The chronograph specialist Breitling is under the loupe with its Chronomat 44 Blacksteel Special Edition which offers a top level sporty appearance.
Breitling, which has been producing aviation inspired chronographs since 1884, continues to make a distinguished name for itself in the watchmaking industry with many firsts. The Chronomat Collectioni which is debuted in 1994, is one of them having the title of being the first model that is equipped with a "circular sliding calculator". Here we are with one of the most special versions from this unique collection.
Well, what distinguishes this timepiece from the other Chronomat models? Of course, the case and the highly contrasting bright yellow dial are the first ones to mention. Firstly, Blacksteel case models are classified under a special category within the Breitling product range. The brand's Blacksteel concept was born in 2008 with the Avenger Skyland model. In those years, I was quite impressed by that model thanks to my great interest about dark watches back in the day. Produced in limited edition with 2000 units, Skyland was a very attractive option for those looking for sporty themed watches with a 44mm case and red accents. In the following years Breitling produced many different Blacksteel models. If you wonder what has been changed during those 10 years, let me tell you; 1) I still like dark-colored models, but now I prefer to materials like ceramics or carbon rather than coated stainless-steel. 2) Breitling Blacksteel model family is still very impressive with its strong image.
Chromoat 44, as the name suggests, has a DLC-coated stainless-steel case with a diameter of 44mm. DLC (Diamond Like Carbon) is a PVD coating type which is basically coating the stainless-steel parts with a very hard alloy. Thanks to this coating, the surface hardness increases considerably compared to normal stainless steel. However, it is slightly different than you think in practice. Resistant to a certain degree of scratches, the coating and the case itself get damaged upon receiving stronger impacts. Unfortunately, standard polishing that restores the non-coated stainless-steel is not an option for those type of coatings. The only solution is removing the coating completely, restoring the case and re-DLC coating it again which is not quite preferred due to economic reasons and difficulty. If you are a careful user or simply don’t mind getting your precious timepiece scratched, let me tell you the advantages of DLC coating then. Today, the material that offers the nearest image to the DLC coated stainless-steel in watchmaking industry is ceramics. Due to its extremely hard nature, ceramic is much more resistant to scratches. Guess what happens to extremely hard objects when they are exposed to strong impacts? Yes, they break into pieces! Thousand-dollar timepieces that would break into pieces after getting hit hard by a door knocker OR shiny scratches over time? Choice is yours.
Let’s get back to the model, shall we. The 44mm diameter case measures 16.95mm meaning that it would suit better with a t-shirt or a sweater rather than a shirt’s sleeve. Double anti-reflective coated scratch resistant sapphire crystal on the front face provides a clean, reflection-free look. However, it is also prone to scratches due to the nature of the coating. The movement can also be enjoyed through the sapphire crystal display case back. The model is water resistant to 200 meters. To have this rating the sapphire crystals are supported with screw-in winding crown and chronograph pushers. The case sports a uni-rotational bezel though the bezel does not feature the diving scale.
Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel Special Edition is powered by the in-house Caliber B01 like the other models in the collection. 47 jewels self-winding movement beats at a frequency of 4Hz (28.800vph) and offers an impressive 70 hours power reserve time when fully wound, despite being equipped with a single barrel only. The Chronometer mark on the dial is a proud for the brand. The black sub-counters and the black date disk on the bright yellow dial are among the most beautiful details of the models.
The Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel Special Edition is offered on a black rubber strap as in other versions of the model family. The strap measuring 22mm x 20mm in width, which makes the users slightly nervous as it requires to be cut to be adjusted to desired length, is secured by a Breitling signed folding clasp made of Blacksteel like the case. The yellow accents on the sides and the inner part of the strap speak for themselves.