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By-Tor

Review of Breitling Windrider Chronomat B01

36 posts in this topic

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When was the last time I reviewed a new replica watch? Yes, I have reviewed watches like Skyland v2 but that's like yesterday's newspaper... I mean a new model, something that hasn't been around for long. I didn't remember so I had to go back to my section and find out.

It was January 2009, WM9 Submariner v2. It's been that long. After that I have only purchased gens and only a few good old rep models, like the Skyland v2. Actually I also bought a BCE Graphite v3 but sold it within a week. That was a nice rep but not quite for me.

B01 is now the "flagship" model of the whole Breitling range because it's the first mass produced Breitling that has an inhouse movement. It's not built around 7753, it's completely inhouse.

There aren't many practical reasons for this as ETA 7753 is a proven workhorse, but in the purists' eyes this will will move B01 to the same playing ground with watches like Zenith and Rolex Daytona. No wonder the price tag is high: Stainless Steel B01 retail price is $7690. The luxury watch price consist of many things, image is one very important reason, and inhouse movement is the "ultimate orgasm" in the purists' world. Sense has often little to do with it.

B01 doesn't seem to have a big following in the rep boards. Actually when we made this poll about the most popular Breitling model, it got ZERO votes. Why is that? The replication itself can't be the reason, it's very good and accurate, and the only notable issue is the unavoidably recessed datewheel.

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I think people simply shy away from this watch because of its non-conservative design traits: The huge blobby pearl, weird datefont, Sci-Fi bezel font, bezel itself (which is all polished) and weird bracelet/non-SEL combo are definitely a departure from classic sports chronographs. Watch buyers are very conservative, the more adventurous models rarely have a mass appeal. It'd be interesting to know how much the genuine has been selling. I have a feeling that B01 might become a commercial flop.

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I can't blame the members, my first impression of Chronomat B01 wasn't positive, either. I never thought I'd buy one. But strangely enough this watch started to grow on me, and when I first saw proper pictures of it I already liked it. Weird how that happens, huh? Maybe I didn't "love" it like I love my Aquaracer or SMP Chrono but at least it was different. My collection has always been full of brushed steel diver watches... I don't know how many Subs, GMTs, Planet Oceans and Steelfishes I have owned. So why not try something different for a change?

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I had one thing in mind, I wanted another Breitling but this time it had to be with the Pilot bracelet. Blackbird (which is truly one of my favorites) was my first option. But PT said that he doesn't trust the movement and his customers have had some bad experiences with it, I decided to pass. Since those old and outdated Navitimer replicas leave a lot to be desired and I really dislike the big and sloppy lume tabs on BCE reps I decided to go for B01.

First I ruled out all nice and adventurous colors. The "Mirage red" and "Amber" versions are way too garish. Then I had to rule out the blue dial versions. Not because I don't like them (you know how much I love the blue dials) but because the rep blue dials are once again totally inaccurate. This is an unfortunate fact... the rep dial colors (other than black) are rarely accurate. And besides, when you choose the black version the recessed dw is not a big deal (black on black). It's not noticeable (except from the angles I intentionally photographed this watch) and not worth stressing about, imho. Live a little, worry less and enjoy your reps.

We discussed this model with other RWG members and came to the conclusion that the best rep option for B01 is the Onyx black version. Go for sticky or Roman numerals one, they're both as nice with very few flaws. Personally, I prefer the Roman version. Breitling dials are traditionally busy and the Roman numerals somehow it gives the dial "fuller" and more "Breitlingsque" appearance. Although I gotta admit that the end result is kinda weird mix: The bezel has the Atari Asteroids font and the dial utilizes "ancient" Roman numbers. But that's exactly why B01 appeals to me: It's different, it's like the designers had been on acid. Grateful Dead produced a lot of crap and musical meatloaf on acid but some good stuff too... I think B01 falls to the latter category. It's a bit crazy but it works.

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When people collect reps longer many change their priorities over the years. For me the build quality has become much more important than some miniscule accuracy things, like serial numbers, etc. I mean who gives a **** unless you're trying to scam someone on Ebay.

My good forum friend Importr (the guy I bought my Skyland v2 from) said that B01 is extremely well built replica with instant quality feel. He has owned many gen Lings and pretty much all Breitling replicas ever produced so I took his word for it. That was definitely true, the bracelet is excellent, the clasp is excellent and the steel really shines and sparkles.

