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Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection: The Thunderbird Enters The Race

Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection: The Thunderbird Enters The Race


The Top Time Classic Cars Capsule collection, launched in 2021, is now enjoying an update with the introduction of a new and improved “engine”, the manufacture calibre 01. In addition, thanks to a renewed collaboration, Breitling is introducing a brand-new version of a chronograph in collaboration with Breitling and Ford, the Thunderbird edition.

The Top Time Classic Cars Capsule from Breitling, launched in 2021, celebrates American automotive culture with three different chronographs, each inspired by different car models from the 1960s. The 1960s was a decade shaped by pleasure and freedom. Willy Breitling, the grandson of Breitling’s founder, wanted to create a chronograph that reflected the spirit of this era: the Top Time.

With the 1960s-inspired Top Time Classic Cars Capsule collection, the company aims to create just that feeling, according to CEO of Breitling Georges Kern explains. It has fast become one of Breitling’s best-selling collections. The chronographs already existing in the collection draw inspiration from the Shelby Cobra, Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Mustang car models. Accordingly, the timepieces share similarities in terms of colourful design, aesthetics and functionality. Like, for example, the image of the logo of the respective vehicle on the dial.

Breitling Top Time Ford Thunderbird

The Ford Thunderbird was launched at the Detroit Auto Show in 1954. The vehicle was intended to guarantee an enjoyable driving experience and was characterised by elegant, luxurious design, solid construction and a striking tailfin (an important design feature at the time). Although the car was equipped with a V8 engine, the Thunderbird was less about life in the fast lane and more about having a comfortable and stylish driving experience. The first two generations of models remain the most desired by collectors. The ‘Classic Bird’ (1955-1957), a two-seater known for its porthole windows, and the ‘Square Bird’ (1958-1960), a four-seater that became one of the pioneers of mass-produced personal luxury cars.

The case of the Thunderbird Chronograph

The Breitling Top Time Ford Thunderbird has a 41 x 13.8 mm stainless steel case with a fixed bezel and offers a water resistance of up to 100 metres. While keeping the traditional structure of a chronograph, Breitling also integrate Gaston Breitling’s distinctive pusher at 2 o’clock and Willy Breitling’s pusher at the 4 o’clock. The crowns are not screwed down, but are rather fitted with two gaskets that contribute to the watch’s resistance. Finally, the case of the Top Time Classic Cars watch is adapted to accommodate the new calibre.

The dial of the Ford Thunderbird Chronograph

Like its predecessors, the new Ford Thunderbird Chronograph bears the logo of the car model on the dial, this time in blue teal. For improvement in legibility, the hands relating to the chronograph are red. The small seconds hand on the subdial-counter at 9 o’clock is dark green. All hands are coated with Super-LumiNova, underlining the innately functional character of the chronograph watch. In addition, the subdials have a rectangular, rounded shape reminiscent of the dashboards of classic automobiles. Last but not least, Breitling protect the dial as well as the caseback with sapphire crystal, allowing for a view of the movement within.

The Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01

A real novelty in the Top Time Classic Cars Capsule collection is Breitling’s manufacture movement Calibre 01, launched in 2009. First put to use in the Ford Thunderbird Chronograph, it is also to become a replacement for the manufacture calibre 25 present in the other models. The self-winding calibre winds in both directions, and has a power reserve of 70 hours as well as a 5-year guarantee. Of course, this movement is also COSC-certified, and has also been subjected to a series of tests, from shock-resistance to winding. Finally, the calibre has a frequency of 4 Hz.

Price & Availability

The new B01 calibre models and the new Top Time Ford Thunderbird will be available from March 21, 2023. The Top Time Ford Thunderbird Chronograph is available with a red calfskin strap with folding clasp at a price of 7,550 euros. As an alternative to the leather strap, Breitling also offer a Milanaise stainless-steel bracelet with a double-folding clasp.

BRAND Breitling
MODEL Top Time Ford Thunderbird
REFERENCE AB01766A1A1X1 or AB01766A1A1A1
CASE MATERIAL Stainless steel
DIMENSIONS Diameter: 41 mm
Height: 13.8 mm
WATER RESISTANCE 100 m (~10 bar)
DIAL White
STRAP/BRACELET Red calfskin strap with folding clasp, Stainless steel milanaise bracelet with double folding clasp
MOVEMENT Breitling Manufacture Calibre 01
MOVEMENT TYPE self-winding mechanical, bidirectional with ball bearing
FREQUENCY 4 Hz (28.800 vph)
FUNCTIONS Hours, minutes, seconds