The partnership between Breitling and Bentley Motors was established in 2003, and stands as the longest between a watch brand and a luxury automaker. At this year’s Geneva International Motor Show alongside the British marque’s launch of the Centenary Limited Edition Continental GT Number 9 Edition by Mulliner, it made absolute sense to have the Swiss watchmaker release a one-off creation. And we have the Breitling Premier Bentley Centenary Limited Edition.
The watch is offered in either an 18k rose gold or stainless steel case, and limited to 200 pieces of the gold edition and 1,000 of the steel. Its distinguishing feature, the one that links it to both the Continental GT Number 9 automobile and to Bentley racing history, is its brown elm burl dial, which matches the wooden inserts in the car’s dashboard. Those inserts come from the wooden seats of the legendary 1930 No. 9 Le Mans Blower Bentley race car, driven by Tim Birkin of the legendary Bentley Boys team, which Bentley restored as part of its centennial celebration.
The handsome wooden dial is enhanced with two subdials at 3 and 9 o’clock, for chronograph minutes and running seconds, respectively, a date window at 6 o’clock, and a white-on-black tachymeter scale, with the inscription “TACHYMETRE” in red, on its periphery. Sweeping over the dial, under a convex curved, nonreflective sapphire crystal, are a Super-LumiNova-coated hour and minute hand and a red-tipped chronograph counter hand. A special Bentley-branded plate is screwed to the left-hand side of the case.
The left-hand side of the case carries another aesthetic nod to history, with a plate engraved Bentley whose design echoes the look of the dashboard of the supercharged Blower Bentley of 1929. The brown leather straps on both the steel and gold versions of the watch are enhanced with a pattern and stitching reminiscent of those on classical Bentley leather seats. The watch’s engine is a self-winding movement, Breitling’s manufacture Caliber B01, on display behind a sapphire pane in the caseback. Equipped with a built-in column-wheel-controlled stopwatch function and certified for its chronometric performance by the Swiss testing agency COSC, the movement boasts a power reserve of 70 hours, or nearly three days.