The Breitling Top Time debuted in 1964, the brainchild of third-generation founder Willy Breitling. It was an instant hit upon its release –– sophisticated, simple, and stylish, it was popularised by Sean Connery in the James Bond film Thunderball.
Now, nearly sixty years later, four new models of the Top Time are released based on classic cars of the era, in homage to the countercultural spirit of the decade that birthed this classic chronograph. Featuring subdials evocative of vintage dashboard gauges, we take a closer look at the four models and the cars that inspired them.
TOP TIME B01 FORD THUNDERBIRD
The Ford Thunderbird entered the market in 1955, the year Elvis signed with RCA Victor and rock and roll really began to cement itself in the public’s collective consciousness. It was an exciting and forward-thinking time for America, being as it was in the midst of a post-war economic boom, and the Thunderbird was the epitome of this –– all chrome detailings, Googie lines, and unbridled luxury. This sense of possibility is reflected in the Ford Thunderbird edition of Breitling’s Top Time: sleek, stylish, sublime.
TOP TIME B01 FORD MUSTANG
The introduction of the Ford Mustang in 1964 paved the way for a new style of car: the pony. Affordable, compact, but deeply high-functioning, these cars were the ideal vehicle for a trip from coast-to-coast. The Great American Road Trip is, by now, a well-worn trope. The freedom of the highway; the magic of the new –– it’s no wonder that these bohemian voyages formed the basis for so much film, music, and literature of the sixties. The Top Time Ford Mustang, with its 70-hour power reserve, is the perfect accompaniment for your freewheelin’ getaway.
TOP TIME B01 CHEVROLET CORVETTE
Selling from 1963 to 1967, the second-generation Chevrolet Corvette (known colloquially as the “Sting Ray”) became the byword for power, precision, and performance. With its split rear window design, slick steel body, and fuel-injected small-block V8 engine, the Corvette was a car that looked and felt like it came from the future, so much so that it inspired a thousand songs about it, from the Beach Boys to Prince. The Top Time Chevrolet Corvette is similarly forward-thinking, with its red and black palette and Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01 mechanics.
TOP TIME B01 SHELBY COBRA
Speed, speed, speed. The Shelby Cobra ‘62 was the ultimate Anglo-American sports car, going from 0 to 60mph in a little over four seconds, and to this day is still revered the world over for its acceleration and performance. For the first few years of the sixties, anything seemed possible. Russia and America were sending men into space; Donald Campbell broke the land speed record in 1964; and all across the western world Shelby Cobras were being snapped up by petrolheads desperate to feel the throttle. Available in a stylish blue and white colourway, the Top Time Shelby Cobra is also, like its namesake, all about speed and precision.