At Baselworld 2016, I got to play with the first watch using Breitling’s so-called “Breitlight” case material, which is the Breitling Avenger Hurricane series replica watches. This is a deceptively cool watch even though it clearly isn’t for everyone. With that said, I really like it when brands like Breitling produce intentionally niche watches like this that work really well for particular purposes. What makes the Breitling Avenger Hurricane weird? Well, in addition to displaying the time in a 24- versus 12-hour layout, the case happens to be really big at 50mm wide and produced from a form of carbon polymer.
Carbon composites of various types have become increasingly popular in luxury sport watches Breitling. Carbon fiber is perhaps the most well-known of these materials, but it isn’t the only way carbon is treated in luxury watches. Unlike more established watch materials such as metal, we are still new to understanding how to compare various carbon polymer materials with one another. Moreover, we still need to gain a lot of expertise and information to know whose cases are better than others, why, and if materials such as “Breitlight” are indeed a proprietary blend, or a slick name a brand like Breitling applies to this type of material.
There are a lot of open questions about carbon composite materials that I, frankly, don’t have all the answers to – such as whether they are actually luxury materials, and how they hold up over time. What I do know is that it isn’t possible to properly mill and machine all carbon polymer materials, so usually only the most high-quality ones can be used for watch case materials. With that said, we don’t always know how difficult these materials are to find, their construction costs, and what types of performance and durability benefits they offer for watches.
It is, however, a very good thing that watch brands are experimenting with interesting case materials such as carbon polymers. Use of these materials is less about solving existing problems in watches (save for perhaps weight reduction) and more about being creative and keeping traditional timepieces relevant. A good example of that is how nicely the traditional look of this military-style Breitling case (that we have, of course, seen in metal) translates into being rendered in a carbon polymer. That in and of itself is interesting and noteworthy.
Brands like replica watches Breitling are finding these materials from other industries such as car, plane, and boat construction. The materials are quite useful, actually, being several times lighter than steel, very tough, resistant to things like temperature or magnetism, and shock absorbent. With that said, you still can’t really polish a carbon polymer case, so we are currently left with mostly matte finishes that show off the native textures that these materials bring to the table. Further, much of the “art” involved in showing the right carbon materials for watch cases is specifically in choosing those which have the right shades of colors and aesthetic textures, etc.