Breitling Navitimer Chronograph Wristwatch: The Aviator's Watch

Breitling Navitimer Gaston Breitling

Certain watches inevitably become part of the historical landscape of the world of watches.

These legendary watches have been forged throughout history and have become indispensable in completing watch culture.

They are usually from well-known brands, but that's not all.

There are many legendary watches such as the G-Shock, the Omega Speedmaster or the TAG Heuer Monaco, but today we will be looking at the history of the Breitling Navitimer.

This cult watch is best known for its slide rule face and the many aviators who have adorned it on their wrists as it crisscrosses the globe.

The Origins of Breitling

In 2014, Breitling celebrated its 130th anniversary.

This prestigious Swiss factory was founded in the Jura region in 1884, and from the very beginning, founder Léon Breitling was dedicated to extremely precise craftsmanship.

The idea of ​​meters and chronographs was used in sporting, automotive and aviation applications.

Breitling introduced its first wristwatch chronograph in 1915.

An independent push button for the chronograph was also developed at the same time.

A few years later, in 1923, Breitling improved on this system by separating the "start/stop" and "return to zero" functions.

Breitling Early Navitimer

This patented technology will continue to be updated.

This refinement was physically completed in 1934, creating the second pusher and resulting in the chronograph wristwatch design we know today.

Another revolution came in 1969, when the concept of the automatic chronograph was introduced for the first time.

Staying true to its original principles, Breitling has been found in RAF cockpits, on NASA astronauts' watches, and much more, just as it is today.

The rest of the Navitimer history

Breitling Navitimer with Slide Rule

In 1952, the Breitling Navitimer was born as a true aviator's wristwatch.

The name is simply a contraction of "navigation" and "timer."

In 1942, it was upgraded to a Chronomat model with a rotating slide rule, allowing the Navitimer to handle all aviation-related tasks, including calculating fuel consumption, climbing times, and converting between miles, nautical miles, and kilometers, all without the need for additional tools.

It's no coincidence that all early Navitimers feature the AOPA (Automobile Owners and Pilots Association) logo on the dial.

Early models (see 806) had mechanical movements with manual winding facilities, and production of the Venus 176 was outsourced.

A limited series introduced in 1954, the 806 powered the Valjoux 72 movement (the same as the Rolex Daytona).

This model is highly popular among collectors.

Its success was later ensured by brilliant marketing using the Swiss ambassador and Swiss advertising man Georges Caspari.

With campaigns targeted at aviators and international aviation specialist vendors, demand exploded with the development of aviation advertising.

Breitling Navitimer

Several 1957 Boeing aircraft, including the 707 (the type owned by John Travolta), were equipped with Breitling-signed aviation equipment.

American astronaut Scott Carpenter, who was aboard NASA's Aurora Seven, was wearing a Breitling Navitimer, making it the first wristwatch chronograph model to travel in space.

A legend was born and the watch became an object of adoration for enthusiasts.

Pioneers of the wristwatch

Breitling Navitimer inside (movement)

During this time, the watch industry continued to innovate, and the automatic movement developed by Rolex became the standard for three-hand watches, while simple complication watches capable of displaying the day of the week, date, and phases of the moon became common.

Breitling replaced the Venus 178 for the Valjoux 7740, equipped it with a date complication, and decided to computer-aided production.

However, since 1969, there have been no major advances in automated chronograph production.

The legendary movement No. 11 came to light thanks to Gérard Dubois, who worked at Dépraz & Cie and collaborated with Jacques Boyer and Willy Breitling.

Using the foundations of Büren Watches and an automatic movement with a tiny rotor plus a modular mechanism, the first automatic chronograph was born.

The concept of this technique explains why the oscillating weight is invisible when placed in an open watch case.

This small feature of the movement - the crown is on the left and the pusher on the right - radically changes the look of the watch.

The dial has changed from bi-compax to tri-compax.

Breitling Navitimer Digital Edition

The Death and Rebirth of the Breitling Navitimer

In the 1970s, quartz watches soon arrived from Japan.

With the watch industry in crisis, Breitling responded with the idea for a digital version of the Navitimer.

Despite this, sales plummeted and the late 1970s marked the end of the Swiss brand, with the factory being forced to close and put up for sale.

The German watch company Sinn took advantage of this opportunity by buying up all the components of the Navitimer, along with the rights to use the dials for selling official versions bearing the Sinn logo.

In 1978, the owner of affordable watch brand Shikra, an aviation enthusiast, bought the brand and breathed new life into it in 1982.

His plan worked and in the early 1990s mechanical watches began to enjoy new popularity.

A new version of the Navitimer was created, equipped with the famous Valjoux 7750.

Numerous versions have been released, but there is no prospect of an 11th edition.

Inside the Breitling Navitimer automatic movement

In 2009, Breitling took a major step.

The bad news is over, and a new movement, the Breitling 01, is introduced.

