While some brands give us sneak peeks prior to the big watch fairs with one or two watch announcements, Breitling has released an entirely new Navitimer collection almost two months ahead of Baselworld 2018. George Kern left Richemont just last summer to join Breitling as CEO and barely six months in, this collection shows us that he means business.
Let’s dive in.
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With the new Navitimer 8 collection, Breitling is out to remind everyone that it became a renowned brand in part because it was an official supplier of aviation instruments. In 1938, Breitling set up the Huit Aviation Department to produce cockpit instruments and pilot watches. “Huit” is the French word for “eight” and it was selected by Willy Breitling as a nod to the eight-day power reserve of their cockpit instruments. Breitling now comes full circle by naming the new Navitimer 8 watches after the Huit Aviation Department.
The Navitimer 8 collection includes five new pilot watches, each heavily influenced by Breitling’s heritage. There are familiar Navitimer hallmarks such as the notched bezel and beveled lugs. These are merged with design cues from vintage Breitling chronographs and onboard clocks, such as numerals, railway minute tracks dotted with inverted triangles, and luminescent skeletonized hands.
The collection’s flagship piece, the Navitimer 8 B01 measures a generous 43mm. Cases are offered in either stainless steel with a black or blue dial or in 18k red gold with a bronze dial. On those dials are the trio of contrasting silver registers, as well as a date window between 4 and 5 o’clock. Strap options include steel bracelets or an alligator band, and if you ever assistance changing a strap we can help. As its name implies, the Navitimer 8 B01 runs on the in-house Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, which has more than 70 hours of power reserve and is visible via the transparent caseback.
Also measuring 43mm, the Navitimer 8 Unitime is exclusively offered in stainless steel but with a choice of a black or silver dial, in addition to a leather strap or steel bracelet. The word-time functionality of the watch is simple to use thanks to everything being controlled—cities disc, hour hand, and 24-hour disc—by the winding crown.
Yet again sized at 43mm, the Breitling Navitimer 8 Chronograph is available in stainless steel or in DLC-coated steel. While it’s similar in style to the Navitimer 8 B01 case-wise, the dial configuration is different. The subdials are positioned in the 6/9/12 configuration, thus leaving room for the date window at 3 o’clock. Housed in the case is the Caliber 13 movement with 42 hours of power reserve.
Coming in at a smaller 41mm, the stainless steel Breitling Navitimer 8 Day & Date includes the date of the week window at 12 o’clock and the date aperture at 6 o’clock on black or blue dials. Similar to the other models, strap choices are steel bracelets or leather straps. Working away behind the solid caseback is Caliber 45 with 40 hours of power reserve.
The entry-point to the new collection, the 41mm Breitling Navitimer 8 Automatic is a straightforward time and date model. Available in steel or steel with black DLC coating, there are black and blue dials, along with steel bracelets and leather straps. Running on Caliber 17, the Navitimer 8 has more than 40 hours of power reserve.
New Beginnings for Breitling
Starting at about $3,800 for the Navitimer 8 Automatic on a leather strap and topping out at just over $20,000 for the gold Navitimer 8 B01, it’s clear that the retro-inspired Navitimer 8 collection has its sights set on a large audience base.
In reference to the new collection, George Kern stated, “With the Navitimer 8, we are honoring not only our rich heritage but also our pioneering role in building chronographic instruments. But while the Navitimer 8 pays tribute to our past, it also does something considerably more important. It opens the door to a very exciting future.”
And we are indeed excited to see where he takes the brand.