The good folks at Breitling invited me to an exclusive behind-the-scene tour called, "Watch 101", where I saw the intricate details and efforts behind making a luxury timepiece. The tour began promptly on Wednesday morning with a quick breakfast at Breitling's beautiful new boutique on 57th Street in Midtown. Breitling President Thierry Prissert walked me through their various collections, including Superocean, MontBrilliant and the well-known Breitling for Bentley. Prissert gave me an understanding of the Breitling man: active, ambitious, adventurous, but most importantly, the Breitling customer is one who understands that his timepiece is a lifestyle, rather than a status symbol.
We traveled from the Manhattan boutique to the Connecticut headquarters, in a Bentley no less, to honor the partnership between both brands for over twelve years. Upon my arrival, Technical Instructor Robert Flood gave me an overview of the brand history, introduced me to the entire staff, and showed me some of the machines they use for repairs. He also explained that a Breitling watch is made up of over 345 components and takes several years to produce because of the extensive amount of testing.
I had the privilege of taking apart a 20-component watch. But, I must admit, this was frustrating because some of the pieces were so minuscule. I couldn't imagine having to put together a watch with over 300 parts. Watch making isn't an easy task, it requires a great dead of patience, a steady hand, 20/20 vision, and working independently for a long period of time. But thanks to the Breitling, I have a new appreciation for the engineering and technical aspects of developing high-quality watches. This tour has been an eye-opening experience but a shame I didn't get to keep the Bentley.
57th Street Store
The aviation-themed pop artwork displayed is by contemporary artist Kevin Kelly. The artwork represents the brand's heritage, but also displays the brand's sense of humor.
Founder Léon Breitling
Breitling has been perfecting timepieces since 1884 and the in-store museum takes us on a journey to Breitling vintage timepieces.