In 1952, Willy Breitling developed a wrist-worn chronograph with a circular slide rule that would allow pilots to perform all necessary flight calculations. Two years later, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) announced the design as its official timepiece. The “navigation timer” – or Navitimer – was born.
The AOPA was (and remains) the largest pilots’ club in the world, counting nearly every US aviator among its ranks. As the de facto pilot’s watch throughout the glory days of civil aviation, the Navitimer was worn by airline captains and aircraft enthusiasts. It even made its way into space on the wrist of astronaut Scott Carpenter in 1962. And it wasn’t only pilots drawn to the watch’s irrepressible aesthetic. Celebrities of the day, such as Miles Davis and Serge Gainsbourg, were devotees, proving that the Navitimer had style as well as function.
There have been many iterations of Breitling’s icon since its debut over 70 years ago, but this new Navitimer captures its most classic features while enhancing them with modern refinements. A flattened slide rule and a domed crystal create the illusion of a sleeker profile. Alternating polished and brushed metal elements give a lustrous yet understated finish. If there is one update sure to spark nostalgia in the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41, it’s the return of the AOPA wings to their original position at 12 o’clock. The see-through sapphire crystal caseback showcases the intricate and sublime Breitling Manufacture 01—a self-winding mechanical caliber crafted in-house.
The iconic pilot’s watch features luminescent hands—promising legibility even in the dark—and has a power reserve of approximately 70 hours. The ice-blue dial color against stainless steel tastefully rounds off its legendary yet modernized finishings.