race in motorcycle paradise
Those tired of yet another motorsport watch collaboration might want to check out the new fake Breitling x Triumph pairing. The partnership may have the usual hallmarks — a focus on performance and innovation, with a special-edition watch to match the special-edition model — but because this is Breitling and Triumph, there’s some rebellious, retro coolness thrown in. Plus a lot of history.
The new Top Time Triumph is particularly reminiscent of 1960s “cafe racers,” a subculture that emerged in post-austerity, post-war Britain and America when trendy motorcycles became must-have wheels and their Riders shuttle from hip cafes to trendy cafes. Think James Dean on his victory trophy and the biker outlaw in The Wild One. Miles Perkins, head of brand management at Triumph, said: “It was the birth of a subculture who had time in their teens and could borrow money – a time when the world was a brighter place after World War II. “You’ve had an explosion of pop culture: music, movies, motorcycles.”
Bringing this spirit to the wrist is the fake Breitling Top Time, a bold chronograph introduced in the 1960s. With its highly graphic dial and unconventional square case, this watch was designed for a younger audience — “speaking their language,” Willy Breitling said in 1964 — this timepiece Has appeared in magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue. “It’s a bit unconventional and disruptive,” said Gavin Murphy, Breitling’s UK managing director. “It appeals to a younger, hipper generation.”
Fast forward to 2022 and the new 41mm Top Time Triumph unsurprisingly exudes a modern retro vibe, complemented by the Triumph Speed Twin Breitling motorcycle, limited to 270 pieces (speed and RPM gauges co-designed with Breitling). Both feature a striking icy blue hue reminiscent of the history of both brands: the multi-colored blue of the 1951 Triumph Thunderbird 6T, which Marlon Brando would later immortalize in the film The Wild. And the rare blue dial Breitling Top Time Ref 815 from the 1970s.
Breitling specifically shaped the dial with its signature Zorro pattern – an ultra-graphic bow-tie look, with the contrasting colours of the two counters reminiscent of Zorro’s mask. But here, instead of contrasting tones, Breitling lets ice blue do the talking, with a beautiful brushed finish that makes up not only the sub-dial, but the two brands at the 12 and 6 o’clock positions logo. The black tachymeter scale complements the racing-themed black leather strap, and the oversized mushroom-head putter further accentuates the retro sports theme for a graphic look. The caseback is engraved with a sketch of the Triumph parallel twin engine and houses the self-winding Breitling Caliber 23, a COSC-certified chronometer with a 48-hour power reserve.
It feels like every Popular fake watch brand is partnering with a car brand these days, but this collaboration feels especially refreshing. That’s partly down to the fact that motorcycles are more niche – dare we say it’s cooler than cars, and Breitling seems to be going all out (this is its second motorcycle collaboration in a year, plus Breitling’s chief It helps that exec Georges Kern is a keen motorcycle rider). At the same time, the long history of cooperation between the two parties also adds to the authenticity.
Triumph celebrates its 120th birthday this year, the British brand has been supporting key motorcycle innovation and development, earning accolades along the way, like the only manufacturer to break the motorcycle land speed record five times (fact: it owns the fastest motorcycle in the world) of motorcycle titles between 1955-1970, saving about a month). Such a legacy certainly attracts petrolheads, and for the rest of us, there’s Hollywood star power: as mentioned, there’s Dean and Brando, as well as Steve McQueen in The Great Escape and Tom Cruise’s twice Jumped and crashed his 1962 TR6 650 trophy in victory (Daytona T595 and Speed Triple) in Mission Impossible II, then Thruxton in Edge of Tomorrow. More recently, Tiger 900 and Scrambler 1200 in the latest Bond film No Time Die did some really bad stunts. A total homage to coffee racer culture in this particular watch, it creates a compelling story, especially for someone who is not that much into motorcycles (like this writer, admittedly).
Like the Triumph, the Breitling Top Time has both insider and layman appeal. This watch and the striking Zorro dial have a place in watch history, a bold creation for the stylish, swinging Sixties crowd of the 1960s. Bond has his own credit, too: a modified Top Time starring (and saving the world) in 1965’s Thunderball – a watch that sold for a whopping £103,875 at Christie’s pop culture auction in 2013.
These overlapping histories mean that both Breitling and Triumph should attract attention and new audiences – which is ultimately what all these collaborations are about. In fact, it seems to be on track: All 50 Triumph Twin Speed motorcycles allotted for the UK market were snapped up within 12 minutes of the partnership going live last week, and buyers are no doubt keen to get their hands on their matching Breitling Engraved with their bike’s unique number.
But hype aside, this watch is a real watch. The ice blue dial is really beautiful and instantly grabs attention, especially with the contrasting black tachymeter scale, black subdials, black logos and black perforated leather strap. “Squirrel” chronograph counters and oversized mushroom pushers guide the continuing craze for 1960s watches and all things retro geometry. Finally, Breitling’s Calibre 23 will surely deliver, the watchmaker is a preeminent brand alongside Rolex and Omega, offering some of the best precision timepieces in the business. Reportedly, this is the first watch in Breitling and Triumph’s long-term partnership, and we’re curious to see where the road leads.
Model: Top Time Triumph
Diameter: 41 mm
Case Material: Stainless Steel
Dial Color: Ice Blue
Water resistance: 30 meters
Movement: Breitling Calibre 23
Diameter: 30 mm
Thickness: 7.9 mm
Power reserve: 48 hours winding
: Automatic winding
Frequency: 28,800 a/h or 4 Hz