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I never fully understood why so many people prefer their Lings on a strap. For me, the Breitling steel bracelets are one of the main attraction. By the way, genuine spare stainless steel bracelet for B01 costs over $1K retail. A friggin' stainless steel watch band! And no, they're not larger than life. My rep Pro2 is almost as nice as my gen. Breitling spare parts prices are totally outrageous. Maybe they want to approach Rolex in this sense too, and become shameless, arrogant bloodsuckers.

I went for the "Ultimate 316L" version which was more expensive but I have always bought only the best. I haven't seen the standard version so I can't verify that the "Ultimate" is actually any shinier or nicer. I'm a bit skeptical about the whole "Ultimate" thing, really... and I have a small suspicion that there might be no difference in the steel quality between the standard one. Maybe it's just a typical gimmic from our Chinese friends? It'd be nice to know though. All I know that this one really sparkles. I also heard the bezel rider tabs are removable on the Ultimate.

Do I like it? Yes I do. Will this watch have a long-term appeal? I don't know, time will tell. When you get a new watch, there's always the "honeymoon" with it and you can't tell immediately. But usually in a few months you'll know for sure... but so far so good. The flaws (besides the recessed dw) are minimal and almost not even worth discussing about. I'm sure there's some (maybe a missing seconds marker or stuff like that, etc.) but I don't really care. I couldn't spot anything worth mentioning. The only small complaint is the double-AR, which is good but not quite as strong as my gen Fish or v2 Skyland.

Here you can see some gen vs. rep comparisons that I composed. In the first photo the Roman numerals look thinner on the gen.

REP vs. GEN COMPARISON.

Now look at these genuine photos that I have found on the Internet. The numbers look thicker than in the factory pic. The square lume markers at '12, '3 and '9 are a bit smaller on the rep. The rep pearl is also a bit smaller.

GEN REFERENCE PHOTO 1.

GEN REFERENCE PHOTO 2.

How should we categorize this watch? It's definitely not a traditional sports chronograph with all that bling and fully polished areas. But then again it's not "men's jewellery" either... at least not in the same way that a diamond bezel Breitling would be. But if an all-stainless steel watch can be considered "blingy", then B01 is exactly that. I can't imagine anyone wanting to use B01 for diving or for any other extreme activites. If you're rough on your watches, this is definitely not a watch for you, I'm sure B01 is a serious scratch magnet. The way I see it, B01 is a "special occasion" dress watch, designed to be worn with a suit... maybe in the same boat with Ulysse Nardin MM Chrono, Omega DeVille, Rolex Yacht-Master and the old Chronomat Evolution.

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Even with all the design weirdness, I like this much more than the standard BCE. It's much cooler, although I'm still not a huge fan of how the bracelet attachs to the watch (without SELs). But if you throughly examine the whole Breitling range, you'll realize that Chrono Avenger/Super Avenger/Skyland (+ all the special editions) aren't that much different from eachother. Same could be said about all the old Chronomat variations. There are lots of these and they're all basically the same 7750-based watch with similar case, bezel and everything. It's a bit boring, really... of course all watch brands are guilty of this same thing in some degree, but I'm still happy that Breitling had guts to be different with B01. It's probably not a watch for everyone but then again neither are the PloProf or Panerai.

The replication is really good and like I said previously, it screams quality in every way. This particular factory (same one that produces all those amazing TAG reps) can produce some outstanding stuff, we have seen it many times in the past few years. And if you consider the gen, there is no better "test drive" than this rep. If you're a Breitling fan, you simply HAVE to get this one, it's much nicer (in the flesh) than you think. This one gets a big thumbs up from ole' By-Tor.

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SMALL WALLPAPER SIZE.

Thanks to Precious Time (UK) for another perfect EU-delivery. He has never failed me. The watch is perfect without any QC issues once again.

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Great review, thanks.

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By-Tor's back. :notworthy:

Been quite some time, no? You make me wanna get another 'Ling, mate! :p

Seriously, I have run out of superlatives to describe your reviews.

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Thanks Gents.

One thing still: The bracelet had 2-3 stiff middle links as usual, and oiling and bending/twisting these problematic links for 100-200 times fixed all problems with it. It's now smooth as silk and feels like the gen. It's very nice, heavy and substantial bracelet.

