Can a $2,000 plastic Breitling replica watches with a quartz movement ever be a Value Proposition? The answer seems obvious, until you consider the Breitling Colt Skyracer. Yes, there’s plastic; yes, it’s quartz, yet it turns these apparent drawbacks into assets, starting with the amazing lightness of the case material. This is what strikes you at first: the substantial 45mm case weighs only 34 grams, easily half of what you would expect. And the Chronomètre mention on the dial tells you another part of the story; the quartz caliber is a pretty special one.
Breitlight is the cryptic name of the case material; not much can be found about it, but Breitling emphasizes that it is almost six times lighter than steel and three times lighter than titanium. Needless to say, you can tell immediately on the wrist: this Colt Skyracer is the lightest “big watch” I ever tried on (save for a Richard Mille “Baby Nadal” RM-035 with which I irrevocably fell in love, but this is a tale for another time). Including the rubber bracelet, the watch barely reaches 50 grams, the type of weight I would expect from a small ultra-thin dress watch . All in, the Colt Skyracer weighs 54.6 grams, versus 49g for the Richard Mille RM-035 for instance.
Breitling fake lunimous watches trademarked the Breitlight name back in October 2015, and initially introduced it the following year on a 50mm Avenger Hurricane, with a price tag fourfold over this Skyracer. A smaller Avenger Hurricane was then unveiled, its diameter reduced to “only” 45mm (yes, modern Breitlings do tend to be on the bigger side). This is the very first time that this advanced material has trickled down to Breitling’s entry-level family, the Colt.
Describing it as a molded plastic polymer would be technically accurate, but slightly underwhelming since the term plastic is a pretty generic one. In a more tech-savvy parlance, it is an isotropic thermoplastic composite with (very likely) short carbon fibers as reinforcement to the matrix. Besides its impressive lightness, it’s also antimagnetic and hypoallergenic. On the Skyracer, it has a matte finishing; interestingly, Breitling did not apply for a patent, just a trademark, so one can assume that the formula or the composite itself was supplied by an external party who still holds the IP.
Looking at its quartz movement copy Breitling does not grant any respite from the geeky side of things; however, it is a big part of the pleasure of reviewing this watch. Like any new Breitling since 1999, the Colt Skyracer is indeed chronometer certified by the COSC, which put in place different norms for quartz calibers than it does for mechanical watches: namely +/- 0.07 seconds per day for quartz. For run of the mill modern quartz movements, you should expect at worst a 15 second variation per month, or what a mechanical chronometer-certified caliber is allowed to achieve in less than a week. You immediately realize the immense accuracy gap between any quartz movement (save it for the chronometer-certified ones) over traditional mechanical movements.