The Breitling Navitimer 01 watch is a classic aviator watch with a difference. First released around the 1960’s, the watch has seen a few adjustments over the years like the C.O.S.C certified in-house manufactured B01 movement and the slide rule bezel. Yet the distinct look of the Navitimer will always remain a true favourite to watch connoisseurs around the world, whether a natural in the skies or a professional with his feet fixed firmly on the ground. We thought we’d run through the most impressive attributes of this timepiece in our edition of “Watch of the Week” just in case you’d never taken the time to seriously consider a Breitling Pilot’s watch as a daily wrist companion.
Aesthetically, the Breitling Navitimer 01 watch achieves its professional and instrumental looks via a sleek black and silvery white panda-style design. The contrasting colour palette is elevated further with immaculately polished stainless steel finishes seen in the fluted ring on the bezel, the lugs and the central hands and indexes. No matter how busy Breitling’s Pilot’s watches tend to be, they do however, always remain incredibly legible. How Breitling achieve just the right balance will probably never be known to other watch manufacturers, seen as the Maison’s competitors on the market never seem to come close to achieving such a harmonious sophistication-to-functionality ratio.
A raised B-winged logo has been applied to the surface of the dial in yellow gold and the hands and indexes have been equipped with luminescent technology to enhance readability throughout the night. A silvery white slide rule ring and an elegant trio of chronograph counters in the same hue, help to transform the dial into an analogue computer of sorts – but more about that later. Practically speaking the Breitling Navitimer 01 fit snugly to the wrist with a smart padded black leather strap adorned with heavy white contrast border stitching. The shiny stainless steel buckle of the strap is embossed with the raised B-winged logo again, and the 43mm diameter of the watch case looks and wears much more discreetly than one would expect having appreciated its bold and chunky dimensions.
The slide rule bezel of the Breitling Navitimer 01 watch opens up a plethora of computing options for calculating things like; currency conversion, division & multiplication, ground speed, mile’s per minutes, gas consumption, average speed and productivity rate. Turning smoothly with the bezel, the operation is almost fluid-like, yet with a measured resistance so as not to feel too loose. By using the current position of the sun in the sky, along with the bezel itself, a compass can be used, and the back of the solid stainless steel case also features a Celsius to Fahrenheit scale, allowing you to convert temperatures. The two pusher-type chronograph is that of a modest start/stop button and a rest button. Facilitating the chronograph features with a solid button click is a satisfying feel under the thumb, as the resistance certainly helps to guarantee that the buttons are pressed only as and when needed, rather than accidentally.
The classic pilot’s watch is equipped with the same movement used in the Chronomat 01 model, along with other timepieces that followed from then on. The Breitling B01 movement was the first in-house manufactured movement invented by the Maison around five years ago and still stands strong as a respectable and hard working engine that delivers an impressive almost three day power reserve of 70 hours. The classic column wheel chronograph design is better than lever or cam actuated movements for a chronograph watch. A quick date change feature and a hacking seconds function complete this movement as one of the most iconic milestones reached by Breitling in their long history of success in luxury watch manufacture.
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