Breitling Navitimer is a iconic aviation watch, that has been among the most advanced because it was put into production in 1952. One of those cases in horology where functionality led layout, it’s a watch that’s still used by pilots today, but it’s also popular with collectors due to the timeless looks. What makes the watch so important is the integrated flight computer that allows the wearer to compute nautical miles, flight times and fuel use.
Breitling set up their aviation department, making instruments and watches for the industry. In this department, Breitling and the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) designed the Navitimer watch together, and after viewing it, the AOPA immediately decided to make it their official watch, including their own winged logo to the dial.
Breitling Chronomat, fast gained traction and utilize worldwide for pilots. The opinion managed to be both a navigation instrument and a timepiece. It functions the same as a slide rule and has been the second of Breitling watches which could be used that way. It was the first calibre movement in the watch, and it had a 15 second counter instead of the normal 30 minutes. Sometimes, it had an aperture window with a minute disk instead of the usual sub-dial. Breitling would keep pushing forward within 1954 that the Naivitner receiving a special upgrade together with all the Valjoux 72 movement. There are no official figures on the amount of Navitimers created with this movement, and they’ve become a kind of cult among collectors, and are extremely rare. Even the Valjoux 72 movement has been used for a very brief time period and are known as pre 806 versions, due to the fact that the 806 reference amount isn’t present on the case back. This lasted push for the best watch for pilots, however, continued and this was the beginning of many changes and innovations to come. As can be expected, some of the early Navitimers are highly collectable, it has to be noted, nevertheless, that even relatively recent Navitimers continue to be highly collectable, in addition to looking good whilst worn, and it is always worth, if you see a fantastic case, to snap this up quickly.
The tell-tale hint of a design icon is how often the layout has influenced other watchmakers, the’appearance’ of the watch emulated in style wide and far. What cannot be imitated by other people, though, is the quantity of mechanical changes and advances that Breitling watches made with all the Navitimer. Already mentioned was that the very rapid reversal of movement, and as demand grew, more changes were made. In 1969, there was the inclusion of an automatic chronograph movement with the Breitling Calibre 11. From the early 1970’s The Breitling Navitimer Chronomatic 1806 even featured an LED electronic version. The subdial dimensions were increased, for better screening, following 1970, fewer small sub-dial watches were seen, which was phased out within the span.
During this century, there are several interesting progressions and different variants. There have been some changes from the event size, raising the diameter to 48mm for some special editions all of them remaining close to the original whilst reflecting fashions of the time. A few of these editions are ultimately more collectable than others, all, however, have the prestige of belonging to a iconic watch household.
Breitling Navitimers are used by the forces all over the globe and there are lots of Breitling ambassadors such as names like Sir Alan Sugar, Simon Cowell and Tommy Lee Jones. The Navitimer, however, is still the timeless, on land and in the air.