By Kien Lee
Launched in 1952, Breitling's Navitimer 1 has its place in the annals of watchmaking. Instantly recognizable with its circular slide rule on its bezel, the timepiece performed a range of calculations relevant to aviation, and was quickly adopted by pilots. This relationship was especially embraced by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), with a successful partnership propelling it to greater awareness and heights, and eventually, a warm reception by the general public and watch buyers.
In 2018, under the leadership of the new incoming CEO Georges Kern, the Navitimer collection adds eight new references, offering a variety of sizes, dial options, bracelets, and straps. Kern as we learned in a sit-down interview with him, has set himself the goal of extending Breitling's lead in the American market globally, and in particular China. Exuding a renewed drive and determination since leaving the folds of the Richemont group and now with "skin in the game" (the new CEO is also a shareholder of Breitling), Kern clearly has an eye towards broadening the Navitimer's appeal to a whole new generation.
The additions to the family leads off with the Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 46 with its 46mm millimeter 18 k red gold case. It comes either with an anthracite dial and a black alligator leather strap, or a silver dial and a brown leather strap, and not forgetting its legendary bidirectional rotating bezel with a circular slide rule. The hour and minute hands are read-able in dim conditions, having been coated with Super-LumiNova®.
The use of an in-house automatic movement inside, the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, is revealed by a "tell", its contrasting subdials (the "inverse panda look"). Possessing a power reserve of more than 70 hours, the B01s are COSC- certified chronometers and feature transparent sapphire casebacks.
Prices range from S$33,600 to S$13,250 in Singapore.
Next in the line-up is the Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43. Sized obviously at 43mm, it comes in four versions, ranging from an 18 k red gold case with a blue dial on a black alligator leather strap, or a stainless-steel and 18 k red gold model with a Stratos Gray dial, also on a black alligator leather strap. Two stainless-steel versions with a blue dial and a black alligator leather strap, or silver dial and a classic Navitimer stainless-steel bracelet, complete the offering.
Contrasting sub-dials again, are a visual giveaway of the in-house Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01 inside.
Prices range from S$29,860 to S$13,100 in Singapore.
Available in a smaller diameter is the Navitimer 1 Chronograph 41 which is available in steel and 18 k red gold with a red gold bi-directional rotating bezel, or a black dial and a black leather strap, and finally a stainless-steel version with a silver dial and brown leather strap. The sub-dials match the dial, serving as an indication of the use of the COSC-certified Breitling Caliber 13 chronometer inside, which is based on the well-known ETA Valjoux 7750 movement.
Prices range from S$10,600 to S$8,830 in Singapore.
Finally the Navitimer 1 Automatic 38, which is smaller at 38mm and features no sub-dials. The timepiece features a newly-designed beaded and ratcheted bi-directional bezel, to operate the aviation slide rule.
A date window appears at 6 o'clock, with a matching date disc and a red-tipped second hand, and a screwed caseback. Available in either a black or blue dial and matching alligator leather straps, a silver dial in a stainless-steel version, or an 18 k red gold bezel and a brown alligator leather strap.
COSC-certified, the Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 offers at least 40 hours of power reserve.
Prices range from S$8,030 to S$5,950 in Singapore.