The Breitling Navitimer is an icon in the watchmaking world whose history begins as early as 1952. With its characteristic slide rule bezel, which all Navitimer models now have again, and the contrast counters, it is one of the most coveted pilot’s best Breitling replica watches of all. In this article you can find out how it all began 71 years ago and how the Breitling Navitimer developed into a cult watch. We also show current models of the legendary pilot’s watch. You will also find out why the Navitimer inspires pilots and watch fans today just as it did seven decades ago and what opportunities it offers for collectors of vintage watches.
Probably the most legendary model among the pilot’s cheap Breitling fake watches is a chronograph with a flight computer and turned 70 in 2022. Even today, pilots around the world still wear the Breitling Navtimer, and in some air forces it is part of the regular equipment of squadron pilots. Prominent aviators such as John Travolta, owner and pilot of a Boeing 707 and a Bombardier Challenger 601 and other aircraft, are also among the Navitimer wearers and Breitling brand ambassadors. The company itself has its own aerobatic team, the Breitling Jet Team. Breitling also organizes its own air shows and owns legendary aircraft such as a 1940 DC-3 and a 1955 Super Constellation.
Why is the Breitling Navitimer one of the most famous pilot’s top replica Breitling watches? What calculations can you do with the slide rule bezel? How good are the current Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 and its manufacture caliber Breitling 01? Find out everything about the iconic Breitling Navitimer in our Watch Talk:
1952: The Breitling Navitimer appears
In 1952 the new Breitling chronograph appeared as a further development of the Chronomat with a slide rule bezel from 1942 – the Navitimer was born. With the help of the slide rule bezel, complex arithmetic operations can be carried out without any additional tools. The Venus 176 hand-wound movement drives the Chronomat and is also used by the US Air Force. The development took its course long before his era: Breitling was born – a brand for aviators.
Looking for work drives a certain Léon Breitling to Switzerland. At the age of 24, the trained watchmaker made his first chronograph in Saint-Imier – this year 1884 is also considered the official founding year of Breitling. In 1892, the young company moved to La Chaux-de-Fonds and mainly produced chronographs for the pocket under the name G. Léon Breitling S.A., Montbrillant Watch Factory. Over the years, the use of CA high quality Breitling copy watches in aircraft became more and more important, and the first wristwatches with a chronograph were produced for sporting and military purposes. As early as 1915, the watch brand offered a wrist chronograph with a central second hand and 30-minute counter that allowed pilots to do their first calculations.
Prehistory: Pilot watches with chronograph from Breitling
Triggering the stopwatch function and resetting the chronograph hands can still be done with the crown – in 1923 chronographs get the first pusher that starts, stops and resets the stopwatch mechanism. In 1934, Willy Breitling was responsible for the introduction of the second pusher – this operating pattern has largely survived in the watch industry to this day. As an established manufacturer of chronographs, Willy Breitling envisions an innovation within pilot’s 1:1 Breitling replica watches that pilots can use to carry out their calculations. The mathematician Marcel Robert accepts the challenge to develop a slide rule with which complex logarithmic calculations can be carried out. The scales respond to the needs of pilots and offer the most important units in a pilot’s life: STAT for standard miles, KM for kilometers and NAUT for nautical miles or knots. If you now place a digit on the outer scale on the desired unit marking, the other units can be read at a glance. A great help for the pilot without an on-board computer: In addition to fuel consumption, climb and descent rates, the pilots can calculate the average speed.
Breitling Navitimer: The mini computer for pilots
In 1952, the logo of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) adorned the dials of the first Breilting Navitimer in the form of two wings – an effective cooperation until 1960. Since Willy Breitling organized his sales from Geneva from 1952 onwards, from then on all Breitling Genève models were written – this was already the case for the first Navitimer and will remain so until the end of the 1970s. At the time, it was believed that luxury AAA fake Breitling watches sold better with the Genève inscription, and every manufacturer with at least one office building in the lakeside city advertised the name of the cosmopolitan watchmaking city, even if the company’s headquarters were elsewhere.
The name of the famous China Breitling replica watches is composed of “navigation” and “timer”. The first chronograph, powered by the Venus caliber 178, comes onto the market as the reference 806. The early Navitimer examples are coveted and today cost between 2,000 and 10,000 euros depending on their condition. The most popular are the steel models – accordingly, they are rarely found. The Navitimer versions in gold-plated cases, which Breitling later brought onto the market, are less popular. They still achieve prices at the level of the steel models. The models made of 18 carat gold are usually more than 10,000 euros – if they are available at all. The chronographs from 1954 have a special feature: they are equipped with the Valjoux 72 caliber and are very rare.
In the late 1950s, Breitling began what defines the brand to this day: excellent marketing. With the Geneva advertiser Georges Caspari, Willy Breitling developed a campaign that suddenly generated strong demand for chronographs from target groups other than pilots. In addition, the watch manufacturer is also the on-board outfitter of all important aircraft manufacturers and lines of the time. In 1957, Boeing started production of the 707 – equipped with Breitling on-board chronographs: one of them is still ticking in John Travolta’s machine to this day.
