There is no denying that 2020 has been a year of unprecedented change withing the watch industry. Large scale global lockdowns, widespread toilet paper chaos and an industry wide shift away from traditional tradeshows, have made this year uniquely challenging for all brands within the luxury sector.
With the cancellation of Baselworld at the start of the year, brands were left scrambling to find new ways of getting their watches into the minds and hands of consumers.
In April 2020, Breitling took on the mantle of trailblazer for the larger Swiss manufacturers, launching an entirely fresh digital marketing campaign to launch their watches. The move to digital was both long overdue, and welcomed en-masse.
The brand kicked off the year with a bang, announcing three new releases, and a fourth rather special variation on an old favourite.
The Breitling Navitimer received a 35mm variant, targeted towards female wearers but none the less wearable for the slighter wristed gentleman. The refreshingly slim timepiece featured some of the most gorgeous dials released this year, with the sunray blue and copper dials stealing the show.
The all-new Breitling Chronomat featured similarly delicious dials, reviving the line with the B.01 calibre and reintroducing the bullet style bracelet. A watch that has seen more iterations and variations than any other the brand offers, the new look Chronomat is hopefully here to stay.
The third watch to launch in April was the Superocean Heritage 57, a tasteful homage to the inception of the Superocean line which looked back to surf culture of the 1950s and 60s. This watch oozed retro cool vibes, with its clean no date dial, and large indices, all flanked by a slick, sloping bezel giving the watch its iconic ‘dish’ design.
But as cool as the Heritage 57 was, Breitling had another trick up their sleeve in April. A boutique only limited to only 250 pieces, Superocean Rainbow. This watch was an absolute dream for collectors, the rainbow gradient of the hour markers and hands, ensured this watch sold out worldwide in a matter of hours.
Not content to lead the way and let the rest catch up, in August Breitling boosted their professional line up further, by introducing the Endurance Pro. A range of “SuperQuartz” chronograph watches, aimed squarely at those with an athletic lifestyle. The watch blends high precision and innovative technologies, whilst also boasting a fun and quirky aesthetic thanks to the range of colourways on offer.
The brand finally came to a halt with the last release in their 2020 schedule, offering a paired down and more modest variation of the new Chronomat. Here the watch forgoes the larger 42mm pieces chronograph to create a more uniform transition of case and bracelet. The Chronomat 36 and 32 gave those who loved the new bullet bracelet, but couldn’t fit into the large 42mm case, a chance to rock the look.
Breitling has had enormous success in 2020, by showing the traditionally slow changing Swiss watch industry how to innovate and move with the times. Their all-digital launch in April put the brand in good stead moving forward, and they were able to keep one foot in front of the other without any major stumbles.
We are looking forward to see how Breitling follow up in 2021.