A distinctive celebration of design and freedom: Breitling’s Top Time Classic Cars Capsule Collection pays homage to classic sports cars from the 1960s.
This unconventional trio of racing chronographs draws inspiration from the Chevrolet Corvette, the Ford Mustang, and the Shelby Cobra, three icons of the American car culture. The timepieces themselves are a nod to the original 1960s Breitling Top Time models, which were designed for “young and active professionals”. Today’s modern-retro interpretations are perhaps even more youthful and free-spirited.
“It’s about the journey, not the tempo. And that’s true whether you’re tinkering under the hood or hitting the road for a Sunday ride celebrating these beautiful machines,” says Breitling CEO Georges Kern.
These disruptive chronographs with a motoring twist stand out for their bold dial colours with orange and yellow or red and blue touches and racing-themed watch straps in calfskin leather. Engraved stainless-steel casebacks showcase each car’s logo in impressive detail, and the chronograph pushers punctuate the dial. All three watches are water-resistant up to 10 bar (100 meters).
The range includes the Top Time Chevrolet Corvette in red and black, based on the striking design of the Corvette C2 from the mid-1960s, often referred to as the “Sting Ray” by aficionados. Fun fact: Did you know that carmaker Louis Chevrolet was a Swiss racing driver born in the watchmaking city of La Chaux-de-Fonds? Then there’s the green and brown Top Time Ford Mustang version, inspired by a car developed in record time in 1964, sparking a new genre of compact and affordable sports cars. It soon reached iconic status at the hands of rock stars and Hollywood actors and also played an iconic role on the silver screen. Last but not least there’s the Top Time Shelby Cobra version in blue and brown. Our mood board for this watch revolved around the formidable machine created by the iconic American race-car driver and manufacturer Carroll Shelby for 1960s competitions, which mixed classic British chassis design with American racing ingenuity and engineering. The watch hints at one of its distinctive paint jobs: blue with white racing stripes.
The 42 mm cases of the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Mustang versions house the COSC-certified Breitling Calibre 25, a self-winding 1/8th of a second chronograph movement with a power reserve of about 42 hours. Both watches feature a tachymeter scale and three black contrasting subdials. Their dials display the car logos at the 12 o’clock position.
Inside the slightly smaller 40 mm Top Time Shelby Cobra beats the COSC-certified Breitling Calibre 41, a self-winding 1/4th of a second chronograph movement with a power reserve of approximately 42 hours. It has a white tachymeter scale and two white contrasting subdials, plus the Cobra logo at the 6 o’clock position.
But this racing heritage isn’t about rushing around. Instead, it’s about a vehicle that delivers a sense of freedom and joy. So much so that you might even lose track of the time …
Three Icons of the American Car Culture
The second-generation Chevrolet Corvette, distributed from 1963 to 1967, is the most sought-after version of this American legend. The “Sting Ray” took inspiration from a 1959 racing-focused prototype. Thanks to its slinky low-profile body, it looks stunning to this day. And with its performance both on the road and on the track, it has always haunted the dreams and sparked the imaginations of aficionados around the world.
The first-generation Ford Mustang, produced from 1964 to 1969, was compact, affordable, and sporty. With some models suited to families and others ideal for race-focused sportsters, it was a true icon popular among rock stars and actors. It also featured in some of the era’s most popular movies. Automotive enthusiasts know that the original Mustang helped define the coolness of a whole generation. This beloved living legend is still in production and as relevant to today’s customers as it was in the sixties.
In the early 1960s, the Le Mans winner Carroll Shelby imagined a car that combined British chassis design with American racing engineering. He created the Shelby Cobra, a sports car that ingeniously matched a small, light chassis to a strong, reliable American big-block engine. When it was introduced in 1962, the Cobra was met with instant success. The original Shelby Cobra is still a blisteringly fast and sought-after car today.
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