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Navitimer - an icon among the aviation watches
The Breitling Navitimer
is a classic aviator watch
and one of Breitling's most popular models. Originally it was mainly used by pilots and officers because of its iconic slide rule bezel. Thanks to its unique style, it quickly became popular beyond professionals.
Although it was developed as early as the 1950s, the classic design of the Navitimer has changed little over the years. It´s size makes it a distinctive eye-catcher on the wrist. Over the years special editions and a variation of models have been published that make Breitling watches an interesting investment.
The history of the Navitimer: The evolution from the Chronomat to an icon
Prior to the launch of the Navitimer, Breitling had already gained experience with pilot watches: The Navitimer is a further development of the first Breitling pilot's watch, the Chronomat
, which was launched in 1942 and used by the US Army Air Force as an official pilot's watch. When Breitling released the Navitimer in 1952, on-board computers were not as technically advanced as they are today. The slide rule bezel of the Navitimer has some more complex functions than the Chronomat. For example, fuel consumption and average speed can be easily calculated with it. This combination of navigation and time measurement is reflected in the name again, then an absolute novelty. Initially, it was therefore especially popular for the use of aviation calculations with pilots.
In early models, the caliber Valjoux 72 was used, which was later replaced by the Venus 178. From 2010, the completely new developed Breitling B01 manufacture caliber was used, which is also noticeable in the new models like the Navitimer 01
Over the years, different versions of the wristwatch have been developed. Their initial 40 mm diameter was first reduced, with the sub-dials had to be moved slightly to leave at 3 o'clock enough space for the date window. Later, however, their case became larger again, the Navitimer 01 46
with a case diameter of 46 mm, for example, a more eye-catching specimen. A self-winding variant was introduced in 1969, later automatic models are showing the date between the 4 and 5 o'clock position.
The Navitimer Line Up
Through the introduction of several related models and new complications over time a whole model line including special editions was created. Especially the purchase of old references and special models is very popular among collectors.
The classic models include the Navitimer and the Navitimer 01
. The latter was launched in 2010 with a new movement. The Navitimer 01 Limited Edition is limited to 1000 copies. It is characterized by a dark grey dial with offset in black sub-dials. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the model, the Navitimer 50th Anniversary was launched in 2002. Its dial comes in classic black, there are stainless steel variants and limited references (J41322, K41322) in yellow and white gold. Breitling celebrated its 125th birthday in 2009 with the Navitimer 125e Anniversaire.
As a classic version of the original model, the Old Navitimer
is still an exciting series. It was produced between 1993 and 2002 and corresponds to the 1952 original presented. Other noteworthy series include the Navitimer Cosmonaute
, which, thanks to its 24-hour graduation, is perfect (not only) for use in space. The Navitimer Heritage
pays homage to the original design of the watch, as does the Navitimer Montbrillant
and Navitimer Montbrillant Datora
. The name is inspired by the rue Montbrillant, which has a home with Breitling since a long time. It combines traditional Breitling optics with modern technology. The Navitimer World
also has a 24-bezel and can simultaneously refer to two different time zones.
The Navitimer 1952 QP is a very complex model, consisting of almost 500 parts, which can display the time, date, week, season and moon phase.
Famous owners of the Navitimer
The Breitling Navitimer is famed as one of the great Breitling icons, so it's no wonder that it's regularly featured on at least as famous wrists. Musician and bon vivant Miles Davis was known to have a Navitimer Ref. 806, which he wears on various photos. It can also be seen in a photo shoot with Guy Le Querrec for Magnum from around 1969. Actor John Travolta has been a brand ambassador for Breitling since 2005 and is featured in several commercials with models from the current collection. Serge Gainsbourg is another actor who likes to be seen with his Navitimer. His 81600 can be admired on various photos of him.
Interesting models of the Navitimer series
- The Breitling Navitimer 01 AB012012.BB01.435X.A20BA.1 is a model with 43 mm case diameter. It is equipped with a sturdy stainless steel bezel and comes with an elegant black calfskin strap.
- The Breitling Navitimer World A2432212.G571.443A comes with stainless steel case and strap. With a 46 mm case diameter, it is a striking model that is characterized by the eye-catching bezel typical for the Navitimer. An additional ring refers to a second time zone.
- The Breitling Navitimer A35340 is a classic model of the collection: 42 mm case, bezel and bracelet are made of stainless steel, on the white dial, the black sub-dials are strikingly offset.
- The Breitling Navitimer R23322 is an elegant model with rose gold case and alligator skin strap. The case has a diameter of 41.8 mm, the dial comes in black with color raised outer ring and sub-dials in champagne.
More exciting Breitling series
- The Breitling Avenger series is particularly robust and intended for professional use. In 2013, the new generation with Avenger II Seawolf and Avenger II GMT were presented.
- The Breitling Colt Chronograph is a great beginner model. Originally developed for military use, it convinces with a masculine look in a distinctive design.
- The Breitling Superocean Chronograph is a classic diver's watch, which convinces waterproofness. With its unidirectional bezel, it’s the perfect companion, not just underwater.
- The Breitling Chronomat is also a pilot's watch that has remained true to its roots. Over the years, the design has maintained its recognition value and has become an icon.