Under the reign of Breitling’s new CEO, Georges Kern, comes the launch of the stealth-like Breitling Navitimer 8 B01. Inspired by aviation board instrument clocks of the 1930’s and 1940’s, which were originally titled the Navitimer 8 due to their 8 day movements – the new Breitling Navitimer 8 B01 comes with a few modifications that are sure to leave a lasting impression on you. Kern now imposes that all new Breitling pilot’s watches will come under the Navitimer umbrella and will feature design elements that look a little different from what we are used to seeing in past models.
On first impressions, the rich blue hue of the Breitling Navitimer 8 B01 watch is magnetising and absorbing. The dial has been graced with a lot of open space, and it is the simplicity of the minimalist rotating bezel that opens up an invitation to come an peruse the spaciousness of the dial. The sans serif font bears the “Breitling” lettering across the surface of the dial, but all other details like the winged “B” motif and any other lettering beyond the Maison’s name has been removed from the design. If you’re wondering how you measure elapsed time on this Breitling Navitimer, you’ll be pleased to know that it works in the same way as any other rotating bezel – simply align the subtle arrow with the minute hand and away you go.
True to the original Breitling Navitimer 8 board instruments, this timepiece adopts similar aesthetics. The subtle dashes on the minute track, the triangles and the font used for the hour indexes are all reminiscent of the originals. To us it seems testament to Breitling’s impressive capabilities, that they’re still able to move with the time but also remain faithful to the art of traditional watchmaking, without feeling like they need to hold back. The company makes it “cool” to stick to values. To be bold and adventurous, yet embrace vintage style at the same time. Ample swaths of Super-LumiNova paint have been applied to the faceted daggers which are the central hands. Even the 43mm diameter of the polished 316L stainless steel casing (which beholds the hard-working B01 calibre at its centre) seems in perfect proportion. It doesn’t get lost on the wrist, nor does it dominate it. The vintage instruments had the same coin-shaped bezel that can be admired in this new Breitling Navitimer 8 B01. A large crown is kept company but two polished pushers at either side, donating a somewhat svelte edge to the model. The steel casing of course, is tightly sealed to the sapphire crystal glass front, promisimg an impressive 100 meter water resistance. The calibre B01 offers a useful 70 hour power reserve and features a column wheel movement. If you want to view the engine, simply flip the watch over to its underside and take in the synergistic workings of the hand-assembled, hand-designed mechanism before your eyes.
The great news about the Breitling Navitimer 8 B01 watch is that the strap is 100% customizable. We think the polished stainless steel links of the bracelet do the watch justice for special occasions like an important business meeting or a wedding, whereas at the weekend you’d be crazy not to want to try the comfort of one of Breitling’s soft, plush leather straps. They give the panda chronograph dial a more understated look for matching with a pair of jeans and other casual attire. With so many exciting directions that Breitling’s new CEO has planned to take the company in, it’s clear that the Breitling Navitimer 8 B01 watch is just the start of good things to come from the Maison.