Breitling Premier B15 Duograph Hands-on Review

by Chamath Gamage
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What we love:

  • Split Second Complication with 100m WR- Yes please!
  • Open caseback displaying manual winding movement 
  • Beautifully laid out dial 

What we don’t love:

  • Thickness, some may find this hard to wear under the cuff 
  • Could do without cutout numbers on the dial (2,4,8 and 10)
  • Due to the design of the top sapphire crystal glass, cannot see the tachymeter scale properly when looking directly at the dial 

Overall rating: 8.125/10

Value for money: 8/10

Wearability: 7.5/10

Design: 8.5/10

Build quality: 8.5/10

It’s not often you get a watch for a review and fall in love with it straight away! Well, for me this was the case with the new Breitling Premier B15 Duograph. Released a day earlier than the Watches of Wonders in 2021, Duograph is a part of the Premier heritage line. Originally released in 1943, Duograph is a spilt second complication that pays tribute to three generations of inventors – Léon, Gaston & Willy Breitling. Breitling used the term ‘Duograph’ in 1940 which refer to the complication “Chronograph Rattrappante”.

Design:

Breitling Duograph is offered in stainless steel or an 18K Red Gold case. The case size is 42mm with a thickness of 15.3mm and lug to lug measurement of 50mm. The variant we are reviewing today is the stainless steel model with the sunray blue dial. 

Duograph had a fixed bezel and the Cambered sapphire (glareproofed both sides) acts as a bezel on its own. This Sapphire crystal top glass has a thickness of 3mm which adds to the overall thickness of 15.3mm. 

The Duograph crown is a non-screw-locked that operates with two gaskets with one purpose – just to adjust the time. Crown also has the integrated push-piece which is used for the split-second chronograph. 

Looking at the dial of the Duograph, what stands out the most, is the vintage-inspired hands and Arabic numerals sitting against the sunburst blue dial. The dial has two sub-dials placed at 3 and 9 o’clock showing the continuous running seconds (for timekeeping) and minutes elapsed (for the split-second chronograph) respectively. Other design cues that are worth noting are the grooves on both sides of the case, which adds a bit of character to the casing rather than being just plain. 

Movement:

The beating heart of the Duograph is a Breitling manufacture B15 manual wound movement. This COSC-Certified movement is based on the in-house designed B01 movement, which consists of 27 components, beating at 28,200 V.P.H and producing a power output of 70 hours. This B15 movement powers the time only function with the colour wheel split-second chronograph. 

Split-second chronographs are complicated movements in which in terms of manufacturing difficulty are on par with the tourbillons and minute repeaters. The idea of the split-second chronograph is to measure two elapsed times at once (indication of intermediate and split time), which showcases via two hands on the central chronograph. This specific B15 movement has two patents, one to simplify the mechanism and the other to improve accuracy. 

Turning the watch over, I got to enjoy the beautifully laid out movement on the caseback. Being a manual wound watch, there is no oscillating weight which means there is a sufficient amount of real estate to show off the B15 movement. 

On the wrist:

With dimensions of 42mm case size, 15.3mm case thickness and 50mm lug to lug, one might think that this watch is too big for an average-sized wrist. But let me tell you that on a 16.5cm (6.5inch) wrist, the 42mm case sits just right, even though with a 50mm lug to lug measurement, the curved lugs hug the wrist perfectly. 

My recommendation is to try one out, rather than make a decision based on the measurements. Who knows, you might be pleasantly surprised how well it wears on the wrist, despite many having some hate on the thickness of the watch.

I enjoyed looking at the applied Arabic numerals and vintage-inspired hands and how they reflect the light beautifully. To me, it didn’t feel like a 42mm watch. I have a Rolex Sky-Dweller which is also a 42mm case size and compared to the Sky-Dweller the Duograph looks smaller on the wrist. This is due to the fixed bezel and Cambered sapphire acting as a bezel. 

There are two things that bothered me with the Duograph. First, the cutout Arabic numerals on 2,4,8 and 10 o’clock. If Breitling decided to place small hour batons in lieu of cutout numerals, I think this would have looked much better. But of course, it’s my personal preference, one might actually like this layout as is. The second was, how I couldn’t see the tachymeter looking at the dial directly. I could only see the bottom half of the lettering and numerals. To see the tachymeter properly, I had to tilt the watch slightly. This is due to the curved shape of the sapphire crystal. To be honest, these are not deal-breakers, rather personal preferences and being too picky!  

I had the watch for almost a month and had the opportunity to wear this for a few different occasions. Being a sporty dress watch, one will tend to wear this to the office and formal/semi-formal events and while the watch may struggle to get under the shirt cuff due to its thickness, I had no issues wearing this everywhere else. Watch weighs just under 120grams (watch head weighing in just 97.7grams) and combine this with a 100m of water resistance, this watch can go to places. Mind you, we don’t recommend wearing this watch jumping into the pool. While the shiny curved alligator leather strap looks great with the watch, it won’t handle water very well. 

Operating the watch on the wrist was super easy, the non-screw-locked crown can be easily pulled out to adjust the time. To operate the split-second chronograph simply push the pusher at 2 o’clock. Once started, to use the split-second function simply push the pusher (sticking out of the crown at 3 o’clock). This pusher at 3 o’clock has two functions, to start the split-second chronograph and to reset. It’s worth noting that once the split-second chronograph is running pushing the pusher at 4 o’clock don’t reset the Split-second function, you have to push the pusher at 3 o’clock to reset. It sounds complicated but it’s super easy to use, just wait till you have a go at it!

Final thoughts:

Overall, the Duograph is beautifully designed with details detailing back to the 1940s. Well thought out functionality having integrated the split-second pusher to the crown as opposed to being placed at 10 o’clock. Priced at 13,390 AUD, I think it is a great price for a split-second chronograph. I can’t think of another brand producing this type of mechanism at this price point, so it’s a win for Breitling. As of late, Breitling is doing all the right things producing great timepieces and the addition of Duograph to the premier range balances off the collection perfectly. 

Reference: AB1510171C1P1

Specification:

  • Case: 42 mm, Lug-Lug 50mm and thickness 15.3mm
  • Case Material: Stainless Steel
  • Dial: Blue
  • Crystal: Cambered Sapphire, domed on both sides, anti-reflective coating inside
  • Water resistance: 100 meters
  • Movement: Breitling B15
  • Power reserve: 70 Hours
  • Strap: Curved Gold brown Alligator leather strap, Stainless Steel Folding Clasp

Australian Retail Pricing : $13,990.00 AUD

Availability: Available now

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