Breitling's $8,900 Exospace B55 Connected Watch Debuts

The watch is the company's first connected watch and features both analog and digital displays to give users the information they require.

Breitling Exospace B55 watch, smartwatches, connected watch, MB Chronowing, TAG Heuer, wearables

The $8,900 Breitling Exospace B55 connected and chronograph-styled watch is now available as the luxury Swiss watchmaker releases its first connected timepiece.

Featuring a titanium body, the Exospace B55 connects via an app to a wearer's Android or Apple iOS smartphone to provide a wide range of notifications for incoming emails, Short Message Service (SMS) or WhatsApp messages, phone calls and reminders of upcoming appointments. Users can also upload data from the chronograph to their smartphones, including flight times, recorded times with split times and lap times for storage or sharing.

The Exospace B55 incorporates combined SuperQuartz electronic, analog and 12/24 hour LCD displays, a black titanium body, a rotating bezel and a Sapphire glare-proof crystal. The two integrated LCD displays provide easy visual information retrieval by users. The SuperQuartz movement is 10 times more accurate than a standard quartz movement, according to the company. The watch is chronometer-certified by the COSC, the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute.

The components and design of the Exospace B55 were developed, assembled, finished and tested in Switzerland, just like the other luxury timepieces the company has been creating since 1884.

The B55 chronograph also includes a timer, lap timer, countdown, time zone and a wide range of other chronograph functions for use by professionals, such as flight time calculations and takeoff and landing times required by aircraft pilots.

"The latest Breitling instrument in a long line of technical innovation, the Breitling Exospace B55 watch remains the absolute master," Jean-Paul Girardin, vice president of Breitling, said in a statement. "It was pure logic to use the technology of connectivity with a smartphone to enhance the functionality of our chronographs with truly useful and easy-to-use functions."

An automatic backlighting feature is incorporated in the twin LCD displays, which automatically provide backlighting for the watch face when a user tilts the watch at least 35 degrees on their wrist, making it easy to gain information from the device in the dark.

The B55 uses a rechargeable battery, which requires charging once every two months with normal use. The watch has a 1.8 inch diameter, is 0.60 inches thick and weighs 2.82 ounces without its watchband. The luxury watch can be controlled by users through its manual crown controls or by using the Breitling app on a smartphone via Bluetooth.

The B55 is available through Breitling Boutiques and select fine watch retailers.

The Exospace B55 timepiece from Breitling is the latest in what has been an active luxury smartwatch marketplace in recent months.

In November, TAG Heuer's luxury Connected smartwatch, designed and built in collaboration with Intel and Google, went on sale for $1,500, according to an earlier eWEEK report. The watch, first announced in March, includes design and styling from TAG Heuer, a 1.6GHz Atom Z34XX dual-core processor from Intel and Google's Android Wear operating system. The timepiece is built inside a Grade 2 titanium case and has a scratch-resistant sapphire crystal, a 1.5-inch circular LTPS LCD touch-screen display with 360-by-360 (240-ppi) resolution, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of on-board storage. The smartwatch is compatible with smartphones running at least Android 4.3 or Apple's iOS 8.2 or above.

Also released in November was the MB Chronowing luxury connected watch from fashion designer Michael Bastian, in collaboration with technology from HP. The MB Chronowing timepiece is a stainless steel watch with a face that looks like a traditional round watch face, but is changeable electronically and includes calendar, email and text notification capabilities. It also features one-week battery life and the ability to adjust volume and control music tracks from the device.

The MB Chronowing timepiece comes in two versions, including a standard version that includes three interchangeable wrist straps in perforated brown leather, olive green nylon and black rubber, as well as a special MB Chronowing limited-edition black version, which is limited to only 300 copies. The regular MB Chronowing retails for $349, while the limited-edition version sells for $649.