Thought I’d re-post this after 20 years of ownership (first Posted in 2013, bought in 2000) in reference my Breitling Aerospace as a reminder of how good this old watch was and still is.
Just realised the other day that I’ve never actually posted about my favourite daily beater I’ve worn for the last 15 years. My 1999 Breitling Aerospace Titanium that I bought when on business in Glasgow. After some lunch I happened to be strolling past a jewellers and there it was and I simply loved it – went in with no hesitation and bought it. And I still think it was and still is the best and most practical watch purchase I ever made.
Now some folks think Breitling watches are big, flashy and cumbersome, but with this model nothing could be further from the truth. It’s titanium, it’s very light and unlike many of today’s current crop, it’s very slim at just 9mm in depth and a case diameter of only 40mm. With the matching titanium solid link bracelet it’s quite a combination. It slips unobtrusively under a shirt for dress occasions but also is the business when it comes to everyday wear – AND it’s probably a statement too. This particular version has a quite subtle dial green colour with high contrast numerals and markers.
Dial wise – Clarity is all with this watch – the date is the clearest to read of any watch I know with an excellent anti-reflection coated flat sapphire crystal – and slim hands with the so very clever extension of the minute hand over the centre pivot, which makes it so clear when reading the time – plus a nigh on perfect and understated luminous capability at night – it’s about as good as any watch can get in my opinion. The top bezel is click set in two directions and is Titanium as the rest of the watch ensemble. ( Yikes! – these darned close ups – just noticed how dirty it is after 15 years of almost continuous wear ).
The twin digital display is perhaps one of the clearest I’ve ever seen. It is bright in all light conditions and has a built in fluorescence that makes the numerals stand out perfectly. The lower display shows everything you need – either set as shown with Day and Date, Date and Seconds, or Seconds, Alarm time, Chronograph, Current or Dual Time and Timer – the upper display shows which feature is set. I usually have it set as shown with Day and Date and rarely use the other features, though the Dual Time can be useful on holiday as can the Alarm though these days I prefer a vibration alarm however – the old hearing is going!
And this particular version is also what’s called a “minute repeater” – this provides a sonic indication of the hours and minutes simply by pressing on the crown, when the watch display is either showing the neutral (blank digitals) or the local time display, the seconds-date display or the day-date position. Great when I bought it, but these days I don’t hear too well, so not a lot of use for me. 😦
Another aspect of this watch is the fact that even with all these functions, it only has a single crown, the operation of which has always been perfect. The usual chronograph style pushers and buttons are quite superfluous and is the feature I prefer most over all other chronograph models.
I said that clarity was terrific on this watch and this is it shown against some of my other models as a comparison – and that date clarity – amazing.
The Breitling on the left shows just how good the anti-reflection coating is and how clever the hands/display clarity actually is and note how the digits stand out – it always impresses me! The Citizen Attesa in the centre another favourite is also pretty good but none can compare when doing the quick glance and reading the date.
Another good point about this Aerospace – it’s actually gone up in value – so a good buy and a good investment. Not that I’ll realise any profit of course ‘cos it ain’t for sale! The profit for me is the sheer pleasure of wearing what has to be my favourite watch.
However, as with everything, there’s always something I find annoying. With this watch, if it needs a battery change (shown by the digits flashing), which on this model is well over 5 years I’ve found, Breitling recommend sending it to them. But this is expensive, though in fairness I did this the first time it needed a battery and they changed the face and whatever else, cleaned it and so on, so perhaps was worth it. Effectively they provided a full service.
But today (yesterday actually 10/05/2020) I simply snapped off the back (never understood why this was not a screw back) changed out the 977 battery, ensured the back was replaced with the correct positioning of the round depression inside the back plate above the battery, snapped the back on again, then reset the date, month, day, time etc.
And that is my annoyance. The fact that the single crown, great idea that it is, is tricky to operate. The Months adjust with a fast spin of the crown as do some other adjustments, others are with a slow turn and frankly the fast spin is very, very difficult to manage. This is done with the crown out, but even in this position there is very little to grip – so a fiddly thing to do – and I don’t like it! And that’s the issue – It’s easier if you rub a finger along it to spin it quickly, but this puts undue sideways pressure on the spindle and I don’t like that. So great idea, but could surely be improved.
But that said, fortunately, I shouldn’t have to do it again for another 5 years, so that’s the good part. Leap years have to be accounted for, but OK I can live with that.
Today – 31st May 2021 – But whilst I’ve bought many watches over the years since, this is still my favourite watch – and that says it all.