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Without a doubt, Breitling is among the world’s most famous luxury watch brands. The luxury watchmakers have a long and impressive history dating back well into the 19th century. It continues to make a significant mark in the world of aviation today.
NanaDC discusses Breitling so you can learn more about this Swiss watch company’s unique history and discover the most popular Breitling models.
An unmistakable story of success
, Léon Breitling founded the Breitling brand in the Swiss Jura as early as 1884. His commitment was to create precision chronographs.
Thirty-nine years later, in 1923, the first wristwatch fitted with independent chronograph pushers was developed by Breitling. This not only enabled a complete reset but also allowed the addition of a stopwatch function. Further development in the following 11 years allowed Breitling to provide the chronograph with a modern look that has remained iconic and influential even now.
Connection to aeronautics
Over this period of the 20th Century, Breitling has closely associated itself with the field of aviation, It is an association that has lasted for many decades.
In 1936, the Swiss watchmaker was supplying the British RAF with timepieces for its pilots to use. Indeed, by the time the Navitimer was launched on the market in 1952, it became the official recommendation for pilots to use by none other than the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).
What is interesting is that there are some examples of the Navitimer models that do not show the Breitling logo on the dial. Instead, they carry the AOPA coat of arms. It is not surprising that the Navitimer now not only represents the Breitling brand, but also the world of aviation.
It is a justified reputation as the watch does feature a circular slide rule. This allows wearers to carry out several of the necessary flight-related calculations.
Breitling achieved another milestone in 2009. It was in time for the company’s 125th anniversary. This is when Breitling was able to present its first movement produced in-house. The event took place at Baselworld and the product was the Caliber B01. Befitting the brand’s history, it was no surprise that the Calibre B01 turned out to be a chronograph movement.
Indeed, the company fits certified chronometers to all models. The watches are generally marketed either as diving watches (e.g. the SuperOcean) or aviation models like the Navitimer.
The Navitimer’s aviation functions have largely been replaced in the aviation business by modern electronic instruments.
Breitling watches are characterized by having polished cases and bracelets with large watch faces that have been designed to enhance their readability. Many of the models have automatic winding mechanisms.
One of the early astronauts involved in the Mercury space program approached Breitling with a request that the company replaced the normal 12-hour dial with a 24-hour version to the Navitimer watch.
This was in 1961, and the astronaut was Scott Carpenter. He said the changes were needed because there was a lack of day and night when travelling in space. As a result, Breitling produced a 24-hour Navitimer and Carpenter wore it on his space flight in 1962.