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Reviewing the Breitling Top Time Shelby Cobra

Breitling has released a classic chronograph dedicated to the original 1960s Shelby Cobra racing car as part of its Classic Cars Capsule Collection. The watch belongs to the brand’s Top Time watch range and features the Cobra logo engraved upon its 40mm steel caseback


Setting sunsets on the open road, throwing caution to the wind as you meander your way through American deserts, and star-lit skies by night. That’s living the dream, right? And whether you do it in a classic American car or not, one certainty is that you can hit the road with the Breitling Top Time Shelby Cobra watch attached to your wrist. The new release by Breitling came just in time for the Geneva Watch Days 2021 event and belongs to a trio of delights, all similarly styled and inspired by American muscle cars of a bygone era. The new Breitling Classic Cars Capsule Collection presents the red and black Chevrolet Corvette, the green and black Ford Mustang watch and the blue and silver Shelby Cobra watch – all chronograph complications and all occupying the 40-42mm case size range. In this article, we’re going to look at the Breitling Top Time Shelby Cobra in a little more detail.



The new Breitling Top Time Shelby Cobra watch is the only model out of the three that measures a more compact 40mm case, making it an ideal option for those with a slender wrist size. Not only that, but its dial looks slightly different too, with silver-filled chronographs placed at 3 and 9 o’clock as opposed to the black-filled 3-6-9 layout of the Chevrolet Corvette and Ford Mustang watches. The new model belongs to the Swiss brand’s Top Time watch collection – a family of chronograph wristwatches that pay homage to an important timepiece in the brand’s history. The Top Time watch had a very unique following during the 1960s. In fact, Breitling first began presenting the watch in 1962, pitching it to an audience with an interest in sports and technology. It was released under the statement;


“The Chronograph is no longer a specialist’s timepiece. It has become the watch for younger people.”


Three different functions were made available in the Breitling Top Time model; a tachymeter for calculating average speeds when racing, a pulsometer scale for calculating an average heart rate after a run, and a decimal scale for anybody who wanted to make timing easier by using a scale showing one-hundredths of a minute. When the Top Time line ceased production and fizzled out in the 1970s, it sparked disappointment throughout a whole community of sports chronograph watch lovers. That was until last year when Breitling reinvented the popular watch with its distinctive DNA. 



Expanding the Top Time line further is the Breitling Top Time Shelby Cobra watch, based on the original Ford Shelby Cobra – a concept that was a continuation of Ford's effort to bring back the retro sports cars that had been successful in the 1960s, including the Ford GT40 and the fifth generation Ford Mustang. When carmaker, Carroll Shelby got the news that AC Cars from England would stop production of their AC Ace model due to the unavailability of the Bristol six-cylinder engines, the entrepreneur was able to fulfil his dream of building a revolutionary car that would influence the car industry and epitomize the classic muscle car forever. The extreme sports car combined British chassis with American racing engineering and is still a hugely sought-after car today.


About the new Breitling Top Time Shelby Cobra watch


The first thing to notice about the Shelby Cobra watch is its eye-catching blue-coloured dial, which echoes the shade used in the original 1962 American racing car. The watch differs slightly compared to its two siblings in the fact that it measures a smaller case, features light-coloured chronograph counters in a bicompax layout, and is powered by a different automatic movement. The stainless steel case of the blue dialled Top Time watch features polished piston-style push-pieces at 2 and 4 o’clock, evoking the same vintage-inspired flare as other models from the range. The caseback is snapped and upon its surface of an image of the Shelby Cobra logo. The 40mm case is also integrated with 100-meter water resistance and to assist with this, a non screw-locked crown at 3 o’clock is fitted with two gaskets, ensuring the internal environment remains dry for the automatic calibre to perform inside. The top of the case is sealed with a cambered piece of scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass, treated with anti-reflective technology for a clear and glare-free view into the blue and silver dial.



The display of the new Breitling Top Time Shelby Cobra watch is equipped with Super-LumiNova-treated stick markers around the hour track, together with central luminous hour and minute hands. Flashes of red can be seen in the central chronograph hand and the 30-minute sub-counter hand. This sub-scale is balanced by a small second sub-counter at 3 o’clock, equipped with a blue coloured hand. Surrounding these counters positioned on an east-west axis is a tachymeter scale presented in silver tones but with vivid red highlights for measuring speed based on distance. At the 6 o’clock location and accented in red is the Cobra snake logo – a motif that is also repeated, as aforementioned, on the back of the snapped steel case.


Inside the case of the new Breitling Top Time Shelby Cobra watch is the Breitling 41 movement, which produces a power reserve of 42 hours once fully wound. It offers 1/4th of a second and 30-minute function, together with central hours and minutes hand and a small seconds function at 3 o’clock. The self-winding mechanical movement comprises 38 jewels and is COSC-certified, beating at a rate of 28,800 vibrations as it performs.



To complete the classic styling of the new Top Time watch from Breitling, the Shelby Cobra watch is fitted on a brown racing-themed calfskin leather strap, securing with a Breitling-engraved folding clasp crafted from matching stainless steel. For more information on the Classic Cars Capsule Collection by Breitling, you can check the range out here, or call our Jura Watches sales team on 01335 453453 to discuss the Top Time Shelby Cobra watch in more detail.


Technical Specifications of the Breitling Top Time Shelby Cobra watch

  • Case: 40mm - stainless steel – 100-meter water-resistant – snapped caseback engraved with an image of the Cobra snake logo – anti-reflective sapphire crystal glass front – non screw-locked crown with two gaskets
  • Dial: Blue – silver-filled chronograph counters at 6 and 9 o’clock – Super-LumiNova-coated stick hour markers and hands –red accents - silver tachymeter scale – Cobra logo at 6 o’clock – 30-minute and small seconds counters - 1/14th of a second central chronograph hand
  • Movement: Breitling Calibre 41 – self-winding – COSC-certified – 28,800 v. P. H – 42-hour power reserve – 1/4th of a second – 30-minute functions
  • Strap: Brown racing-themed perforated leather strap – stainless steel folding clasp – engraved with the Breitling logo
  • Reference: A41315A71C1X2
  • Price: £4,360
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