One look at the Breitling Bentley Flying B and you know you have an unusual timepiece. The No. 3 is one of a series naturally, but of all the available options, it's far and away the most remarkable and visually arresting member of the group. Breitling has worked with Bentley before to create some absolutely breathtaking watches, but this is our favorite. From the unique face to the fine details, everything about it exudes elegance and class while maintaining a unique style all its own.
Breitling for Bentley: a Natural Pairing
If you're surprised that Breitling and Bentley are working together again, then you're a little behind the times. No worries, we'll bring you up to speed. It doesn't take long to realize that they are a peerless match. Both companies share a love of precision timing and an obsession with the clock that is unparalleled. Likewise, they each make a mundane machine into high art with their sophisticated dedication to merging technology and design. Though they only began working together in 2002, every successive model has been a testament to the pure genius of blending their style and mechanics together.
"To build a fast car, a good car, the best in its class.” -W.O. Bentley, Founder Walter Owen Bentley (W.O. to his friends and business associates) was from a large family. Being the baby out of nine children can make it challenging to establish your individuality, but not for this dynamo. Some people are made to play music or excel at a sport, but W.O. Bentley was a mechanical mind from the first. He even left school at sixteen to go and become an apprentice on the Railroad. His curiosity and genius showed in everything he built. However, before he could build his own cars, he worked with his brother as a car importer. Strangely enough, he created an 88/22 aluminum/copper alloy for better pistons because of a paperweight he picked up during a visit to France. The less dense material it was made from gave him the idea.
WWII changed the whole world, and Bentley knew he had to do his part. Instead of building cars, he got to work using his ingenious pistons to make better aircraft engines. It wasn't easy, wartime never is, but he managed to survive a strafing attack from Manfred von Richthofen aka The Red Baron during his time as a Captain in the Royal Naval Air Service. After the war ended, at the age of 31 (in 1919), he founded Bentley motors. Being both a luxury car company and building for speed is rare, but W.O. had a vision for The Flying B, and nothing was going to stop him from achieving it. In the 1920s Bently won at LeMans, beating cars like the Alfa Romeo and Ferrari who considered each other the only real competition. Two Hundred years later, Bentley is still making outstanding cars.
Founded in 1884, Breitling has something unusual in common with Bentley. You see, Léon Breitling was also a mechanical genius, albeit one who worked with much smaller parts. In fact, despite his patent and other accomplishments, he was best known for the timepieces he made for aviators. The shared history of flight transcends the mere love of mechanics and time and gives the two companies more shared history than it first appears.
In fact, the history of flight continued in yet another way. The Breitling company stayed within the family for decades. Through two world wars and beyond, the company prospered. However, the 1970s was an uncertain time. WIth the current owner, Willy Breitling aging and his children, Gregory and Alain still very young the Breitling company was sold. That might be the end of their story were it not for the fact that the new owner Ernest Schneider was known for his incredible scope of vision, plus the fact that he was a watchmaker and a pilot. Perhaps no more fitting sale could have been made to carry on the name and spirit of Breitling.
The Breitling Bentley Flying B No. 3
Interestingly, the collaboration between Breitling and Bentley began in 2003 the year they won yet another LeMans race, something which Bentley hadn't done in decades. It's no surprise that Breitling was inspired by the beauty and engineering of the incredible automobiles. Though the win wasn't assured, in 2003 when they began working together, representatives from Breitling went to LeMans with the Bentley team. They got to be present for the historic moment when Bentley won again and afterward, each Bentley driver was presented with the new Breitling for Bentley Motors (A25362) watch that marked the beginning of their partnership.mIt is, however, the Flying B No. 3 that is the most outstanding among all the Breitling for Bentley models. The stunning rectangular watch face gives a unique and streamlined look to the piece. The large stylized Roman numerals provide a hint of classic appeal while maintaining easy visibility. As is the case for all the Bentley edition Breitlings, the brilliance of the face design is in its mirroring of the Bentley dashboard.
Horology fans will understand why we like to give you all the details of these exceptional timepieces. The good news is that they're still in production so that you can get a brand new No. 3 for your Breitling for Bentley collection.
- Model: Flying B No.3
- Years: 2007-Current
- Gender: M
- Case Materials: Steel, 18k
- Movement: Breitling 16B
- Power Reserve: 42 Hours
- Water Resistance: 100 m
- Bezel: Fixed
- Crown: Screw-down
- Crystal: Sapphire
- Diameter: 51.40 x 34.50 mm
- Thickness: 13 mm
- Bracelet: steel or leather
- Lug Width: 22 mm
- Reference Numbers: A16362,R16362
Aviation lovers know who Bentley and Breitling are because of their unique contributions to flight. However, you don't have to have a plots license to appreciate a watch like this. One look and you'll fall in love with its incredible design. Breitling and Bentley were meant to work together. It's a bit like destiny when two companies strive for such similar goals and obsess over the same quality and attention to detail. Whether you drive a Bentley or aspire to, this watch is a must-have for any collector.
Written by Garrett Parker
Read more posts by Garrett Parker