Friday, September 25, 2009

A Personal Review Of The Breitling Shadow Flyback

I bought my Breitling watch about 7 years ago and wear it nearly everyday. Despite wearing it nearly every day, having gone diving with it, kiteboarded with it, and trekked across Australia, Scandinavia and the Far East, it looks as good today as the day I bought it.

In all honesty I'd never heard of Breitling watches until I went into a store to buy a Tag Heuer - everyone I knew seemed to watches wearing a Tag and it seemed like the ideal watch that could be worn both formally and for sport. Anyhow, while I was in the department store looking at the Tag collections, the assistant said, that if I liked Tag, I might also be interested in Breitling.

Well, it was love at first sight. I know not everyone is going to like Breitling watches. While I think they are beautiful, I can understand why some wouldn't like them. They aren't as 'rounded' as others like Tag or Seconda. Although stylish, they have a certain old fashioned, harder-edged style to them. I learned later that most collections of Breitling watches were designed over 50 years ago and, despite some changes to the movements and minor aesthetic modifications, they are pretty much the same wristwatch as they were 50 years ago.

The Shadow Flyback I bought features an ETA 2892-A2 mechanical movement. The movement is a chronograph, is automatic and has a flyback complication. Most stopwatch second hands can be stopped and then set to zero; with a flyback complication the second hand can be reset to zero without stopping the timer - it continues to run from the zero position. The power reserve of the movement is 42 hours.

Like all watches in the Breitling Windrider collection, the bezel is raised and is unidirectional - it's not a diver's watch where the bezel is one-directional. However, the watch is water resistant to 100mm - I've been diving with this watch to a depth of 20 meters so I can vouch for its water tightness.

Although the dial comes in a few colors, the one I purchased is of a very dark blue which looks black unless seen in sun light. There are 3 subdials; second hand, 10 minute interval and 3 hour interval. The subdials are the same color as the dial and are set in a tri compax configuration, which means they are placed at the 3, 6 and 9 o'clock position. The date aperture is found between the 4 and 5 hour marker. I like this layout as it's the more unusual in the Windrider collection; most other watches come with subdials at the 6, 9 and 12 o'clock position with the date aperture at the 3 hour marker.

The hour watches are just that; there are no numerals, which gives it a very sophisticated look, I think. The markers along with the hour and minute hand are luminous as is the tip of the stopwatch second hand. Incidentally, the stopwatch second hand is nicely counterbalanced with the Breitling 'B' logo.

Finally, this Breitling watch is available in stainless steel, 18k gold or two-tone. Mine is stainless steel (the best finish) and comes with one of the best watch straps you can possibly buy, the Pilot strap; the slightly diagonal, chunky rectangular links really are very attractive.

As I've said I've had the Shadow Flyback for 7 years and apart from some minor scratches on the clasp there isn't a mark on it. Since, buying it I've become a huge fan of Breitling watches and it's my intention, when I save enough money, to buy the Navitimer Comsonaute - another beautiful timepiece.

Follow the links for Breitling watches and reviews on the best wrist watch you can buy like Oris, Panerai and Longines watches.

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