Sending out an SOS
In 1995 Breitling unveiled a timepiece that not only told the time but could also save your life if necessary. Equipped with a built-in emergency micro-transmitter, the Breitling Emergency can send out a distress signal and kick off a search and rescue mission in the event of a disaster such as a plane crash. The first wristwatch of its kind, the Breitling Emergency further cemented the watch brand’s position as the leaders of technical instruments and a favorite among Top Gun-types. Outfitted with a mix of digital and analog displays the SuperQuartz powered multifunction Breitling Emergency was an instant hit with tens of thousands of pieces flying off the shelves.
In 2003, Breitling followed up their Emergency watch with the Emergency Mission timepiece built to look more like a standard chronograph opting for the 3-register layout rather than digital displays. This particular example of the Breitling Emergency Mission ref. A73321 is the black dial version — other dial options include white or blue. The 45mm case is crafted from stainless steel for optimal resistance and topped with a bi-directional rotating bezel for increased functionality. There’s also a date window in between 4 and 5 o’clock. The scratchproof sapphire crystal protects the face of the watch while the screw down crown ensures water resistance to 330 feet (100 meters).
It’s not often that a luxury watch is powered by a quartz caliber, but such is the case with the Breitling Emergency Mission ref. A73321. However, this is not your standard quartz movement, but rather the Breitling SuperQuartz Caliber 73. Boasting an accuracy that’s ten times better than a standard quartz movement, the SuperQuartz caliber from Breitling is actually COSC-certified. The Emergency Transmitter Beacon is activated by a large winding crown located on the bottom right lug of the watch and emits a signal at 121.5 Mhz. It is clearly stated on the caseback that this transmitter should only be used in the case of a real emergency, and in fact, if the distress signal is used in non-emergency circumstances the wearer would face hefty financial repercussions to pay for the search and rescue mission.
This specific Breitling Emergency Mission ref. A73321 comes with both a black Diver Pro III rubber strap in addition to the stainless steel Breitling Professional bracelet. The strap and bracelet and easily be alternated depending on the circumstances and offers two very different styles to wear the watch.
Not only is the Breitling Emergency Mission a great looking watch aesthetically-speaking, with a very masculine and sporty appeal, but its micro-transmitter is a unique feature that could be potentially life-saving. Of course, we would all hope to never have to use the Emergency Transmitter Beacon, but having it just in case is indeed a reassuring feeling.