The Breitling Navitimer 01 is an absolute classic in the field of aviation watches. It was introduced in 1952, and since then it witnessed the arrival of civil jet planes, the quartz revolution, and the return of mechanical watches as luxury products. It also illustrates the progressive increase in watch size, starting at 40 mm, increasing to 43 mm for the Navitimer 01 in 2011, and joined by a 46 mm version in 2014.
Distinctive circular slide-rule
Over the years, its fundamental characteristics have remained basically unchanged. The distinctive circular slide rule, operated by means of the rotating bezel, can be used for any calculations, with cockpit applications comprising things like fuel consumption, drift angle, rate of climb or descent, conversions from miles to kilometres or nautical miles, ground speed and so forth.
Calibre 01, column wheel and vertical clutch
The one really important change is the in-house movement, Calibre 01, introduced in 2009. It is visible through the transparent caseback. Previously the watch had used an ETA Valjoux 7750. The Breitling Calibre 01 is a chronograph movement with 47 jewels, a column wheel and vertical clutch, arguably the finest configuration, because starting the chronograph doesn’t affect balance amplitude – because the clutch’s friction is so low – and so doesn’t cause any reduction in precision.
70 hours power reserve
The movement is self-winding, with a single barrel providing 70 hours power reserve. It runs at 4 Hertz – hence the quarter-second divisions on the chronograph seconds scale. The subdials provide chronograph readings of up to 12 hours.
The movement design also includes a patented self-centering device for the resetting hammers and an exclusive index-assembly system enabling swift personalized adjustment of the watch. It is built by means of an industrial, automated process with occasional phases requiring human intervention. The movement is COSC-certified. Below, the 43 and 46 mm versions of the watch.
3 bar water resistance
The case is 43 mm in diameter, 14.25 mm thick, with a non-screw-in crown and a water resistance of 3 bar, 30 metres.
Price and reference
The Breitling Navitimer 01 is reference AB012012|BB01|435X|A20BA.1, and it costs €7,150 inclusive of VAT. Read more on the Breitling website.