The Breitling Navitimer is one of the most enduringly popular in the brand’s oeuvre and, for this reason, it is also one of the most varied of Breitling watches with the most iterations. A range of sizes, colors and styles are available yet what all have in common is the distinctive Navitimer bidirectional rotating bezel as well as a circular slide rule for onboard calculations. Let’s take a look at some of the key versions in the Breitling Navitimer range.
Let us begin with perhaps the most incredible of all Navitimer watches, the B03 Chronograph Rattrapante. This is a special take on one of horology’s most stunning complications: the rattrapante. This function allows us to measure two elapsed times at once, with two superimposed central chronograph hands. One of these can be stopped in order to gauge an intermediate/split time, a special feature for pilots and one that sums up the model’s commitment to innovation.
Boasting an 18k red gold case and grey face with special black subdials, it is visually special and fresh. The Breitling logo is split between the two middle hands of the watch and arrives in tandem with the B on the red chronograph hand smartly overlaps with the anchor on the split-seconds hand. Yet again, a clever thing that shows off the elegance and creativity of Breitling.
Then there is the fresh Navitimer BO1 Chronograph 46, a legendary Navitimer featuring a big 46 mm diameter showing off its place on the wrist and boosting the uniqueness of its aesthetic, while making better the showing of the face and the amazing aviation slide rule. A see-through caseback shows the chronometer-certified, modern self-winding chronograph caliber, Manufacturing Breitling Caliber 01. What’s more, the steel and steel & gold styles of this watch come in red gold too.
Then there is the Breitling Navitimer Chronograph GMT 46, with its dark dial and easily readable dual timezone style, which is intended for the contemporary globetrotter. A red-tipped central hand can show the time on a 24-hour scale at any place and the caseback boasts many of the time zones of the globe’s big cities.
The automatic movement comes in a 46mm case, which has a special bidirectional moving bezel and Breitling’s legendary circular slide rule for making quick sums. Fuelled by a self-winding Breitling 24 caliber, this smart tool watch comes upon a black alligator or leather strap, or with a specially made stainless steel bracelet.
Breitling Family Legacy
Upon the death of Léon Breitling in 1914, his son Gaston took over the family name. He had taken on his father’s spirit, creativity, and an unquenchable love for chronographs, which he showed in 1915 with the release of one of the globe’s very first chronographs with an iconic push-piece right over the watch crown.
The company increased in success until 1952 with the release of a totally original watch that to this day remains a legend. The Breitling Navitimer is an amalgamation of the words navigation and timer, boasting as it does with the flight specific slide rule that was first launched with the Chronomat watch. Certainly, it is no surprise that thousands of pilots, airlines and aircraft manufacturers have decided to go with this timepiece.
In 1982, Breitling Montres SA was officially registered and the brand moved to the town of Grenchen under new ownership. Indeed, the company had its 100th anniversary in 1984 with a totally renovated Chronomat marking the occasion. This was a watch famous for its bezel and its stunning automatic calibre. The watch was inspired by a watch that Breitling had created the year before the famous flying group Frecce Tricolori.
A serious event occurred in May 2017 when Breitling was bought by CVC Capital Partners and in July of that year, Georges Kern took on the mantle of CEO. With his group, Kern, who had by then forged a top reputation in horology, was able to continue the extremely beautiful Breitling story whose roots stretched all the way back to a miniscule factory in St. Imier in the late 19th century.
In the end, the Breitling Navitimer is a truly phenomenal watch. A miracle of modern Swiss watchmaking, this is a rugged and yet elegant watch that has garnered a huge following across the entire globe.