Navitimer Reborn: Breitling Updates an Icon with New Dial Colours and Sizes

Flight of fancy.

For a while now, it felt almost like Breitling was re-introducing and re-vamping collections like the Chronomat and AVI, giving less attention to the iconic staple of the brand, the Navitimer. For fans of this icon, however, the wait is over. To celebrate the historic 70th anniversary of the Navitimer, Breitling is launching novel references in the collection, giving this quintessential watch an aesthetic update that includes a multitude of sizes and dial colours.

When the very first Breitling Navitimer debuted in 1952, Willy Breitling designed it to include a circular slide rule. Without going into too much technical detail, these slide rules were rudimentary computers for pilots that in combination with a chronograph, would allow them to calculate average speed, distance travelled, fuel consumption, rate of climb and more. Thus, with this functionality designed into its core, the Navitimer quickly became the preferred tool of pilots and in 1954 the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the largest aviators’ club in the world, chose the Navitimer as its official timekeeper.

These days, the slide rule is no longer necessary as the phones we carry around in our pockets are basically miniature computing devices, and modern aircraft do all calculations electronically too. However, the same could be said about the mechanical wristwatch, it is functionally obsolete and yet there is something about a miniature machine on the wrist that speaks to us enthusiasts emotionally.

To translate this nostalgia onto the Navitimer, Breitling decided to bring back the classic AOPA wings logo for the collection, replacing the more modern ‘B’. Aesthetically another big change was to flatten down the slide rule. This, in combination with the domed sapphire crystal not only made the watch seem slimmer on the wrist, but this more planar approach to the dial also gives it more presence on the wrist.

The updated Navitimer is available in three case sizes, 41mm, 43mm and a massive 46mm in both stainless steel and red gold. If based purely on the Navitimer’s past ethos as a functional tool for pilots, the 46mm would make the most sense as it would be the most legible of the bunch, but for modern aesthetics, the 41mm hits the sweet spot in terms of how it sits on the wrist, at least where the smaller Asian wrists are concerned.

The Navitimer in 41mm.

Additionally, the watch now comes in a host of unorthodox dial colour varieties including mint green, copper and ice blue, a trend that seems to be permeating throughout the watch industry at the moment. The version with the white outer slide rule most resembles the traditional Navitimer but the funky colours represent a modern interpretation of a classic watch.

As far as movement goes, they have decided to go with the tried and tested in-house Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, a column-wheel, vertical clutch chronograph (for you watch nerds), with about 70 hours of power reserve and is a COSC certified chronometer. The watch will also feature an open caseback so the movement and all its glory can be fully admired.

The new Breitling Navitimer is available in a variety of sizes, case materials, dial colours and straps starting from MYR 37,950.

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