But of course it requires the usual rep bracelet treatment, I didn't even bother to mention it in the review.

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Very interesting read. I've been looking at this from afar for a while. Might just take the plunge now!

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very cool review, great stuff, i also have to say that i like this watch, but i just feel a bit to young for it :lol: realy thats the only reason why i didnt bought one :pardon: but this is just me :)

it looks very nice and thanks for writing this up for us :)

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Been waiting for this one... :whistling:

Another EXCELLENT review, BT...thanks!... :drinks:

still on the fence with this piece... :g:

but at least we have your excellent decision anchoring review... :good:

R-

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For me the build quality has become much more important than some miniscule accuracy things, like serial numbers, etc. I mean who gives a **** unless you're trying to scam someone on Ebay.

+1.

I've really been looking forward to seeing this review inevitably pop up after hearing you took the plunge. Until this, there was maybe ONE good picture of this rep in the wild, and it was on leather.

Breitling dev's on acid, eh? That certainly sums up the B01 to a degree.

Well then. Hopefully no fungi were harmed in the making of this great review. :D

Oh, and.. I like it!

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Thanks for the excellent review BT!

Knowing what ETA is doing (reduce their movement supply to third parties from 2008 to 2010, and after 2010 stop supplying movements, this would give time for other watchmakers to get independent from ETA), Breitling seems to be doing what they need to do. I'm not surprised after 2010, all breitling chronograph models will sport this movement or another in-house one. I just feel bad for the smaller legit guys. They don't have the $$ for their movements.

HackR, I hear you man. I'm on the fence too. Still trying to get use to the recessed dw.

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Great review, terrible watch :lol:

Thanks for taking the time.

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Great review, terrible watch :lol:

Thanks for taking the time.

Thanks for the honest feedback. :D

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very cool review, great stuff, i also have to say that i like this watch, but i just feel a bit to young for it :lol:

Yeah I know what you mean.

It might be blingy but not even nearly as "ostentatious" as something like Two-tone Rolex Submariner, for example. That's the only watch I felt a bit embarrassed of wearing... it was just too much.

This is just steel bling, which doesn't quite qualify to the Pimp Club, imho. :D

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Great review BT of one you don't see or hear much about.

The modern design is growing on me but still on the fence about most of the Breitling designs

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Great review BT of one you don't see or hear much about.

Thanks D.

This was the biggest watch release for Breitling, maybe in its entire brand history (due to the new inhouse movement).

But you're right, you don't hear much about it. Not in gen or rep forums. Gens I understand as it's very expensive watch but the rep is only a few hundred bucks and extremely well done.

Maybe the design takes some time to adapt from the fans, or then it'll be a huge flop.

I don't really care either way. I like it. :)

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EXCELLENT REVIEW BT

Cheers mate...

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Why is it that you can make any watch look mouthwateringly edible?!!

As usual, fantastic pics BT. :)

You're right, it is most definately a dressy watch....and probably an occasional dress watch for those that would normally wear sporty watches all the time. The choice of a single uniform dial colour gives it a more restrained look... I suppose contrasting subs would clash terribly with the Romans.

It is undeniably, a very well made rep. The attention to detail and finish has been very high. The makers knew they had to get this one right. A non-WIS could mistake this for gen. A gen Rolex owner at work thought mine was! Tiny insignificant flaws that you mentioned are a non-issue if you already like the B01.

BT, I get the sense that you're still waiting for it to grow on you. You're not raving about it like the Skyland etc. I was like that too. After all the anticipation of waiting for it, and it finally arriving, I knew straight away that it would take a bit of time. I wore it continuously for 2 weeks on different strap combos and i did like it. These days though, I've been wearing less conspicuous watches. Maybe I need to dress up more! lol

Anyway, thanks for your efforts and insight again! :)

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thanks for this great review :thumbsupsmileyanim:

By-Tor is back

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BT, I get the sense that you're still waiting for it to grow on you. You're not raving about it like the Skyland etc. I was like that too. After all the anticipation of waiting for it, and it finally arriving, I knew straight away that it would take a bit of time.

Actually no. I like it a lot. I tried to write the review with a neutral attitude, from a "members' view" because I know how much some people loathe this watch.

