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The Watch Hall of Fame: The Breitling Navitimer

Welcome back to the Watch Hall of Fame! In this installment we will be taking a flight into the world of the Breitling Navitimer. This watch is regarded as one of Breitling’s most iconic watches by many especially in the world of aviation. In fact it is probably the most adored pilots watch on the market. The Navitimer (a combo of the words “navigation” and “timer”) was created in 1952 and has since racked up many fans. Let’s find out in more detail why this fine watch is getting a spot in our hall of fame.


It’s a well-known fact that Breitling watches are some of the best quality watches on the market. Made for everyday use by pilots, these watches are designed to be durable and efficient for many lifetimes. However, the functionality of this watch is what sets it above the rest. The Navitimer has the ability to perform all necessary flight calculations thanks to its very clever slide rule bezel. These calculations include:

- Multiplication

- Division

- Flight time

- Fuel consumption

- Rate of climb and decent

- Wind impact

- Ground speed

- Currency exchange

- Celsius to Fahrenheit conversion

- Gallons to litres

- Kilometres to miles


The Navitimer came about after the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) requested that a new chronograph would be made by Breitling for its members. Not a bad gig. This is when Willy Breitling decided that this watch needed to be something special to make it the BEST pilots watch on the market, this is where the slide rule bezel came in. At first these Navitimer’s were only available to the members of the AOPA but they were such a hit that they became available to the general public soon after.

Not only was this incredible watch made especially for the world’s largest aviation group but it was also awarded the title of “The first Swiss wrist-worn chronograph in space” in 1962. The Navitimer Cosmonaute was worn on the wrist of astronaut Scott Carpenter when he orbited the Earth 3 times in the Mercury-Atlas 7 spacecraft. The model that he wore was a personalised variation of the original Navitimer and had an additional 24-hour dial to help distinguish between day and night whilst in space. A re-issue of that watch was recently made to celebrate 60 years since the event.


Nobody can deny that the Breitling Navitimer has set the standards for all Pilot’s watches to come after it. Even to this day it is still the official timepiece of the AOPA showing how, still after 70+ years, it is still as relevant and functional as it was when it was first created. The Navitimer is still a necessary piece of kit for many pilots and without a doubt has helped many flights go smoothly.


So as you can see the Breitling Navitimer has rightfully earned its place in The Watch Hall of Fame by being a real top-flight pilots watch! It is definitely one of Breitling’s most iconic watches thanks to its clever technology and prestigious reputation in the world of aviation.


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