This is the Breitling Top Time Ford Thunderbird chronograph, it’s a recent release from the Swiss watchmaker designed in the spirit of the original Top Time chronograph that was introduced back in 1964.
The Top Time was first developed by Willy Breitling as a new type of chronograph aimed directly at the younger generation in Europe and across the Atlantic in the United States.
“Young people won’t buy the kind of watch dad wears. They will be interested in a competition watch with special dials and push buttons. A watch that will ‘impress the boys’ – a watch that is both impressive and really elegant.” – Willy Breitling
Earlier Breitling designs like the Navitimer had proven popular with celebrities and race car drivers like Miles Davis and Graham Hill, however a new design was needed that was a little more affordable and perhaps a little less complex.
The first Top Time designs were shown in 1962, with the watch then becoming available two years later. The fully functional chronograph proved popular with motorsport enthusiasts, and with sport enthusiasts in general – the world’s first quartz watch wouldn’t be introduced until 1969 with the Seiko Astron, so if you wanted a reliable chronometer you had to opt for something mechanical, and most likely Swiss.
Just a year after its release a Breitling Top Time was worn by Sean Connery as James Bond in the movie Thunderball. The watch had been specially customized for his mission by Q, including the addition of a Geiger counter.
This 007 appearance led to a surge in interest and sales for the Top Time watch series, and they remain one of Breitling’s most popular watch families to the modern day. The Breitling Top Time Ford Thunderbird is one of the new releases alongside the Top Time Chevrolet Corvette, the Top Time Shelby Cobra, and the Top Time Ford Mustang.
Each watch is customized to suit its automotive inspiration, with unique dials and colorways. The Top Time Ford Thunderbird has a red rally-style leather strap with a stainless steel buckle and a stainless steel case.
It has that famous Thunderbird logo on the dial just under the 12 o’clock position, three sub registers, a power reserve of 70 hours, a diameter of 41mm, and it’s powered by the Breitling 01 automatic mechanical chronograph movement.
If you’d like to read more about the watch or add one to your collection you can visit the store listing on Breitling here.
Images courtesy of Breitling
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