Frankly, I don't fully understand it. The big pearl, for example, looks much better in person and I actually LIKE it now that I have the watch. The replication and the pearl accuracy is superb... if the execution were sloppy, it would probably ruin the whole watch. But no... it's great, smooth and symmetric. Even in huge zoomed photos. I'm really surprised how well they made it.

In my eyes this is more flashy BCE... it wears similarly but sparkles and shines more. The dial numerals look amazing in daylight... very flashy. I found the BCE a bit boring to be honest. At least the stick version... and as I said the lume sticks aren't that great on reps. Those bothered me 10 times more than the recessed dw does... BCE sticks are a good example of a sloppy dial execution and typical rep quality. I'm surprised that people don't mind... but they're absolutely obsessed about recessed DW, or those small Skyland lume dots... you can't even see those Skyland dot misalignment with a naked eye. Like I said, the build quality has become my first priority with reps. It's much more important than small accuracy issues.

Like I said, my only beef is the new style of Pilot bracelet which has no SELs. The new Bentley 6'75 uses it too. I haven't gotten used to it yet... but since this watch has SO many little characteristics that none of my other watches have, I don't mind.

I think it's a keeper. I think you should stick with yours too. :)

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Thanks for the writeup. Nice to read a By-Tor review again! :)

I am still on the fence about this. No doubt an excellent replication, but like many others, I am not a great fan of the overall design.

Wear it in style! :)

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Thanks for another outstanding review By-Tor,well done sir :good: I think that this a a very nice looking piece and a very well replicated one at that. I do like my watches a little bigger,45mm-48 Is the norm for me. It does look very good on your wrist. I also feel that this watch could be dressed down with a nice pair of jeans. I also agree with you on the build quailty aspect. The quailty of a good rep with a few minor flaws Is no big deal. I wont rule this Breitling out as furture purchase. Thanks again By-Tor for the fine review :) Mike

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Thanks all for the comments.

King has the new light blue MOP deal for sale, so that has been repped too. I seriously doubt the dial itself is that great of a replication but it's finally out anyway.

http://www.kingwatches.net/

Edit: Kings pics don't work for me. I can see only the preview.

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How the hell did I miss this? :bangin:

Great review. I have really warmed up to the B01 since its release. That is a lot for me being a Breilting design purist as this watch is such a departure. The dial layout and design as drawn me past the blob for a pearl and bezel font. I have not had a rep Ling for a while and might consider test driving one of these before laying down my hard earned money for the gen. Really on the fence though which one (rep or gen) I would get. Either Blue w/silver or Blue w/black....of course I am going through a slate grey phase lately. :whistling:

I wish Breitling would get their movement into more of their watches as it has all the right things going for it over 7750. I have heard some rumblings about them experimenting with taking the beat rate up to 36.6K. :Jumpy:

Great review BT...sorry I missed it. :drinks:

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Thanks Mike. And no worries about missing it. LOTS of people seem to have missed it. :D

I think old fashioned watch reviews like this are yesterday anyway. Back in 2006 they generated thousands of views and LOTS of interest, now I'm lucky if I get 1/10 of that... a few hundred. All replies come from the best forum friends and that's it.

And even for that view count I have to bump it two-three times after the release. It's quite surprising. B01 might not be everyone's cup of tea but it's still one of the very few new recent replica models from the major 5 brands (Rolex, Omega, Breitling, IWC and TAG Heuer). Maybe among the top-5 biggest rep releases from China this year. But these writeups simply don't seem to interest people anymore. I'm quite puzzled why.

And it's not just my reviews, it's the same thing with all other big reviews by members that I've seen recently. Some big ones go completely unnoticed.

I'm not complaining at all, it's probably normal "evolution" (no pun) or whatever... maybe video reviews is the next "big thing"?

Well back to the topic... I suggest you go for the black one. Blue colors are totally off (based on what I've seen). From gens the blue dial with black subdials is my #1 favorite but the rep dial color seems to be way off. I like my B01 quite a lot. Definitely nicer and flashier than the standard BCE (just imho).

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Great review!

Not having too much luck finding this "ultimate" version.

Do you have a link to a website where I could pruchase

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The big numbers on the bezel give it a futuristic style. It can be nice if you combine it with a non-numeric dial.

Haven't seen any sale numbers of the gen so don't know how popular it truly is.

Edited by Revano

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