Developed in 1952 as a functional tool complete with a slide rule function to make rapid calculations during flight, the Navitimer is one of those must-have wristwatches in a connoisseur's watch winder. Hailed as Breitling's most iconic watch, its design has remained largely the same throughout its 70-year existence, the slide rule always present despite advancement in computer technology.
The watch has gone from the wrists of pilots and even astronauts to the regular men on the street who are drawn to its robust design, authenticity and provenance. As CEO Georges Kern puts it: “The Navitimer is one of the most recognisable watches ever made. What began as a tool for pilots has gone on to mean something profound to every single person who has had this timepiece along on their personal journey.”
As it celebrates its 70th anniversary, Breitling has reinvigorated the collection with modern colours in three sizes (46mm, 43mm and 41mm) and two case materials (steel and 18k red gold). The slide rule is flattened under a domed crystal for a more compact look. Polished and brushed elements lend the chronograph an urban chic flavour, while the caseback reveals a slimmer oscillating weight. Powered by the COSC-certified Caliber 01, it boasts 70 hours of power reserve.
Although it remains as functional as the day it was born, Kern notes that the Navitimer has been updated with a more contemporary appeal.
"What's interesting about the new Navitimer is that it's basically the Navitimer of the '60s and '70s, and actually looks much more modern than the previous iteration which is roughly 20 years old," says Kern. "It's more chic, less sporty. It also comes in three great sizes because it's unisex and also more suitable for the Asian wrists."