The Batcave beneath Wayne Manor has always been full of whizzy boy’s toys, but when it came to horological hardwear, there’s never been anything more than the odd Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso, as worn by Christian Bale and Val Kilmer’s billionaire playboy crimefighters (remember Batman Forever? Us neither, if we’re honest).
Well, that all changes this year with DC Comics’ current mash-up release, Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice – henceforth known as SuperBat. Say whatever you want about the film itself, but you certainly can’t fault what’s ticking on the wrists of Ben Affleck, AKA the Caped Crusader himself, and his trusty sidekick Jeremy Irons, playing a version of Alfred the Butler who seems more handy with a soldering iron than a tea set in this reboot.
Bruce Wayne wins of course, being Bruce Wayne, sporting nothing less than a Breguet Tradition Fusée Tourbillon 7047PT – retailing for a cool £135,600 in platinum. Like the new Batmobile (half Lambo’, half Hummer, half Stealth Fighter) it’s about as tricked-out, yet stripped-back a replica watch can be, boasting nothing less than a tourbillon cage at 2 o’clock, tumbling the ticking silicon escapement over and over, in turn powered by a mechanism that delivers a constant force, despite the torque of the winding barrel gradually winding down – a venerable, tricksy system known as a fusée and chain.
Using the same principle as a bicycle chain driving your rear wheel via a stepped gear cassette, a microscopic bicycle chain (it really does look exactly the same) gradually unwinds from the top of a conical hub, increasing the torque fed into the geartrain from the winding barrel as the barrel’s spring unwinds and loses its “oomph”. In Georgian times, one of the worst jobs a child could be forced to do, along with sweeping chimneys and clambering inside working looms, was making the 500-or-so components for fusée chains. These days it’s a highly prestigious badge of honour.
Meanwhile, back at the Batcave… Alfred is toiling away on Batman’s new, pumped-up exoskeleton in preparation for a showdown with Superman. And what do we spy upon his wrist? Why, a tribute to an appropriately British, but rather more refined machine: Breitling for Bentley’s 6.75 Midnight Carbon (£8,010), named after the carmaker from Crewe’s legendary 6.75-litre naturally aspirated V8, driven by Breitling’s equivalent engine, the B01 chronometer chronograph, and dressed in Utility Belt-worthy matte black.
Superman doesn’t wear a high quality replica watch, by the way. But then again, he’s Clark Kent, and Clark Kent’s a dweeb.