Celebrating the 70th anniversary of Breitling’s original pilot’s watch, the brand has unveiled a redesigned collection. Featuring bold colour and enhanced styling, it reflects the incredible journeys of its aviation heritage.
A legendary timepiece
Breitling’s original iconic timepiece is now being honoured with the introduction of a new Navitimer. The edit includes the watch’s beloved classic features, with added modern refinements.
Georges Kern, CEO of the Swiss watchmaking brand, says: “We don’t throw the term ‘icon’ around lightly. The Navitimer is one of the most recognizable watches ever made. It’s on collectors’ lists of the greatest watches of all time. What began as a tool for pilots has gone on to mean something profound to every single person who has had this timepiece along on their personal journey.”
On earth, in the air and in space
In 1952, Willy Breitling developed a wrist-worn chronograph with a circular slide rule that allowed pilots to perform detailed flight calculations. The Navitimer (short for navigation timer) soon became Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) – the largest aviators’ club in the world – official timepiece.
The Navitimer’s growth ran parallel to that of the civil aviation industry. It was worn in the air by airline captains and aircraft enthusiasts, in space by astronaut Scott Carpenter in 1962 (who used it as a 24-hour timepiece to tell day from night) and on earth by mid-century celebs Miles Davis, Serge Gainsbourg, Jim Clark, and Graham Hill, who were drawn to its stylish design.
Preserving retro style with modern features
The new Navitimer retains the circular slide rule, baton indexes, a trio of chronograph counters, a notched bezel for easy grip and the return of the AOPA wings to their original position at 12 o’clock. But take a closer look and you’ll see many modern refinements; a flattened slide rule, a domed crystal to create the illusion of a more compact profile, alternate polished and brushed finishes to give the metal elements a lustrous yet understated quality and a slimmer silhouette on the oscillating weight. The latter enhances the open-case back view of the COSC-certified Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01.
The movement is backed by a five-year warranty, approximately 70 hours of power reserve, and a date changing function visible through a discreet window in the subdial at 6 o’clock. There are three sizes to choose from (46, 43, or 41 mm), two case materials (stainless steel or 18-karat red gold), a choice of straps (semi-shiny alligator or seven-row metal bracelet), and shades of blue, green, and copper on its updated dial options.
Navitimer—for the journey
Breitling’s timepiece has become a symbol for those plotting their personal journeys through life, something that’s echoed in the launch campaign: Navitimer—for the journey. The ‘Navitimer Squad’ is made up of basketball superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland, and aviation pioneer and explorer Bertrand Piccard. Each one of these specialists has charted and maintained their unique and determined course toward their ambitions. Using powerful visuals and the Squad Members’ own narration, the campaign gets to the heart of these moving journeys.
Misty Copeland commented: “This project means a lot to me because it celebrates not only where I was in life, but where I’d come from and where I am going. There is an absolute parallel between navigating towards a physical destination and navigating towards the vision of where you want to be in life. You’ll see that theme come through in these three stories.”
The launch marks a whole new phase for the Navitimer and forms part of its adventurous cross-century journey. Bringing modern aesthetics and values together with historic watchmaking, Breitling has created a fresh take on the identity of a truly iconic watch.