especially the bakelite box. The outer 2 layer paper box is yellow with silver trimmings. Breitling has thoughtfully added a chronometer certificate, international warranty and user manual in various languages. My dealer however took away the tag that comes with the watch claiming that they have to return it to the official distributor to prove the watch was sold. I found this odd but decided not to argue.
It looks solid and should last some time!
I am very impressed with the overall quality, look and feel of the Chrono Avenger. It may be one of the less expensive models in the entire Breitling chronographs line but to me it gives the best bang for the buck due to the overall lightness and strength of titanium and the tool watch look.
It is really a fantastic watch. No regrets in buying it.