About Breitling Navitimer Watches
The Breitling Navitimer is one of the most legendary aviator watches currently in existence. Created in 1952 as an evolution of the 1942 Breitling Chronomat, the Navitimer improved upon the Chronomat’s bezel. It came with a slide rule bezel that could be used to calculate complex operations.
Because of its technological capacity meant for those in the air, the Breitling brand has long been associated with and admired by pilots. It started in 1934 when the brand created a watch with a scale that could perform the most necessary logarithmic calculations. The scale on the bezel had the three most significant units that pilots must use: the standard mileage, kilometers, and nautical miles. The computer on the watch now allows pilots to calculate essential figures such as their fuel consumption, and their average and climbing speeds.
Navitimer comes from the combination of the words Navigation and Timer, implying the importance of these two elements for those who take to the skies. Each piece features the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) logo on the dial, and it quickly became the official watch of the organization. In addition, Breitling is also the supplier of board instruments for all of the most well-known aircraft companies.
The first edition of the watch was the 806, which was featured a manual chronograph movement. As an early edition, it is now highly valuable and collectible. In the 1960s, Breitling changed this movement out for a Valjoux 7740, which is a manually wound movement with a date feature.
In 1969, a more innovative chronograph was developed. A collaboration between Breitling, Heuer, and Gérald Dubois of Dubois Dépraz resulted in the modular chronograph mechanism, otherwise known as the Calibre 11. This movement is unique, particularly in its crown positioned on the left.
In the 1970s, the Quartz Crisis hit, severely hurting many Swiss watchmakers. Because of the sale of Japanese Quartz watches, many Swiss brands suffered. Breitling was one of them, and the Navitimer briefly disappeared as a result of this hardship. Willy Breitling had to sell the company, but Ernest Schneider bought the company in 1978, and it developed a new life in 1982. Fortunately, the Navitimer made a resurgence in the 1990s, maintaining consistent popularity ever since.
A series of new Navitimer lines were introduced, including the Airborne, which featured four sub-counters. They also released the Old Navitimer, which was designed to closely resemble the 806 original due to the reverse panda and inclusion of 3 sub-dials.
In 2012, in celebration of the Navitimer’s 60th anniversary, Breitling released a limited, 500-piece edition featuring a stunning Blue Sky dial. It also featured an in-house movement with a see-through case back. It has a blue alligator strap and an iconic pilot stainless steel bracelet.
The Navitimer is currently one of the most iconic chronographs in the world. While designed with pilots in mind, it’s also an attractive piece for the avid collector or frequent traveler. Its tools are engaging and the design elegant. Despite access to modern calculators, the watch’s slide rule is forever elaborate, appealing, and highly impressive.