The Breitling B21 Top Time Classic Car Tourbillon merges haute horlogerie with an iconic vehicle One of the coolest pieces in the Swiss brand’s collection is the Breitling Top Time, a retro chronograph that pays homage to Breitling and automotive history. Nothing emphasizes this more than the 2021 Breitling Top Time Classic Cars Squad capsule collection, which dresses models in the iconic liveries of the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang and Shelby Cobra. Now, Breitling is back with the same concept, giving the engine of these watches a few tweaks with the new Breitling B21 Top Classic Car Tourbillon.
I think the easiest way to compare the new watches to the original capsule collection is that the originals were the track day versions of the watches, whereas these are the competition versions. The original trio was bright, vibrant and full of racing energy, with dual or triple computer monitors and steel casings. These new watches are a little darker, a little more refined, and have the bonnet opened to reveal the updated engine inside and its shiny new tourbillon, ready to be inspected for the Best of Show award.
While the overall aesthetic of the replica watch stores is generally the same, many details are slightly different. So, like good competition judges, I think each of them deserves individual consideration. Starting with the Top Time B21 Ford Mustang.
Breitling Top Time B21 Ford Mustang
The first of the new B21 Top Time Classic Car Tourbillon watches is the B21 Ford Mustang Edition, the smallest of the three models with a case diameter of 43 mm. It’s also the only model in the range to feature a bronze case, which looks great when bright and shiny and patinas over time, acquiring character like a classic car. The design of the case remains the same as the 2021 version, with a solid round shape, pump pushers, a sizable crown, and gently faceted lugs.
As for the dial, it’s a completely new display, with the eponymous tourbillon at 12 o’clock, a central display of hours, minutes and chronograph seconds, and finally a 60-minute chronograph counter on a square-shaped subdial at 6 o’clock. The entire display is surrounded by a peripheral speedometer. The dial of the Ford Mustang version is green with black subdials, bronze hands, bronze hour markers, and bronze subdials and tourbillon housing.
This is probably my favorite watch of the new trio. The combination of dark green and bronze works really well, and you don’t have to worry about the bronze color staining your skin since it has a titanium case back and a sapphire display window. Through this window, you can see the in-house B21 movement created by Breitling in collaboration with La Joux-Perret. It is an automatic tourbillon movement with column wheel chronograph, equipped with a horizontal clutch and is COSC chronometer certified.
Breitling Top Time B21 Shelby Cobra
Next up is the Top Time B21 Shelby Cobra, which is larger than a Mustang at 44mm in diameter and has a black ceramic case. I know I said these watches are more elegant than the original racing models, but that doesn’t mean they can’t be high-performance at the same time, and the ceramic cases are certainly high-performance, being extremely scratch-resistant, strong, and lightweight characteristic. The case design consists of a caseback, pushers and crown made of titanium.
Color-wise, it’s based on the 1962 Shelby Cobra and its blue livery, hence the blue dial. To me, it looks a few shades darker than the first top-shelf Shelby Cobra, and less saturated. This subtle change suits the piece perfectly, matching the new ceramic case. Additionally, the speedometer is now black instead of white.
One thing I’m a little sad about with the new watch is the omission of the automaker’s logo on the dial, which really adds to the automotive theme on the 2021 model. But on the other hand, if you’re not a car fan, you can have a cool blue tourbillon chronograph that requires no explanation. The tourbillon movement is still Breitling’s in-house caliber B21.
Breitling Top Time B21 Chevrolet Corvette
The final model in the Breitling B21 Top Time Classic Car Tourbillon series is the Top Time B21 Chevrolet Corvette. The case of this watch is the same as the Shelby model, made of ceramic and has a diameter of 44 mm. However, it is also the car that has changed the most compared to the first Corvette. Especially when it comes to dials.
Instead of a monotonous red color, the new piece features a walnut burl effect dial. That means it’s a textured brown designed to look like the interior of a 1960s Corvette Sting Ray. This is a huge difference that completely changes the aesthetics and style of the watch and really emphasizes the class, style and elegance of the classic car rather than its sportiness. The dial has silver accents.
Like all three quality replicas watches, it comes on a perforated leather strap in the classic style of a racing watch. Although with its sophisticated tourbillon mechanism, you may want to use this tourbillon to avoid harsh vibrations during competition. It’s better suited for courtside timing, or better yet for calculating the time leading up to the Best in Show awards ceremony.