Breitling introduced the Navitimer Rattrapante at Baselworld. It features Breitling Caliber B03, a proprietary split-seconds movement developed and produced in-house. Like all Breitling watches, it’s officially chronometer certified by the COSC. It is also consolidating its crucial role in the
The split-seconds chronograph is considered one of the hardest watchmaking mechanisms to create. That is why this “Grand Complication” is generally produced in small series and requires watchmakers to perform a lengthy process of adjustment and rating (correcting the clearance of the split-seconds wheel and pinion, adapting the tension of the springs, adjusting the degree of penetration of the clamps, etc.).
The major challenge for the developers of a split-seconds chronograph movement relates to the level of energy. The constant stopping and starting of the split-seconds hand results in variable energy requirements that can prove detrimental to chronometric precision and reduce a watch’s power reserve. One of the means of resolving this issue consists in equipping the movement with an isolating system serving to disconnect the split-seconds hand when it is stopped. This was the approach chosen by Breitling. However, the brand engineers and watchmakers revisited the construction of the split-seconds mechanism in order to achieve a more reliable and effective solution. They developed two innovations for which patents have been filed.
The first breakthrough relates to the isolating system. The component driving the split-seconds lever normally takes the form of a cylindrical pin: an organ that is complex to produce below a certain diameter. Breitling has replaced this pin by a stamped part enabling it to achieve a more precisely defined shape, as well as enhanced sturdiness.
Thanks to this isolating system, the use of the split seconds hand has no impact on the precision of the timing, nor on the power reserve.
The second innovation concerns the mechanism for stopping the split-seconds hand. Watchmakers traditionally use a wheel (either smooth or with extremely fine toothing) that is clamped in place. This system is complicated to produce and can lead to a certain degree of inaccuracy. Inspired by cycle brakes equipped with rubber pads, Breitling’s engineers had the idea of surrounding the wheel with an O-ring seal that would be compressed by the clamp. This results in extremely precise stopping and a system that is simpler to produce and thus more reliable.
The B03 picks up all the advantages of this high-performance ‘engine’, including a 70-hour power reserve (guaranteeing enhanced rating regularity) as well as an innovative modular-type architecture. The split-seconds mechanism comprises just 28 parts.Regrouping most of these components in a module fitted between the mainplate and the calendar mechanism not only simplifies production and assembly, but also maintenance – since the watchmaker can remove the module as a single block for any servicing or repairs.
Options include either a stainless steel case at $11,090, or a red gold case at $32,895. The latter is a limited edition of 250 pieces, while the steel is not limited.