Published on January 26th, 2015 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Breitling Transocean Chronograph, Reliving The 1915 Push-Piece
One century ago, Swiss watch brand Breitling created the first independent chronograph push-piece. To celebrate this milestone invention that was to change the face of the chronograph, the brand is introducing a limited series of its Transocean model, with an exclusive new Manufacture Breitling caliber and an unusual design reinterpreting the famous 1915 push-piece.
Pocket chronographs had only one push-piece, housed in the crown and successively handling the start, stop and zero-reset functions. In 1915, Breitling – a specialist in technical watches – was one of the very first brands to offer a wrist chronograph. But in relocating it from the waistcoat pocket to the wrist, the firm introduced an innovation that did not go unnoticed. The founder’s son, Gaston Breitling, came up with the ingenious idea of ensuring a clearer separation of functions by creating a push-piece independent of the crown to control the three chronograph operations. Keen to ensure smooth, ergonomic handling, he chose to place the push-piece at 2 o’clock, where the thumb or forefinger naturally rests, whether the watch is on the wrist or held in the palm of the hand. In 1923, Breitling perfected this system by separating the stop/startfunctions, governed by the push-piece at 2 o’clock, from the crown-activated zero resetting.
This patented innovation would enable users to add up several successive times without needing to reset the hands to zero – whether timing a sports competition, a scientific process or a flight time. Finally, in 1934, Breitling took the final step in shaping the modern face of the chronograph by creating the second independent push-piece exclusively intended for zero-resetting. This patented invention was soon adopted by all its competitors.
To celebrate this major milestone in its history, and the history of watchmaking, Breitling has created the Transocean Chronograph 1915. Far from contenting itself with a mere re-edition of the original model, the firm has chosen to reinterpret it from both technical and aesthetic angles. The steel case, designed in the pure style of the Transocean collection, features the famous push-piece at 2 o’clock, but expressed in a redesigned, elongated and smoothly integrated form that further enhances its functionality.
To ensure that this single push-piece can successively handle the start, stop and zero-reset functions, the Breitling watchmakers and engineers have developed the new hand-wound Manufacture Breitling Caliber B14, officially chronometer certified, equipped with a clever two-tiered double column-wheel system activated by chronograph controls also arranged on two levels.
A patent has been filed for this innovative construction. The twin-zone silvered dial with small seconds and 30-minute counter is adorned with large Arabic numerals and baton type hands accentuated by a luminescent coating in an appealing patinated shade. A vintage touch reinforced by the historical Breitling signature and the steel mesh bracelet.
A sapphire caseback enables one to admire the unusual construction of the mono-pusher chronograph movement, along with the “100e anniversaire 1915-2015” (100thanniversary 1915-2015) engraving. This model is issued in a limited series of 1,915.
Manufacture Breitling Caliber B14, officially chronometer-certified by the COSC
High frequency (28,800 vph)
Over 70-hour power reserve
1/4th of a second chronograph and 30-minute totalizer
Steel, limited series of 1915
Water-resistant to 100 m (330 ft)
Convex sapphire crystal, glare-proofed on both sides
Transparent sapphire crystal caseback
Diameter: 43 mm
Leather, crocodile leather/Ocean Classic (steel mesh)