Breitling Summit: The Navitimer Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary with a Host of New Dial Colors
In a somewhat unexpected departure, Breitling celebrates the seventieth anniversary of its iconic pilot timepiece with bold color themes that are as much about flights of fancy as aviation authenticity.
“We don’t throw the term ‘icon’ around lightly,” said Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling, in a press release. “The Navitimer is one of the most recognizable watches ever made... What began as a tool for pilots has gone on to mean something profound to every single person who has had this timepiece along on their personal journey.”
With the knubbly bezel of the Breitling Navitimer a common sight on red carpets and tarmacs alike, it can be easy to lose sight of exactly how profound an aviation tool it truly is.
Developed by Willy Breitling in 1952 as an exacting chronograph with a flight-vital slide rule complication, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) locked in its legitimacy forevermore as its official timepiece two years later.
Since then, it has become a beloved co-pilot for civilian and military pilots worldwide. Astronaut Scott Carpenter even wore his on the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission in 1962, making it a “space watch” watch before NASA even created an official gear-spec for a “space watch.”
There have been some design updates and modifications for this year’s anniversary models, but we will get to those later. We need to start with the dial colors. While there are executions of the 2022 Navitimer in more traditional combinations like the reverse-panda (i.e., white sub-dials on a black dial), Breitling’s design team has hit the afterburners with unexpectedly bold dial colors this year.
Appropriately, the smaller Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 and Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 stainless steel lines are the most broadly chromatic, with black sub-dials on shimmering silver, metallic copper, icy blue, and minty green dial options, along with the expected reverse-panda version for the 43mm models.
Meanwhile, on the 41mm models, the white sub-dials on a mint green or creamy off-white dial, both with complementing white bezels. But the 41mm models also include a more technical-looking, stealth-fighter-like black-on-dark-blue version with black bezel. There is also a 41mm 18K red gold version, with a creamy dial on a brown alligator strap or a 7-row red gold bracelet.
Happily, the new dial colors make their way to the larger Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 line. For instance, the uncannily cool silver dial appears on the elegant 46mm 18K red gold execution (there is also a similar execution in 43mm) and a deep forest green dial for the 46mm in steel. The 46mm also has the more traditional white-on-black and white-on-deep blue dials.
Aviation Authenticity, Re-Defined
For the anniversary models, the slide rule gauging has been flattened, somewhat, and the slimmer oscillating weight is visible through open casebacks. Meanwhile, the heritage AOPA winged logo has returned to its vintage position at 12 o’clock. But the real takeaway on the Breitling Navitimer 2022 collection is that, in any case, size, and even in its arguably funkiest color execution of mint green, it is unmistakably a Navitimer. Even from across the room.
Straps options are abundant – a black or brown alligator strap or 7-row Navitimer steel bracelet for the 46mm line; a black alligator strap or 7-row 18 karat red gold bracelet for the red gold 46mm and 43mm versions; a black alligator strap or 7-row bracelet for the steel 43mm models; and a black and gold-brown alligator strap or 7-row steel bracelet for the 41mm line.
The rock-solid COSC certified in-house calibre 01 column-wheel chronograph movement with 70 hours of power reserve and 1/4 second, 30-minute, and 12-hour counters? Well, that’s just something that just doesn’t need any embellishment.
For pricing and availability, please visit Breitling’s website.
(Photography by Liam O'Donnell. Images © Breitling)