Breitling’s B55 can’t control your music or show you directions to the nearest Steers, but that’s OK – it’s not pretending to be a smartwatch.
Instead, it’s a regular watch that’s decided to level up a bit and learn a few new tech tricks, without compromising on the design, durability and soul of a traditional mechanical watch.
The B55 is an electronic multifunction chronograph with both analog and digital displays, and can manage a host of aeronautical time functions, including measuring RPM with an electronic tachometer, a mission elapsed time counter, and a countdown/countup system. You can even record flight times, landing times and take-off times if you’re a pilot (or enthusiastic passenger). Oh, and you can set alarms too.
And as for what makes it a sort-of-smartwatch? Well, all of those functions are operated using a connected smartphone, which will be far less fiddly than using that watch’s buttons.
Inside, you’ll find Brietling’s “super quartz” movement, which is able to adjust for changes in temperature, providing accuracy that’s ten times more than a standard quartz watch.
The screen’s ultra-bright backlight automatically brightens up its two LED displays when its tilted at a 35-degree angle, and it can be juiced up via a magnetic charging connector when not in use.
It’s chunkier than any smart watch we’ve ever worn, and that’s just the way it’s meant to be. It’s a proper, rugged-looking mechanical timepiece, and we’d happily wear it on our wrists, sidelining our Android Wear devices for something hefty and substantial. We could have done without that blue wireless connection logo, though.
There’s no official price at the moment, but we expect Brietling to reveal more at Baselworld, so stay tuned.