Watch Review: Breitling Premier B01

Chrestomath
3 min readOct 8, 2021

The B01 chronograph from Breitling is an underrated gem. I say this from my long experience searching for the perfect panda chronograph. I love panda chronos because it’s a timeless design that looks great with a black suit. I tend to dress in mostly white and black so these watches get a good amount of wrist time from me.

I started first by considering the Rolex Daytona, naturally. I had devised a rather involved scheme for getting one from a Rolex AD. Then I had the chance to try one on and examine it at length. The experience killed my interest as I found I didn’t like the size, the curvy and somewhat feminine look, and the screw down pushers.

I considered as a cheaper option a Hamilton Intra Matic. It’s a lovely watch with a very cool retro vibe, but ultimately I ended up selling it due to not liking the lugs and the thin, rattly case feel. I also briefly considered getting an Omega racing Speedmaster, but ruled it out pretty quickly as I already have two other Speedmasters.

So finally it came down to the Breitling Premier B01 and the new Tudor Black Bay chronograph. So what allowed the Premier to beat out Rolex’s more affordable and super popular little brother?

Three points:

  1. Both the Breitling and the Tudor actually use the same Breitling movement. Only difference is that on the Breitling you get a nice display case back to let you actually enjoy it.
  2. The design of the Breitling is more appealing to me. The Tudor is clearly trying to ape the Daytona to some degree with its bezel. In truth I don’t much like big chunky bezels on chronographs. Furthermore I never loved the Tudor snowflake hands and ultimately the white dot indices are less readable on a white dial than Breitling’s black sticks. What’s more the proportions on the Tudor feel off. The vibe of the Breitling feels more vintage — like an old school instrument watch. That’s my vibe. Old school.
  3. Price and availability. It’s funny too because the Breitling actually has a much higher retail price. Yet I was able to easily pick it up at 50% discount brand new. The Black Bay Chrono, by contrast, is taking a page from the Rolex playbook. If you’re not on the celebrity list, don’t expect to have a chance at buying it at retail direct from the authorized dealer. Thanks to the 50% markup you’ll pay at least $3000 more on the grey market for the privilege of owning “the other Daytona.”

Breitling is more than a match for Rolex and Tudor when it comes to chronograph heritage. They are responsible for the basic layout and user experience of modern three pusher chronos. Sporting a newly developed in house movement the Premier B01 is just as accurate as the Black Bay and Daytona. It’s also got a more pleasant action and better usability thanks to not having to unscrew the pushers.

I work in technology and chronos are often work watches for me. As a result I prefer wearing them on a strap as they are more comfortable and I don’t have to worry about scratching them. On the dark grey canvas strap the Premier B01 is quite handsome. Not being an Omega, Rolex, or Tudor, it’s a bit of a dark horse pick and that’s just the way I like it. It flies nicely under the radar as a proper enthusiast watch that punches well above its weight.

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Chrestomath

“If you wish to be a writer, write.” ~ Epictetus