Breitling launches two Triumph motorcycle watches (and 270 matching bikes)
Breitling has announced a collaboration with Triumph, the famous British motorcycle company, whose motorcycles became synonymous with outlaws and iconoclastic movie stars in the 1950s and 60s, including Marlon Brando, Bob Dylan and Steve McQueen.
The new watch, the Top Time Triumph, is a 41m chronograph with an ice blue dial, a reference to the 1951 Triumph Thunderbird 6T driven by Marlon Brando in The wild (1953), as well as one of Breitling’s rare blue-dial Top Time watches from the 1970s.
Breitling successfully relaunched its Top Time series in 2020. The racing-themed watch, discontinued 55 years earlier, had successfully targeted the young, style-conscious male market in the sixties.
The watch went down in pop culture lore for being the first “modified” James Bond watch, fitted by Q Branch to include a handy Geiger counter in the 1965s. thunder ball.
“Here we have a Geiger counter, useful and discreet. The sweeping hand takes the radioactivity count,” explains Q, played by Desmond Llewleyn. “It’s waterproof, of course.”
“Of course,” replies Sean Connery’s Bond.
This watch, the same one worn by Connery, sold at Christie’s in 2013 for £103,875. Its seller had found it at a garage sale for £25.
The Top Time has become a favorite of vintage collectors, in part because of its distinctive dial. Its mirrored black and white triangles became known as the “Zorro dial”, an affectionate reference to the disguise worn by the rapier-wielding hero of the pulp books.
Since its relaunch, Breitling has managed to match the retro appeal of Top Time with a series of well-chosen collaborations.
In 2021, there was a connection with Australian lifestyle brand Deus Ex Machina, whose USP is casual clothing for snowboarding, surfing and especially motorcycling.
This was followed by the Top Time Classic Cars collection, a trio of models adopting the look of three of the greatest American sports cars of the 1960s: the Chevrolet Corvette, Ford Mustang and Shelby Cobra.
Triumph was founded as Triumph Engineering in Coventry in 1887, initially as a brand of bicycles. Its first motorcycle, a pedal cycle fitted with a Belgian engine, appeared to little fanfare in 1902. In 1915 it produced the Model H Roadster, a reliable belt-driven bicycle selected by the British government and used by Allied troops during the First World War. War.
Its most emblematic period dates back to the middle of the 20th century. James Dean frequently raced a Triumph Trophy TR5. Elvis Presley rode a Triumph Boneville T120, as did Bob Dylan. The crash that ended his career near Woodstock in 1966 happened to a Triumph Tiger 100. The great Escape Steve McQueen escapes Nazi soldiers and a POW camp on a Triumph Trophy TR6, owned by the actor.
By the 1980s, the classic status of these models had begun to work against the company. Ninety per cent of bikes sold in the UK were top-end Japanese models, from Kawasaki, Suzuki, Honda and Yamaha.
The brand, now Triumph Motorcycles Limited, was relaunched in 1990.
To celebrate the collaboration with Breitling, the company is releasing 270 co-branded motorcycles, the Triumph Speed Twin Breitling Limited Edition Bike. Product in the “A savage“Color scheme, it will come with custom speed and rpm gauges that resemble the design of the Top Time Triumph dial.
Anyone who buys one of the bikes will also be offered the option of buying a modified version of the watch, featuring a sunburst dial, engraved case back and numbered to suit the bike – the Top Time Triumph Speed Limited Edition Twin Owners.
“Triumph’s heritage and modern-retro aesthetic are just two of the many things we have in common,” says Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling. “Their blend of tradition and technology is completely in tune with what we do.”
The Top Time Triumph is £4,500; The Top Time Triumph Speed Owners Limited Edition is £4,650. The limited edition bike costs £16,000. breilting.com
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