The Collector’s Crossroads: Omega upended my chronograph search with the new Speedmaster ’57 The Collector’s Crossroads: Omega upended my chronograph search with the new Speedmaster ’57

The Collector’s Crossroads: Omega upended my chronograph search with the new Speedmaster ’57

Ricardo Sime

For months now, I’ve been looking for a mechanical chronograph to add to my small collection. It’s a complication I’ve always loved. And after weeks of research, and multiple list comparing watches, I set my sights on the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 in blue. I even recently visited the Breitling boutique in NYC to try one on. It took the strength of 10 men to keep me from slamming my credit card on the table and yelling “take my money” right then and there. The dial, date window symmetry and Rouleaux bracelet contributed to an overall design I really enjoyed. Yet that all changed two weeks ago when Omega introduced the revamped Speedmaster ’57 and decided to turn this search of mine on it’s head.

When I first decided on the Breitling Chronomat B01 42, it was after realizing that at the sub $10k USD price range, the watch had a ton to offer. If you’re someone like me who isn’t interested in the Speedmaster Professional aesthetic or wish the Tudor chronograph offerings had more colour, the Breitling Chronomat is a great option. That was, of course, until March 7th, 2022, when Omega dropped that heat and treated us to a plethora of new watches. And even though I had settled on the Chronomat, it would have been careless of me not to update my rankings with the new Speedmaster ’57s stepping on the scene.

So, does the ’57 usurp the Chronomat?

Does Breitling take the Omega to the cleaners?

(Did I remember to turn off the heater when I left the house this morning?)

Here’s how the two watches matched up for me.

The Dimensions

Breitling B01 42 (reference AB0134101C1A1)

The first thing I compared between the two watches was their dimensions. The Chronomat B01 42 comes in at 42mm with a lug-to-lug of 50.5mm. Thickness is 15.1mm which is average for an automatic chronograph. However, the straight lugs of the case do not curve and hug the wrist, which makes this measurement seem even larger.

Omega Speedmaster 57′ (side view)

On the new Speedmaster ’57, right off the bat, we benefit from a manual chronograph movement. Thickness is 12.99mm with a smaller 40.5mm diameter. The lug-to-lug is sub 50 at 49.6mm.

As for water resistance, the bulk of the Chronomat does have it’s benefits. It has a water resistance of 200 metres versus the 50 metres of the new ’57.

When I took all these things into account, the Speedmaster ’57 still managed to win this round. Those dimensions are just too hard to beat when looking at how a chronograph will wear on the wrist.

The Movements

Breitling B01 Movement

The Breitling Chronomat B01 42 is powered by the B01 Manufacture movement. It comes with 70 hours of power reserve and beats at 28,800 bph. It’s column wheel activated and chronometer certified. A movement so good, that even a competitor in Tudor decided it was a great starting point for their own chronographs.

Omega Calibre 9906

But shockingly, the Speedmaster ’57 is powered by an even more amazing beast. The Omega Master Co-axial 9906 manual wound movement. It packs 60 hours of power reserve and beats at 28,800 bph. It’s also chronometer-certified but it takes things further by being METAS-certified. This means the watch goes through eight additional tests that ensure it still meets chronometer standards, even when subjected to magnetism. And for those who feel iffy about the 50 metres of water resistance, one of those test evaluates the watch to its listed water resistance, for almost two hours.

The Dials

New Omega Speedmaster 57′ Collection

Both Breitling and Omega have created multiple colour options within each collection. The Speedmaster ’57 collection currently has four different dials covering the most popular colours. Red, blue, green and black in the classic bi-compax layout. Beyond these colours, the dials also have subtle differences in design. As I stated in my introduction of the collection, when you view the collection as a whole, it feels like these four watches were designed separately.

Breitling Chronomat B01 Collection (Base Models)

As for the Breitling Chronomat B01 42 collection, there are five different base models. These include the classic panda and reverse panda aesthetic as well as a copper dial. Though these dials with the three register layouts are busier than those of the ’57, the aesthetic does go hand in hand with the technical look of the watch.  Finally, these dials seem to have more depth and I also appreciate the touches of red.

The Verdict

After weighing both watches against one another, the newly released Speedmaster ’57 comes out on top for me. At $8,600 USD on bracelet, it is only $350 more than the Breitling, while packing what many would consider a better movement and better dimensions for the wrist. Though I found the Chronomat dial more compelling, it just isn’t enough to pull me away from the charm of the new ’57.

So that’s my decision but what about you? Which watch would you chose? Or am I missing something great in the sub 10k USD? Let me know on our Time and Tide Instagram account.