Smartwatch Supreme? Meet Breitling’s $8,900 B55 Exospace

Still a bargain next to the Bentley Bentayga dash clock.

PRNewsFoto/Breitling

The smartwatch and wearable tech market is rapidly expanding, slated to ship nearly 215 million units by decade’s end. And now an old-school Swiss luxury timekeeper is joining the fray. Here's the new Breitling B55 Exospace, a titanium-cased watch from the brand that built a legacy on premium aviation chronographs. It’s not a fully-fledged smartwatch, per say, but the B55 does have capability to connect to your phone and display texts. Think of it as smartwatch lite. The price is anything but, with a stout $8,900 . But, hey, at least it's a bargain compared to the Breitling’s $160k Bentayga dash clock.

For the uninformed: Shortly before quartz movements arrived and disrupted the Swiss watchmaking industry, a finely made mechanical watch was without peer. We maintain that it still is, and that if you don't already own an IWC Pilot or an Omega Speedmaster, you pick up one of those instead. They are the air-cooled Porsche 911 of watches.

Consider the B55 Exospace to be a new GT3 RS: a fusion of classic shape with high-tech innards. The tough 42mm titanium case offers analog watch charm, and the guts are Breitling's Superquartz movement, which boasts accuracy ten times greater than a standard quartz watch. (Probably irrelevant, but sounds cool). The B55 has one digital display for showing a second time zone, and a second display that can perform smartphone functions. Those include notifications for SMS texts, WhatsApp messages, emails and incoming calls. It'll also track flight times if you're a pilot, or if you prefer to fly low, there's a lap timer as well.

PRNewsFoto/Breitling

The Applewatch and Android smartwatches are challenge convention, and you can expect to see more hybridized wrist bling like the B55 in the future. Whether high-tech wearables can stand up to the analog titans of Swiss watchmaking remains to be seen.