Pioneering achievement for the Breitling Navitimer
Almost ten years after it was launched in 1952, the Navitimer got its sister Cosmonaute: a Navitimer with a 24-hour display in which the Venus caliber was modified so that the hour hand turned at half speed. This watch became famous thanks to NASA astronaut Scott Carpenter, who took it into space in May 1962. He wore the Cosmonaute on board the Aurora 7 capsule during his orbit. Today, Breitling builds the Navitimer Cosmonaute with an in-house hand-wound caliber.
In the meantime, the other Swiss manufacturers have not taken a break – the automatic watch is now standard, and additional displays have long since established themselves. At the end of the 1960s, at least the date was introduced. The hand-wound caliber Valjoux 7740 – brother of the 7730, but with date and optional twelve-hour counter – fills a gap. Only the automatic winding for movements with a chronograph is still pending. That was to change in 1969 – with an outstanding movement that was also used in the Breitling Navitimer replica watches online.
Responsible for the development is Gérald Dubois, who at the time works at a specialist workshop in Le Lieu: Dépraz & Cie., now known as Dubois Dépraz. The basic caliber comes from Büren, a manufacturer that at the time belonged to Hamilton in the USA. Alongside Willy Breitling, Dubois brought Jack Heuer from Heuer-Leonidas on board as a partner with the idea. It should be a world exclusive for the participating brands: the new Chrono-Matic caliber 11. The winding crown – which from now on is only used to set the functions – is prominently located on the left of the case, the pushers on the right as usual. The work is a modular construction. A chronograph module is placed on a basic caliber with an integrated micro-rotor and integrated into the power flow. The automatic mechanism is invisible, but highly effective. Cases are also changing – the famous fried egg is one of the shapes built in the 1960s and 1970s. The shape of the automatic models – and this also applies to the Swiss movements Breitling Navitimer fake watches – confidently shows a new age.
In 1969, the brand solved another problem with the Navitimer: Previously, the entire upper body – bezel and glass – rotated when the slide rule was in use. A deflection mechanism eliminates the need for this, which drastically benefits waterproofing.
Steel Chrono-Matic models in reasonable condition start at around €1,500 – the gold models cost around €6,000. Particularly eccentric watch models from the 70s are somewhat cheaper. Like many manufacturers, Breitling also launched re-editions, which are sold in the 90s and also in 2002 for the 50th anniversary of the Navitimer. These models are available for similar prices.
Breitling and the Navitimer in the quartz crisis
In the 1970s, the Swiss watch industry was generally shaken by the quartz crisis – cheap and precise watches from the Far East flooded the market. The crisis is also shaking Breitling – quartz models like the Breitling Navitimer with LED and LCD digits cannot stop it. On the second-hand market, these Breitling super clone watches for sale are now more of a curiosity and cost a few hundred to 2,000 euros.
At the end of the 1970s, Willy Breitling came to an end: his company closed and was up for sale. In 1978, Ernest Schneider, owner of Sicura, a manufacturer of affordable 1:1 quality replica Breitling watches, had the first talks with the depressed Breitling. Schneider – himself an enthusiastic sports pilot since the 1950s – buys the company and transfers the headquarters to Grenchen, where Breitling begins a new life in 1982.
The Breitling Navitimer begins a new life
Curious: In the meantime, you can occasionally buy brand new Navitimers without a Breitling logo. Among others, Helmut Sinn in Frankfurt acquires the remaining stocks – these models are in great demand and difficult to find. All parts of the movement and case are signed “Breitling” – only the dial bears the imprint Sinn.
Breitling continued to struggle into the 1990s, but Schneider’s plan worked: Mechanics experienced an unexpected renaissance. Now, however, the Breitling Navitimer replica watches site is powered by the Valjoux 7750 caliber, many of which have been and are being revised for the brand. Breitling buys the necessary know-how with the specialist Kelek – today Breitling Chronométrie based in the watchmaking city of La Chaux-de-Fonds. The Navitimer enters modern times with special features: The Airborne is available with a hand date at twelve o’clock and therefore four totalisers in stainless steel, steel and gold or in gold from 1995 to 1997. The Old Navitimer, which comes close to the original, also appears in these materials – it was built for almost ten years from 1993 onwards. Many heritage editions incorporate historical themes. The Breitling Navitimer Chrono-Matic SE was launched in 2003. According to the 1969 model, she wears the crown on the left. However, it is not the caliber 12 that works inside, but a movement based on the Eta 2892.
Numerous special models for aerobatic teams such as Patrouille Suisse, Patrouille de France or the Swedish Team 60 appeared in the 1990s and 2000s. In addition, many very small editions were created for individual military flight squadrons in various countries. Even today there are still regular special models such as the Navitimer 46 Blacksteel. The Navitimer is available with indices as well as with Arabic numerals. The versions with indexes are more common, but the watch models with Arabic numerals are by no means exotic.
In 1999, Breitling decided to have all Breitling fake watches for men checked for chronometer accuracy by the COSC in the future. This also applies to the Navitimer, which usually bears the French designation Chronomètre on the dial. If the designation is missing on current models, the movement still has a chronometer certificate.