Watches that allow me to see the time in different places – whether it be via a GMT complication or a true world-time function – have been my fascination of late. I could easily argue that I do not really need any complications after a seconds hand and a date display, but those ancillary time zones appeal to me, even though I do not find myself traveling as much these days as I used to. I have also not made any secret of my thoughts that most of the Breitling collection is simply too busy for a non-pilot for myself. There have been a few models that break that mold, and the new Breitling Galactic Unitime SleekT seems to be in that camp.
First off, the Breitling Galactic Unitime SleekT features no chronograph complication (a plus in my book). Not only does this clean up the dial, but this marks the first time an in-house calibre (the B35, in this case) has not been a chronograph. Second, they’ve made this a world timer watch. Once set properly, you can see the time around the world simply by looking at the appropriate city; the disc indicating the time also gives a nice day/night indication. What is unique about this (and something I have only seen on one other brand) is that you can set the time forwards OR backwards and have the date stay in sync.
Very often, with mechanical watches, it is not a good idea to wind the time backwards, especially when you are close the point of a date change (ie, between 10pm and 2 am). This puts additional stresses on the movement in directions that it’s not really built to handle, and with a date display, it won’t run backwards. Except with a watch like the Breitling Galactic Unitime SleekT. This required some clever engineering between the city disc, date wheel, and the movement, but they have accomplished it. In other words, if you gained a few hours in your flight, feel free to wind the hour hand counter-clockwise to set things, and the watch will stay in sync. Frankly, if you travel a good bit, something like this feature is pretty invaluable.
The other new part of this watch focuses around the bezel, which is why we have the SleekT portion of the Breitling Galactic Unitime SleekT name coming around. That bezel is made of tungsten carbide. Now, they didn’t select it just so they could have another material in the mix that wasn’t steel. Tungsten carbide is exceptionally hard and scratch resistant, which should give a top suface on the watch (along with the sapphire crystal) that will stay looking as new as the day you bought it.
Under that sapphire crystal is the only portion of the watch that I am really unsure about – the dial. The applied indices and handset are fairly basic, and get the job done regarding telling the time. Those are all set over a world map, which is the part that is not setting well with me. While it of course indicates the watch is a world timer, it really does not do anything with (or for) the design, like we saw with this Christopher Ward. The map is, well, it’s just there: a basic screen printing on the dial surface. Frankly, it makes the Breitling Galactic Unitime SleekT feel like less of a luxury watch. Here, if they had gone for something that perhaps had a texture to it, the map would be acceptable. As it is, I think they’d be better off with a blank dial.
The dial misstep aside, the Breitling Galactic Unitime SleekT is another in a fairly short list of Breitling watches that I could see myself wearing regularly. Fortunately for my watch box, pricing is firmly in the luxury arena ($9,000), so I will not have to worry about making space for it anytime soon. If you, however, have the budget for it, and you travel, something like the Breitling Galactic Unitime SleekT is definitely worth some consideration. breitling.com
- Brand & Model: Breitling Galactic Unitime SleekT
- Price: $9,000
- Who we think it might be for: You travel a good bit, and understand the utility provided in the design Breitling made here with the ability to set the time/date both backwards and forwards
- Would I buy one for myself based on what I’ve seen?: It would certainly be tempting if the budget was there, if it weren’t for the dial. That would probably be the deal breaker.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Either remove the world map entirely, or give it some texture and depth
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: The engineering that went into the movement and complications to allow the time and date to be set both forwards and backwards, keeping everything (including the world time) in sync.