Breitling Celebrates 1960s American Sports Cars

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Photo credit: franz j. venzin
Photo credit: franz j. venzin

Breitling has announced a set of three new watches, inspired by classic American sports cars from the 1960s.

The watches are versions of the brand’s Top Time model, the racing chronograph it introduced for the emerging youth demographic that same decade. As Willy Breitling, grandson to the company founder Léon, said at the time: watches that were “particularly suited to the needs of the young and active professionals. We are designing a superb range of ultramodern chronographs, led by a completely new model, the Top Time.”

More recently the Top Time had been a hit with collectors and on the vintage market, helped by its distinction as a “Bond watch”, issued by Q to Sean Connery's 007 in 1965’s Thunderball, and its retro 'Zoro' dial.

It was reintroduced in a limited edition modern version in 2020.

This year's new range features the Top Time Chevrolet Corvette in red and black, based on the design of the Corvette C2 from the mid-1960s, noted for the groundbreaking aerodynamics of its exterior and sheer speed.

The green and brown Top Time Ford Mustang version, inspired by the sporty coupe and popular culture touchstone.

And the Top Time Shelby Cobra in blue and brown, in tribute to the design initiated by retired American racing driver and car designer Carroll Shelby, who contacted the British company AC Cobra asking if they'd modify their car for him, to feature a V8 engine.

Photo credit: Breitling
Photo credit: Breitling

The end of World War II put money in the pockets of blue-collar Americans and gave them a rising sense of optimism, as detailed in Tom Wolfe’s 1965 story The Last American Hero. Cars such as the Cobra and the Corvette “symbolised freedom” and the link has never really been broken.

The 42mm Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Mustang versions feature a tachymeter scale and three black contrasting sub-dials, plus the car's logo a 12 o'clock.

The 40mm Top Time Shelby Cobra features a white tachymeter scale and two white contrasting sub-dials, plus the Cobra logo at 6 o’clock.

All three have the relevant car’s logo etched on the stainless-steel back and come with racing-style perforated leather straps.

£4,360; breitling.com

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