Breitling’s new take on the decades-old Colt is true to the original, with features that have become hallmarks of the brand. Here’s a hands-on review of the new-look Breitling Colt Replica.
Breitling Mens Replica revamped its entry-level Colt collection last year with a firm nod to the original series, introduced in the 1980s. Like the Chronomat and the Navitimer, the Colt was conceived as a military replica watch, with an emphasis on reliability and readability. Its 24-hour scale, aviator-style dial and broad, unidirectional bezel have come to define the unmistakable look of Breitling replica watches. The new collection is true to the original right down to the movements. Most of the new models contain quartz calibers, which dominated the replica watch world at the time of the Colt’s debut. We tested the sole mechanical version, with an automatic ETA caliber. An ETA movement was also used in the original series.
The new Colt Automatic resembles the Colt Superocean, which debuted in the mid-1990s and remained in the collection for several years. The new Colt replicates the old model’s screwable crown with protectors on both sides, pilot-style Arabic numerals and a broad, unidirectional bezel with engraved notches and raised cursors at the quarter hours. These cursors improve the grip on the bezel, making it easy to rotate even when you’re wearing gloves. They have become a characteristic feature of Breitling replica watches.
On the new Colt, the markings are precisely engraved into the satin-finished bezel, which slopes gently downward toward its outer rim. The bezel clicks through 120 steps compared to the 60 notches on the bezel of the Colt Super-ocean, even though the additional steps aren’t necessary for to-the-minute setting of a dive’s start time. The new Colt Automatic also repeats the Superocean’s 24-hour scale and rare 1/100s-hour scale, described as an “aeronautic hundredths scale.”
The Colt Automatic’s 200-meter water resistance falls short of the earlier model’s 1,000-meter depth rating, but still offers plenty of water resistance for a divers’ replica watch. A sturdy, stainless-steel case with a doubly insulated back helps keep the replica watch intact in deep dives. The Professional III stainless-steel bracelet is equipped with a safety catch and a folding clasp that hinges open on one side. The bracelet, the Professional III, can be adjusted at the clasp or by removing screwed links at either end of the clasp. The replica watch can also be worn on a leather strap or on either an Ocean Racer or Diver Pro rubber strap.
Any of these would make the replica watch lighter than the 194 grams it weighs on a stainless-steel bracelet. (Despite being relatively heavy, the replica watch is quite comfortable to wear.) The leather strap is pleasantly supple, but its buckle seems a bit rickety.
In its guise as Breitling Caliber 17, the ETA 2824-2 in the new Colt is only moderately adorned, but has earned chronometer certification. The Colt’s average rate was almost entirely free of deviations when tested on our electronic timing machine with the mainspring fully wound and after running for 24 hours. On the wrist, the replica watch ran 1 second slow. This slight sluggishness persisted day after day, but the 1-second deviation falls within the chronometric tolerance range. Notably, there was a large difference between the rates with dial up and crown down after the replica watch had run for 24 hours. We also noted a difference in the amplitudes, which in the hanging positions declined by nearly 60 degrees within the span of one day. That is a large dip, but the average rate remained unaffected by the decrease and is commendable overall.
The dial shows everything the ETA Caliber 2824-2 has to offer, including hour, minute, sweep seconds hand and date, but the Colt can perform additional functions. Just inside the hour ring is another scale, calibrated from 13 to 24, recalling Breitling’s heritage as a maker of aviator replica watches and their standard 24-hour scales. On the flange at the perimeter of the dial there is a scale that divides an hour into 100 units. Each unit, 36 seconds long, is known as an “industrial” minute. This type of time measurement has various industrial applications, including denoting working hours. Three hours and 15 minutes, for example, would be expressed as 3.25 hours rather than as 3:15.