Breitling Opens Online Sales Boutique, and It Sucks. Bad.

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Half Star Rating

Breitling is one of the last Swiss watch brands I would expect to open up an e-commerce store.  I recall a time no too long ago when a visit to the Breitling website was prefaced with a cautionary note of the risks of buying Breitling watches online.  But now they’ve done it themselves — Breiting has opened an “online boutique.”  Yay, right?  Wrong.  You know what?  The Breitling online boutique sucks.  Bad.  Really — it’s not good.  Actually — it’s horrible.  

Or maybe I should say that the online store that Breitling (update:  available to United States purchasers only) has put together isn’t really that impressive — but that would given them too much credit:  it’s not impressive in the least.  I’m almost embarrassed for Breitling its so bad.  It’s something I might have expected from an underfunded e-commerce venture, oh, maybe a decade ago.  For brand that spends many tens of millions of dollars a year marketing its watches, it’s an abyssmal effort.   One can almost sense the reluctance behind Breitling’s decision to even go down this road.  But they have.

Where to begin.  Seriously, where to begin.  When I started out writing this article it was going to be positive, with lots of plaudits and kudos headed Breitling’s way.  But it took frighteningly little time on the Breitling online boutique to become frustrated and in a state of disbelief.  And so now I’m headed down a path that most definitely is going to make a lot of folks very unhappy.  But to those disappointed I say:  the truth sometimes hurts, and this is probably one of those times.  Let me just take you through what I experienced in about fifteen or so minutes of clicking around the new Breitling online boutique, trying it out.

*August 2015* Update:  Amazingly, Breitling still has NOT addressed many of the issues highlighted in my original report of April 15, 2015.  With a horrible user experience still in place, the Breitling online boutique thus remains as a very BAD example of how to do e-commerce in this day and age. 

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Breitling Launches the B55 “Connected Chronograph”, and It Looks Promising

First look…Breitling B55 connected watch and phone app

Watch fans and technophiles, the new B55 from Breilting looks like something to get excited about.  This could be the most exciting Swiss luxury “smartwatch” yet.  It is definitely an admirable step into the highly dynamic smartwatch arena.   Calling it “a new-generation connected chronograph”, Breitling has just unveiled what you might consider its version of the Swiss smartwatch.  Connected to a mobile app via Bluetooth, the B55 caliber is a souped-up build of Breitling’s B50 caliber (superquartz with electronic multifunction chronograph movement with analog and digital displays) which debuted in 2014.  My initial review of the functionality of this watch indicates that Breitling looks to have taken a very thoughtful approach to represent a luxurious yet practical Swiss-made smartwatch.  And design-wise, it looks great, with the solid build and technical-look that so many Breitling fans love and admire so much. I’ve never considered myself a Breitling die-hard, but already I could see myself owning a watch like this.

Scroll down for a full photo set + a great explanatory video.

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Weekend Watch: Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel for Jet Team American Tour

Breitling Chronomat 44 Blacksteel for Jet Team American Tour - Perpetuelle

To celebrate the historic first tour of the Breitling Jet Team in North America, Breitling is pleased to unveil the Breitling Jet Team American Tour Chronomat 44 Blacksteel timepiece in a limited edition of 500 pieces.  The new watch has a 44mm blacksteel case, onyx black dial, and distinct yellow accents, which mirrors the colors of the Breitling Jet Team’s fleet of seven L-39 C Albatros Jets that can reach speeds of up to 565 mph and 8G acceleration (click here for a neat interactive view of the formations and maneuvers performed by the prestigious aerobatic display team.)

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Baselworld 2015 Preview: The New Breitling Chronoliner Collection

Breitling Chronoliner wtih black ceramic bezel - Perpetuelle

With one of the strongest ties to aviation of any watch manufacturer, Breitling is well know for its range of pilot’s watches.  This year, Breitling will add to its lineup with the new Chronoliner.  Though inspired by a model from the 1950s and 60s according to Breitling, the first thing that jumped out at me was the ceramic bezel — certainly a trait of the modern watchmaking era and no doubt a long time coming for Breitling fans.

The watch is cased in steel and sized at 46mm, which is definitely large but not out of line for what we have come to expect from Breitling.  It has a second time zone marked by the red-tipped hand.   Breitling has opted for a black dial with contrasting subdials, hour/minute hands, and hour markers.

Breitling Chronoliner watch black - Perpetuelle

As with most everything Breitling does, the automatic mechanical Chronoliner caliber is COSC certified, though it does not appear to be from Breitling’s in-house range.

Breitling Chronoliner wtih bezel detail - Perpetuelle

The caseback bears the stylized planes that were a longtime Breitling signature.

Breitling Chronoliner caseback - Perpetuelle

Seen mostly here on a mesh bracelet, it will also be compatible with a full steel bracelet as well:

Breitling Chronoliner on different bracelets - Perpetuelle

Both combinations look good on first impression…More to come next month from Baselworld 2015.