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The dial of the Chronomat shows the time, the chronograph, and the date. This is actually the part that was updated the most, during the 20 years of its production.
The dial of a multicolor Chronomat GT, clearly showing the different parts
Some quick differences… First the sub-dials were not outlined, then they were (with metal ridges, or paint). The first Breitling logos were painted (with yellow gold), whereas the later ones were applied (with a piece of white or yellow gold). In addition, the first chronograph second's hands did not have the “B” anchor logo. (The smaller differences between all models of Chronomat are simply too many to tell in this short review!)
The colors of those dials were many, from the usual black or silver, to gold, red, green, yellow etc., with a number of subdial combinations too. There were some special dial options (like sunburst or guilloché patterns).
The Chronomat is first and foremost a chronograph. It is powered by the Caliber 13 movement, which has a vertical compax layout. Here is an explanation of those subdials:
The second's hand in motion
The chronograph is activated by the pushers. The top pusher starts and stops the chronograph. The bottom pusher resets it to zero.
The tachymeter scale, sitting on top of the rehaut, shows markings going from 500 to 60. Used with the second's hand of the chronograph (the center hand), it counts the number of units per hour: for instance, if you start the chronograph simultaneously with a print job, and stop the chronograph when the job is done (say, it takes 9 seconds), then the second's hand is in front of the “400” mark, which means that you can run 400 of such print jobs in one hour.
Please note that this works only for short periods (< 60 minutes).
On the Chronomat, this scale can be either written
for the older models, the word is not present.
There also is a 100ths of hour scale on the rehaut (with markings going from 10 to 100). It is used to convert minutes into decimal hours: for instance, it the time is 2:30, then the minute's hand is standing in front of the “50” mark, which means that the time could be expressed as 2.50. It makes easier to calculate time differences, and is used in civil and military aviation.
At night, it's hard to distinguish a Chronomat from another watch. Like most watches of this era, the first Chronomats have been using Tritium as a luminescent material. That was replaced by Luminova around 2000.
Breitling Chronomat by night (with old Tritium)
During a routine service, Breitling usually replaces the hands with new ones, filled with Luminova.