In the mid-1960s, auto racing was having a heyday, and a whole subculture had sprung up around “café racers,” stylish motorcycles, used to literally transport their riders from hip café to hip café.
Willy Breitling set out to capture the speed-driven style of the day with a completely new take on the timekeeper. The result? The Breitling Top Time, an unconventional chronograph designed for “young and active professionals.” It quickly became the watch of choice for a sporty in-crowd of men and women equally drawn to the watch’s bold proportions.
Today, that freewheeling 1960s café-racer spirit is back in a spectacular new Top Time collaboration between Breitling and British motorcycle brand Triumph. Now in its 120th year, Triumph combines historic craftsmanship with contemporary design to create its classic motorcycles.
“Triumph’s heritage and modern-retro aesthetic are just two of the many things we have in common,” said Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling. “Their blending of tradition with technology is completely in sync with what we do.”
For their debut collaboration, Breitling is producing a Top Time Triumph watch with a distinctive brushed finish in the bow-tie motif nicknamed “the Zorro dial” by Top Time collectors. Triumph, meanwhile, is launching 270 co-branded motorcycles—the Speed Twin Breitling Limited Edition—whose buyers will have the privileged opportunity to purchase a special owner’s version of the Top Time Triumph, this one with a sunray dial and engraved caseback featuring the individual number of the bike (owner’s version orders must be placed with Triumph by August 22, 2022).
The stars of both watches are their ice-blue dials. This unique color has two major references: a blue Triumph Thunderbird 6T from 1951, and a rare, blue-dialed Breitling Top Time Ref. 815 from the 1970s.
Features include a subdued racing-themed calfskin leather strap that lets the hero dial shine; Breitling and Triumph logos that sit subtly at 12 and 6 o’clock; oversized mushroom pushers that allow for easy control of the chronograph’s stop-start and reset functions; and a high-contrast tachymeter scale that provides clear legibility of speed readings. The watches are powered by the Breitling Caliber 23, a COSC-certified chronometer with a power reserve of approximately 48 hours. And one more cool feature collectors will love: the casebacks are etched with a detailed design sketch of Triumph’s parallel twin engine.
Of the co-branded watches, Triumph CEO Nick Bloor said: “This collaboration is born out of a shared philosophy of bold and original design. The Top Time Triumph brings that uncompromising style and craftsmanship together.”
At a 41 mm diameter, the Top Time Triumph is, like the original, a fit for both sexes. For fans of the Triumph brand and prospective owners of the Speed Twin Breitling Limited Edition motorcycle, it’s an absolute must-have.
Triumph Speed Twin Breitling Limited Edition
Only 270 of these motorcycles will ever be made. Here’s a closer look at their exceptional co-created design:
Polychromatic Blue Scheme
Complementing the dials of the Top Time chronographs, the color scheme was inspired by the Triumph immortalized in the legendary 1953 biker movie The Wild One.
Higher-specification, fully adjustable Öhlins piggyback twin rear suspension units combine with all of the latest-generation Speed Twin performance, capability, and technology for the greatest Speed Twin ride ever.
Unique Engine Detailing
Billet-machined aluminum clutch and alternator embellishers with a dark anodized finish showcase an exquisitely machined Breitling logo.
Premium Leather Seat
Perforated black leather with contrasting gray stitching complements the Top Time Triumph watch strap and features an elegantly embroidered Breitling “B.”
Custom Instrument Faces
Co-designed by Breitling, the motorcycle’s speed and RPM gauges take their styling cues from the Top Time Triumph dial design.