Movement of the Breitling Chronomat

Meet the Breitling Caliber 13

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Introduction

The Breitling Caliber 13 is based on the well-known ETA Valjoux 7750 movement. It is an automatic (self-winding from the movements of the wrist), integrated chronograph with quickset date. This has been the workhorse for the modern best-selling Breitling watches—not only the Chronomat models, but also the vertical compax Old Navitimer (discontinued).

This famous Valjoux movement has 25 jewels, a power reserve of 42 hours, and a frequency of 28,800 vibrations per hour. It winds in only one direction (unlike the Caliber 17), which allows the rotor to move freely in the other direction. That is why it has been nicknamed “the wobbler”, because it's noisy and lively on the wrist.


A mid-90s' Caliber 13 behind a custom transparent caseback

Breitling began by using unmodified Valjoux 7750 movements, but has been doing more and more visual and mechanical enhancements through the years, especially in order to pass COSC tests. The Breitling 13 is one of the most precise mechanical movements, at least in its price range.

It is noteworthy that the first Valjoux 7750 movements used 17 jewels until the early or mid 1990s. Usually the old movements were “upgraded” by Breitling during a maintenance service. The added jewels were added to the chronograph unit to increase the longevity of the parts.

The Chronomat has also seen complications added to this caliber.