A Review Of The Breitling Navitimer Watch

Many watch manufacturers market their timepieces as' aviators' watches' but very few of them would be bought by any aircrew for the purpose of aeronautical calculations. They are 'designer' pieces and lack the functionality a real aviator would look for in a watch. However, the Breitling Navitimer is a genuine aviators' watch.

Breitling have had a long historical association with the air industry, both military and civilian. When Breitling was first established its main business concern was making precise counters for both scientific and industrial use. Its specialized knowledge of making precision timepieces made it a watchmaker that would be in demand from the then, fledging aviation industry. The relationship between aviation and Breitling watches was officially established when, in 1936, the British Royal Air Force issued Breitling watches to its aircrews.

The Breitling Navitimer is now over 50 years old and is an iconic timepiece. Its design and functionality have changed remarkably little over the years. This chronograph watch can be used to calculate air speed, fuel consumption, rates of descent and the conversion of standard miles into nautical miles amongst other things – all by using the circular slide rule found on the side of the bezel.

The legendary Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute is still manufactured today and is almost identical in terms of movement and styling as it was when it was first made in 1963 for the American astronaut Lt Cmdr Scott Carpenter. He wanted a Navitimer but, because one could not tell if it was day or night in space, he wanted a 24 hour version. Incidentally, this was the first Breitling (and perhaps only model) that went into Space.

Each Breitling Cosmonaute watch has a self winding, mechanical movement with a power reserve of 42 hours (approx.) There are a total of 38 jewels running at 28,800 vibrations per hour. The chronograph function has 1/5 second, 30 minutes, 12 hours and fly-back. The case diameter is a minimum 41.5mm and is available in steel, two-tone (steel and gold), 18k gold or rose gold. The crystal is cambered sapphire that is anti-reflective on both sides.

Other, current Navitimer models include the original Navitimer, Navitimer World, Montbrillant, Montbrillant Olympus, Montbrillant Datora and Chrono-Matic.

The World is the largest in the Navitimer collection (case diameter of 46mm), being 10% larger than the original. It consists of 25 jewels and a 2 time-zone, self-winding mechanical movement. The case is available in steel, 18k gold or red gold.

The Navitimer Montbrillant collection owes its name from the original location of the Breitling watch factory. It was on this site that the 'return-to-zero' movement and the circular slide-rule were first designed and manufactured. To commemorate, these watches are little more ornate; hands and hour markers are embellished in gold.

The Chrono-Matic Breitling watch was first developed in 1969 – Breitling created the Caliber II, the World's for self-winding chronograph movement. The watch was easily distinguishable by the placement of the crown on the left-hand-side of the casing. These watches still place the crown of the left-side. The movement has 38 jewels and each watch has a case diameter of 44mm which is available in either steel or 18k gold.

While modern technology has done away with the need for mechanical aviation watches there are those who still appreciate the sophisticated movements of these watches but for those that do, the Navitimer watch from Breitling will definitely appeal.



Source by Robin Cassidy

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