In 2013, Breitling added a new addition to its portfolio of world-class watches with the Breitling Bentley GMT Light Body, a lightweight titanium watch featuring a chronograph and GMT function. Inspired by the quintessential British chic of the Bentley car, the watch is characterized as much by its extreme comfort and elegance as it is by its dual time zone adjustment and featherweight titanium case. With an innovative design featuring asymmetrical lugs, a sophisticated dial with a stamped or open-worked raised motif, and a sporty black rubber strap, this is a watch built for speed… and for the men who love it. It’s not, however, a watch for the stingy – with an average price of between $6-7000, you’ll need some serious savings to get your hands on (or in) one. To find out if it’s worth the cost, let’s take a closer look at what makes the Breitling Bentley GMT Light Body so desirable.
Since its inception in 1884, Breitling has been producing some of the world’s finest, and most desirable, timepieces. Founded in Saint-Imier by Léon Breitling, the company passed through several generations of the Breitling family before being acquired by the Schneider family in 1979. In 2017, Theodore Schneider sold 80% of the company to CVC Capital Partners in a deal worth a reported $870 million, leaving the Schneider family with a minority interest of 20%. The company has stood the test of its many hand-changes, retaining its reputation as a manufacturer of premium quality watches whose superlative functionality is matched only by their superb aesthetics.
In 2013, Breitling and Bentley Motors celebrated their 10-year partnership with the release of 3 new chronographs: the Bentley B04 GMT Light Body (our guy), the Bentley B05 Unitime, and the Bentley B06 (based on COSC Certified Breitling Calibre B04, B05, and B06 respectively). In contrast to the B04 (which was built with the business traveler in mind), the B05 Unitime was designed for the needs of the leisure traveler, offering an instant reading of the time in any of the world’s 24 time zones, a 70-hour power reserve, and an elegant design featuring a royal ebony or artica dial, and a strap in a choice of rubber/speed, crocodile leather, or leather. The Bentley B06, meanwhile, encapsulated the Bentley spirit with a 30-second chronograph, a variable tachometer and a dial designed to mimic Bentley’s radiator grille.
The Breitling Bentley GMT Light Body
With such stiff competition from the other Breitling for Bentley releases, the B04 needed some serious attractions to stand up to the appeal of the B05 and B06. As luck would have it, it did, and it’s since gone on to become one of the brand’s most popular offerings. Emulating the speed, style, and performance of the Bentley, the watch comes housed in a 49mm case and is powered by the COSC Certified Breitling Calibre B04, a self-winding, high-frequency (28,800 vibrations per hour), movement offering a highly impressive 70-hour plus power reserve.
The open-worked circular dial canvas has, as Escarpment Magazine notes, “a stripped-out character similar to that of a racing car devoid of creature comforts”. As a testament to Breitling’s attention to detail and focus on usability, the B405 offers an easily adjustable chronograph that requires the user to simply pull out the crown and turn it either forward or backward in one-hour increments to reflect a change in time zone. This will then automatically adjust the date to local time (without any loss in precision of minutes), making it ideal for frequent travelers- as does the rotating inner bezel stamped with the names of 24 worldwide cities and offering an at-a-glance reading of all time zones around the world. The partnership between Bentley and Breitling is at its most obvious in the rotating bezel, whose knurled surface is inspired by the grille of a Bentley car. Another design feature that showcases the collaboration between the world of time and the world of automation is the transparent exhibition case back, which is designed in homage to the wheel of a Bentley car. The water-resistant case (available in a choice of titanium, “Midnight Carbon” black titanium or “Midnight Dark Diamond” diamond-set black titanium) makes the watch a great option for thrill-seekers, while its sporty black rubber strap offers a secure, comfortable fit.
The Technical Data
Looking for a breakdown of the specifics? Courtesy of Breitling itself, you have it…
COSC Certified Breitling Calibre B04, self-winding, high frequency (28,800 vibrations per hour), with 47 jewels. More than 70-hour power reserve. 24 hours 2nd-time zone with 1/4th of a second chronograph, 30-minute, and 12-hour totalizers. Calendar.
Available in a choice of titanium, “Midnight Carbon” black titanium or Midnight Dark Diamond” titanium. Water-resistant up to 100 meters (330 feet). A Screw-locked crown and rotating pinion bezel with easy -to -read 24-hour time zone indication. Cambered sapphire crystal, glare-proofed on both sides with a transparent exhibition sapphire crystal case back. Width: 49 mm without crown. Case length without Lugs: 58 mm. Thickness: 17 mm. Finish: Brushed. Shape: Round.
Available in 3 versions, depending on the case: Titanium version: Royal Ebony or Tungsten. “Midnight Carbon” black titanium version: Royal Ebony. “Midnight Dark Diamond” black titanium version: Black Mother-of-Pearl.
- Luminescent, grey.
- Arabic Numerals and Stick Index Luminescent
- Black, rubber strap, 31 mm in width and 8.5 inches in length.
- Fold over clasp with push button and extension.
The Final Verdict
The Breitling Bentley GMT Light Body represents all we’ve come to love about Breitling: an elegant, sophisticated design coupled with unparalleled functionality and comfort. As Breitling itself notes, “the Bentley GMT Light Body B04 extends an irresistible invitation to tear up the tarmac – or whiz through the air – while enjoying a combination of comfort and elegance”. We couldn’t have put it better ourselves.