Breitling returns with two limited editions for aeronautical enthusiasts.
The Navitimer 01 Limited Edition uses Breitling’s first in-house movement, visible through the sapphire crystal caseback.
Pilot watches are easy to love, even for people who aren’t licensed to fly an aircraft. They’re masculine, functional and often come with exciting histories. But when it comes to watches that pilots actually want to wear, Breitling’s Navitimer tops many lists, thanks to its slide rule bezel (a measurement tool that modern pilots are still trained to use), rugged design and collectability. And, now, there are two more to add to your collection.
The Navitimer 01 Limited Edition takes the popular model’s signature black dial and white (or silver) subdials and switches them to a broodier, stealthier grey sunburst-finished dial with black subdials. Like the original, the markings were made using the par epargne method, which involves cutting into the dial, filling the spaces with enamel and then polishing the surface. This method ensures a much smoother, shinier finish and allows the markings to stand out beautifully against the watch’s dark face.
For a brand that prides itself on producing superb chronographs, it’s an added bonus that all its movements are COSC-certified. But the Calibre 01 that this watch uses is the brand’s first in-house movement, and you can view it through the sapphire crystal caseback alongside the black oscillating weight.
The 47-jewel calibre has a single barrel that provides enough power for a 70-hour reserve and instantaneous date change. It also has a frequency of 4Hz and a chronograph that is accurate to 1/4 of a second, and the latter can be read from the easy tri-compax register layout.
Despite its large scale of production (the Calibre 01 is also used in some Chronomat, Transocean and other Navitimer models), it still makes an effort to look good, and features Cotes de Geneve, circular graining, polished bevels and snailing.
The Navitimer 01 Limited Edition is available with a steel bracelet or leather or crocodile skin straps in a variety of colours. Only 1,000 pieces have been made.
The Navitimer watches have always been on the hefty side, so the Navitimer 01 Limited Edition’s 43mm case may be considered relatively small.
Those who prefer something even grander can consider the similarly styled 46mm Navitimer 1884 Limited Edition. The black chronograph comes with a day and month window at 12 o’clock, crescent moon-tipped date hand, a 24-hour register and small seconds at 9 o’clock and, of course, a circular slide rule. It was actually named after the year Leon Breitling founded the brand, and is thus limited to 1,884 pieces.
Breitling’s link with aviation wasn’t forged until the early 1930s. But having built its reputation on precision instruments, branching out and then specialising in onboard chronographs for aircraft was a natural evolution. Since then Breitling’s chronographs have accompanied fighter pilots, astronauts, commercial jet planes and, more recently, its own aerobatic team.
All this fascinating history will be presented at the aviation-themed exhibition that is set to take place at the Paragon Atrium from June 9 to 19. This year’s novelties will be on display, thanks to a collaboration with The Hour Glass and Watches of Switzerland, alongside Breitling’s latest jet simulator for a taste of aeronautical adventure.
The Navitimer 1884 Limited Edition is 46mm, 3mm bigger than the Navitimer 01. The watch is named after the year the brand was founded and is limited to 1,884 pieces.