When looking for a luxury wristwatch, the selection can be overwhelming—sometimes it can be hard to know where to start. Investing in a luxury timepiece is not an impulse buy, as every individual watch makes a statement about what the wearer values and cares for. When it comes to watches, there are only a few names that are synonymous with durable luxury that can withstand the test of time and adventure.
Breitling is one such brand. The timepieces that come out of the Breitling factory are always precise and always perfect. Breitling has been a family-run business since the 1880s and is one of the last remaining independent Swiss watch brands to make beautiful luxury watches for the true watch lover.
Over the last 130 years, Breitling has played a key role in the development of the luxury wristwatch as we know it today. In 1884 Leon Breitling opened up his workshop in Grenchen, Switzerland. He began developing chronographs and timers for the ever-growing fields of sports, science, and industry. In 1915, Breitling introduced the first wristwatch chronograph, and this hybrid convenience made the model popular with pilots. In 1923 Gaston Breitling improved upon this model by creating a unique combined watch and stopwatch, which also included separating the stop/start functions from that of resetting the time. This advancement had a tremendous impact in the sports world, as it made it possible to track several successive laps without returning the time to zero, allowing for more accurate timing well as a better way to calculate flight times. Breitling’s superiority in the field is derived from their innovation and invention, which have impacted the realm of sports and aviation.
Some of the features we have come to expect from the competition – Rolex or TAG Heuer watches – were in fact created by Breitling. For example, a high-end watch with a second independent reset function is standard, but it was Breitling who first came up with this invention in 1934.
Breitling has long been associated with aviation. Today, few other fields rely on such absolute precision and efficiency for success. Breitling's pocket and wrist chronographs have been trusted allies in the sky since the 1930s. In fact, it was Breitling's close relationship with aviation and more specifically their on-board chronographs for aircraft cockpits that made the Swiss company so successful, and even the Royal Air Force relied upon Breitling during World War II.
In 2000 Breitling became the only major watch supplier in the world to exclusively produce watches that have undergone the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute's (Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres, or COSC) intense tests. All watches with the Breitling name have received this COSC certification. It is this commitment to quality that has earned Breitling the reputation of creating the "instruments for professionals."
One of the most identifiable watches from Breitling is the legendary Navitimer wrist chronograph. This piece features a circular slide rule that allows the wearer to perform navigation-related calculations. Even when not necessary for driving in the city, this look is a classic symbol of adventure. Among pilots and aviation enthusiasts the Navitimer is a classic and makes a perfect gift for the aviator in the family. The fact that it has been one of the top selling watch models worldwide for almost 60 years — making it the world's oldest mechanical chronograph still in production — is a testament to its quality and appeal. The Navitimer is a model also trusted by the ultimate aviators—astronauts during missions to space, where precision can be all that stands between success or failure. Astronaut Scott Carpenter wore a Navitimer during his orbital flight in 1962. After Scott Carpenter's famous trip with a Navitimer on his wrist, Breitling subsequently produced a model of his watch, the Navitimer Cosmonaute. This was a unique model at the time due to the 12/24 hour display. Carpenter himself made the suggestion, saying that keeping time in space has different requirements than when keeping time on Earth. This watch is as functional as it is beautiful to behold. It is comprised of a face made of black steel and a black waterproof band with a secure clasp making a perfect gift for those who aspire to, and those young at heart have never truly given up the dream of becoming an astronaut.
In 1984 Breitling celebrated its 100th birthday by launching one of its most successful mainstream collections: the Chronomat collection. Over the past thirty years this exceptional chronograph has changed a bit in look and style to best suit the current designs and trends, but it has always maintained its immediately recognizable character: that of a technical and sturdy timepiece that is both edgy and sophisticated. The Chronomat series is Breitling's best seller, and in honour of that, the Chronomat Airborne special series was launched in 2014. The design of the Chronomat Airborne is dedicated to the Frecce Tricolori, the aerobatic demonstration team of the Italian Air Force, and is highlighted with a satin-brushed rotating bezel and four raised rider tabs used to count off flight times. This collector's timepiece comes in a special case, ensuring that it will be a watch well worth collecting this year.
Breitling has created the very first wristwatch with a built-in personal locator beacon (PLB) and a built-in emergency micro-transmitter. This truly innovative watch features a dual frequency transmitter that is fully compliant with the specifications of the international satellite alert system. No matter where you are – be it land, sea, air, or snow – when in need of help, this watch will help rescuers locate the wearer as quickly as possible. Extensive tests have been performed with professional pilots and extreme athletes, and the Emergency watch from Breitling has proven effective and reliable. Already tens of thousands of these innovative watches have been sold and numerous lives saved.
Aside from those amazing, life-saving features, the Emergency watch is functionally outfitted with a 12/24-hour analogue and digital display, luminous hands, a precise 1/100th second chronograph, an alarm, second time zone display, and the thermo-compensated super quartz movement, making this watch ten times more accurate than standard quartz. Naturally, the Emergency watch – like all Breitling watches – has been chronometer-certified by the COSC. This is a perfect gift for the adventurer that not only will help them be on time for those early morning take offs, but will also keep them safe.
Most luxury sport watches come in stainless steel, gold, rose-gold, or silver. The Breitling Superocean provides more than that in a range of colours. Choose from blue, yellow, red, or silver for the colour of the inner bezel. The colour pops out in contrast to the black dial, and the tip of the second hand matches. The limited edition blue-on-blue designs are absolute eye-catchers and well worth the extra effort to find one. Exclusive orange versions are also available in limited quantity. This is the right choice for those who demand the highest quality with a playful splash of colour.
Breitling has cooperated with Bentley, the automobile company whose name goes hand in hand with luxury. The Breitling watches for Bentley are simply divine. Strong lugs, a titanium case, a broad bezel, a black rubber strap, and a motif inspired by Bentley radiator grilles are among the highlights. This watch is functional, chic, and sexy, which are only to be expected from a joint effort between two brands such as Breitling and Bentley.
When in need of a sturdy, reliable, and high-performance piece that also looks fantastic, consider Breitling. These watches are made to last and support the success of any adventure. Breitling is the world's only major watch brand that exclusively creates pieces with chronometer-certified movements. The COSC certification guarantees that these timepieces will always run with precision and accuracy. Breitling produces its own mechanical chronograph movement, entirely developed and manufactured in its own workshops in Switzerland. Precision and style is guaranteed.
These beautifully detailed watches are a beautiful conversation starter. Proven to be timeless in style, these watches are also innovative and cutting edge. For those who fly and for those who have never lost their passion for becoming a pilot or astronaut one day, invest in a timepiece that shows the world a passion for the world in the sky, and the Breitling watch will say the rest.