Swiss watchmaker Breitling unveiled their first smartwatch this week, the Breitling Exospace B55 Connected. Breitling now joins Tag Heuer and Movado on the Swiss smartwatch scene, however being aimed at pilots, the B55 Connected stands out and it is every bit as luxurious as Breitling’s long line of beautiful automatic chronographs.
B55 Connectivity and Technology
The Exospace B55 Connected follows the same path as Movado's smartwatch; it doesn’t have a touchscreen display or the ability to run apps on it's watchface. Instead, it takes on the appearance of a traditional watch and connects to your smartphone by Bluetooth. The B55 has its very own app which is basically an extension of the watch. It allows the wearer to access instruments that are either impossible to include in an aviation timepiece or instruments that would otherwise be difficult to use on a watch. So if you were to think of the B55 as a smartphone-enhanced watch, you’d be bang on the money.
Take away its app, and the watch becomes just a watch. However, as Jean-Paul Girardin, vice president of Breitling explains, this is where Breitling wants to be right now – the company wants smartphones to enhance the functionality of their chronographs: "The latest Breitling instrument in a long line of technical innovation, the Breitling Exospace B55 watch remains the absolute master. It was pure logic to use the technology of connectivity with a smartphone to enhance the functionality of our chronographs with truly useful and easy-to-use functions."
Exospace B55 Build and design
In terms of build and design, the B55 has an all-black titanium case and a glare-free sapphire crystal protecting the face. The movement is a rechargeable SuperQuartz (SuperQuartz is 10x more accurate than regular Quartz) with a battery life of two months. The watch is 0.60 inches thick (around the same as Breitling’s automatic chronographs) with a face diameter of 46mm. The face has two LCD displays and analogue time markers, and the chronograph has a flyback function and electronic tachymeter.
The Exospace was developed, assembled, finished and tested in Switzerland, so it has the all-important ‘Swiss Made’ marker on its face. At the time of writing, the B55 is only available on a chunky black or blue silicone strap.
Breitling Exospace B55 Connected Price
So how about cost? Well the B55 Connected will cost some 10x more than an Apple Watch 42mm when it finally goes on sale in the UK. The US price is around $9,000 so we can reasonably expect pricing to be greater in the UK than the current conversion rate. Whether or not that represents good value for a quartz watch with limited smart capabilities is open to opinion, however be in no doubt that the B55 Connected will sell. It is a Breitling after all.