Breitling Watch Company
Breitling SA was founded in Saint-Imier, Bernese Jura by Léon Breitling in 1884.
Breitling watches are manufactured in Switzerland using Swiss components. Breitling manufactures two movements: the calibre B01 and calibre B04, a B01 with an added GMT module. ETA and Valjoux are the primary suppliers of ébauches used in certain Breitling watches. The ébauches are completed in the Breitling Chronometrie Workshops before undergoing COSC (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres) certification.
Breitling developed the BR01 in 2009, a mechanical chronograph movement, which was used in the Breitling Chronomat 01, the first watch produced entirely by Breitling. The Chronomat has ever since used a Breitling in-house movement with the latest addition to the range in 2012 being the Breitling Chronomat GMT Limited, a limited edition timepiece; and the Breitling Chronomat 44 GMT, both with the Breitling calibre B04 movement.
The company exclusively offered certified chronometers in all models since 2000. Watches are usually oriented towards three categories: diving (SuperOcean), aviation (Navitimer), and luxury (Breitling for Bentley). Aviation models such as the Navitimer offer aviation functions largely as complications, since their function in aviation has largely been replaced by modern electronic instruments. The styling of Breitling watches is characterized by polished cases, bracelets and large watch faces which are designed to improve readability. Many models feature an automatic winding mechanism that is purely mechanical (i.e. using no electronic components) and frequently feature complications.
Quartz models such as the Breitling Aeromarine Colt start at $2,055.00 on a rubber strap, while mechanical models start at $3,000 and may reach prices above $100,000. Most higher priced models feature highly complex movements, gold cases and bracelets, and diamonds on the bezel. The most expensive model at $175,000, the Breitling for Bentley Mulliner Tourbillon, features a platinum case, as well as a Flyback chronograph, perpetual calendar, and Tourbillon.
Breitling Navitimer wristwatch with circular slide rule.
In the 1940s, Breitling added a circular slide rule to the bezel of their chronograph models for use by aircraft pilots. This became the famous Navitimer model. During the 1950s and 1960s, a version of the Navitimer was offered by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Associationwith the AOPA logo on the dial.
In 1961, Scott Carpenter, one of the original astronauts in the Mercury space program, approached Breitling with idea of incorporating a 24 hour dial instead of the normal 12 hour dial. This was needed because of the lack of day and night during space travel. Breitling complied, and produced the 24-hour Navitimer which Carpenter wore on his 1962 space flight. Breitling then proceeded to produce the 24-hour version as the so-called Cosmonaute Navitimer – under both Breitling and AOPA logos.
Breitling Emergency wristwatch.
The Breitling Emergency version contains a radio transmitter for civil aviation use which broadcasts on the 121.5 MHz distress frequencyand serves as a back-up for ELT-type airborne beacons. (For military users, Breitling has equipped the Emergency with a miniaturized transmitter operating on the 243.0 MHz military frequency.) Under normal conditions—flat terrain or calm seas—the signal can be picked up at a range of up to 90 nautical miles (167 km) by search aircraft flying at 20,000 feet (6,000 m). Since 1 February 2009, the Cospas-Sarsat Satellite System no longer monitors the 121.5/243.0 MHz frequency; however, the signal transmitted by the Emergency was never strong enough to be picked up by satellite, and Breitling has announced that, as these frequencies will still be monitored by aviation, particularly during the localization phase of a rescue attempt, there are no plans to modify the signal’s frequency.
Reuters reported that in January 2003, two British pilots, Squadron Leader Steve Brooks and Flight Lieutenant Hugh Quentin-Smith, crashed their helicopter in Antarctica and were rescued after activating their Breitling Emergency transmitter watches.
The Emergency is available for customers who do not hold a pilot’s licence, but they must sign an agreement stating that they will bear the full costs of a rescue intervention should they trigger the distress beacon.
The model was heavily advertised by the Breitling Orbiter 3—both Brian Jones and Bertrand Piccard were wearing the Emergency. Breitling sponsored the Orbiter 3 project, which in 1999 successfully became the first balloon to completely orbit the Earth without landing. A commemorative Orbiter 3 version of the Emergency watch was subsequently produced, limited to a production run of 1,999.
In April 2013, Breitling announced a new version of the Emergency watch. This upgrade transmits on the 121.5 MHz frequency, but adds the 406.04 MHz signal that is monitored by satellites. It has a separate battery for the transmitter that is rechargeable. It is expected to cost US$15,000 when it is released later in 2013.
Breitling manufactured “Chronosport” watches[clarification needed] in the 1980s with the model name “Pluton” which appeared in the Breitling catalog until 1999.
Breitling for Bentley
As part of 10th anniversary of Breitling-Bentley Motors partnership, Bentley B04 GMT (based on COSC Certified Breitling Calibre B04), Bentley B05 Unitime (based on COSC Certified Breitling Calibre B05) and the Bentley B06 (based on COSC Certified Breitling Calibre B06) were produced.
|Breitling base movements
|Calibre Breitling, Automatic Mechanical
|Calibre Breitling, Manual Winding
Note: The ETA 2892 movements used in Breitling chronographs have been modified by the addition of a chronograph module by Dubois/Depraz.
Breitling sponsors aeronautical endeavours, including the first circumnavigation of the globe by balloon (Breitling Orbiter) and the fixed-wing jet pack flights of Yves Rossy. Breitling sponsors aerobatics teams including the Breitling Jet Team and Breitling Wingwalkers.
Aero L-39 Albatros aircraft of theBreitling Jet Team perform at RIATFairford, England
Breitling was a sponsor of Team Bentley during their Le Mans 24 Hours campaign, running from 2001 to 2003. To commemorate this event, Breitling created the Limited Edition Breitling Bentley 24 Le Mans Watch.
Breitling also sponsors the Reno Air Race for publicity as well as to increase the brand’s association with aviation.
In the 1965 James Bond movie Thunderball, Bond, played by Sean Connery, is given a Breitling Top Time by Q, who tells him it is also a geiger counter. The geiger counter in the watch enables Bond to track down two stolen nuclear warheads. After the movie was filmed the watch disappeared. In 2012 it resurfaced in a car boot sale in England where it was purchased for GB£25. It later sold at auction at