The genuine in-house chronograph movement is integrated (no modules) and chronometer certified by the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC).

The most recent development was in 2014 when the case size increased from 42mm to 46mm to meet growing demand for larger diameter watches.

Since then, the Navitimer has remained an object of desire and has maintained its position as the watch of choice for aviators.

John Travolta has become an ambassador and various air forces are equipping their pilots with it.

Breitling Navitimer front (dial)

Breitling Navitimer diagonal image

Breitling Navitimer side (crown)

Breitling Navitimer Movement inside the back

Next, I will give you the latest information on Breitling (as of February 2016).

Swissair and Breitling to fly Boeing 777 together

Breitling Navitimer Swissair

Swissair has just received a new flagship plane.

The aircraft is a Boeing 777-300ER, or affectionately known as the "Triple Seven."

This monster of the skies can carry 340 passengers nearly 11,000 kilometers per flight.

By comparison, Swissair's largest aircraft was previously the Airbus A340-300, which was limited to 219 seats.

The Triple Seven holds numerous records as a civil aviation aircraft.

It is the longest airplane in the world (73.9 metres compared to 73 metres for the Airbus A340) and is equipped with a pair of the largest and most powerful jet engines in existence, with a diameter of 3.2 metres.

It also consumes 23 percent less fuel than the A340.

From February 21, flights will be phased in from Switzerland to New York, Montreal, Hong Kong, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Bangkok.

A "real" plane, Captain Andreas Bonner, the Swiss pilot who pilots it, explains to us.

"The Triple Seven still has a real control stick installed, even though its competitors' planes are piloted with the help of a computer-assisted joystick."

Swissair Boeing 777

Let's move on to the scene of the watch store brand Breitling.

The two Swiss companies have decided to put this giant of the skies into service with a solid partnership.

The closeness between the two companies, which is undoubtedly linked in terms of history, type and the marketing of the Grenchen-based watch shop, was linked by the aeronautic industry.

Quite literally shooting into the air, representatives of the two companies, Swissair Chief Operating Officer Markus Binkert and Breitling Vice President Jean-Paul Girardin, revealed some of the privileges of the collaboration.

For the occasion, the Boeing 777, a long-haul aircraft of course, will make a detour to London for scheduled passengers who want to see the regular A321s being replaced by the giant Swiss newborns.

The partnership will see Breitling become Swissair's "Official Internal Timekeeper."

The clock is displayed on the screen attached to the seat on the plane.

Breitling Navitimer Boeing 777 Limited Edition

What's unique about the launch of a watch bearing the two brand marks is how it will be marketed.

It is only available on board Swissair flights.

777 of the Breitling Navitimer Swissair Boeing 777 Limited Edition will be made, and will retail for 7,077 Swiss francs (that's not a mistake - it's 777 Swiss francs).

The chronograph is made of steel with a black dial and a second hand that is tinted a pale red and is decorated with a small airplane at the tip.

The back features the Boeing 777-300ER and Swissair logos and protects Breitling's homemade movement, the Breitling 01.

It's only natural that a base model like the Navitimer contributed to the inspiration for this special series.

Since its launch in 1952, Breitling has firmly established itself as "the watch for aviators."

As Jean-Paul Girardin recalls, the love of aviation began in the early 1930s with Breitling's official adoption into Royal Air Force aircraft.

With 60 years of uninterrupted production, the Navitimer features a slide rule bezel that solves all aviation related tasks.

Convert miles to kilometers, calculate fuel, calculate rotational speed, etc.

Although today aviators use computer terminals, the appeal of the Navitimer remains the same, making it the object of enthusiast worship more than ever before.

It is worth noting that when you purchase your watch on board a Swissair flight, the captain himself will hand over your watch at an altitude of 10,000 meters and will also provide you with a certificate signed by him.

It's a nice gesture.

Breitling Navitimer Swiss Air Boeing 777 Limited Edition Back

Swissair Boeing 777-300ER

Passengers: 340 (219 on the Airbus A340-300)
Radius: 10,700km
Engines: 2 General Electric jet engines (world's largest aircraft jet engines)
(engine diameter 3.2m)
Crew: 17 (3 pilots, 14 cabin crew)
Maximum speed: 945km/h Length: 73.9m (A340 is 73m)
Height: 18.5m
Wingspan: 64.8m
Total takeoff weight: 351.5 tonnes

Breitling Navitimer Swiss Air Boeing 777 Limited Edition

Movement: Breitling 01, chronometer officially COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer)
Guaranteed by the Inspection Association, 28,800 vibrations, 47 jewels, 1/4 second chronograph, total
Zeta 30-minute counter and 12-hour counter, with calendar
Case: Steel, water resistant to 3 ATM
Bezel: Rotating bezel, rotating slide rule
Glass: Domed sapphire, anti-reflective on both sides
Diameter: 43mm
Dial: Black
Bracelet: Leather