A class of its own
The first chronographs with split-second hands appeared 130 years ago. This chrono- graph style has two stoppable second hands: one is borne along by the chronograph second hand. This “towed” hand can be halted as often as desired, for example to measure lap times. The movement achieves this by using a pair of pincers: when the additional column wheel for the split-second hands keeps the tips of the pincers spread, the twin hands sweep in unison around the dial. When the rattrapante button is pressed, the column wheel advances by one position, causing the arms of the pincers to press like a shoe brake against the wheel for the hands, instantly halting one of them. The reliability of the halt function is assured by fine teeth on the ends of the pincers and on the wheel for the twin hands, but tiny shudders can occur when the teeth mesh. Breitling’s new manufacture Caliber B03, which is protected by two patents, eliminates these judders. The indented rim of the wheel for the twin hands bears an O-ring made of nitrile rubber (NBR). The same material is used on the inner sides of the pincers, which face the O-ring. Material-inherent friction makes teeth unnecessary and enables the split-second mechanism to indicate elapsed intervals with greater precision. Another innovation in this intelligent module is a so-called isolator, which saves energy by completely separating the halted split-second hand from the chronograph mechanism. Using the split-second hand accordingly does not affect the balance’s amplitude. Despite its futuristic architecture, this intelligent module needs just 28 components. If any unanticipated flaws should arise, the entire module can therefore be quickly replaced. The new movement preserves the fundamental features of automatic Caliber 01 from which it is derived: its balance is paced at four Hertz, its power reserve is 70 hours, a column wheel controls its chronograph, and friction coupling is installed. The 45 mm Navitimer Rattrapante, which is water-resistant to three bar, comes in an unlimited version housed in a stainless steel case and in a limited series of 250 pieces in red gold.
Navitimer Rattrapante Limited EditionThe bronze-colored dial with the legendary circular slide rule offers another lovingly crafted detail: the B logo with anchor, which ordinarily adorns the Navitimer’s elapsed-seconds hand, is split here so one part can adorn each of the rattrapante hands. The logo’s two parts are separated when the rattrapante is halted, but the two elements conjoin to form the brand’s insignia when the hands are positioned one above the other.
- Materials: 18 k rose gold with rubber wristband
- Caliber: Automatic, manufacture Caliber B03
- Diameter: 45 mm
- Special features: Chronograph with rattrapante function, aviation slide rule, limited to 250 watches
- Wempe reference: BL520029