Breitling Unveils New Navitimer References as Part of its 140th Anniversary Celebrations

The iconic Navitimer and Cosmonaute get a modern upgrade while staying true to their storied heritage
Breitling Unveils New Navitimer References as Part of its 140th Anniversary Celebrations
March 27, 2024
Breitling Unveils New Navitimer References as Part of its 140th Anniversary Celebrations

2024 marks 140 years of Breitling and to mark the occasion, the brand, throughout the year, will be honouring its rich legacy of breakthroughs in timekeeping for air, land, and sea, and even its milestones in sustainability. This month, the brand has chosen to recognise two of its icons: the Navitimer and the Cosmonaute, a 24-hour take on the Navitimer that became the first Swiss wristwatch in space. In commemoration of its 140-year anniversary, Breitling has unveiled new versions of these lines: the Navitimer GMT and Automatic 41, along with a new self-winding Cosmonaute. GMT India takes a closer look at the new references.

Navitimer GMT and Automatic 41: Classic yet Contemporary

The new references have a modern touch while staying true to their iconic legacy

Breitling has played a crucial role in timekeeping in commercial aviation; its earliest timekeeping mechanisms aboard commercial flights became standard equipment, first in propeller planes and later in jets. When, in 1952, the design of the Breitling Navitimer was first unveiled, it was an instant hit with airline pilots. It featured a circular slide that allowed pilots to make important calculations like rate of climb and fuel consumption. The Navitimer is the model that established Breitling as the “Official supplier to world aviation”. Soon enough, the Navitimer’s fame expanded beyond civil aviation; it turned into a pop culture icon, drawing the attention of trendsetters such as Miles Davis and Serge Gainsbourg.

Throughout the years, the Navitimer has played a crucial role in commercial aviation

In 2022, the Navitimer line underwent a redesign, beginning with the original chronograph. These two new pared-down models stay true to the updated design sensibilities. Housed in a versatile 41mm case, the GMT and the three-hand automatic retain the iconic look of the Navitimer while highlighting a clean and balanced dial composition. The centrally placed 24-hour scale on the clean faces of both models allow the intricate slide rule to stand out without compromising on the overall aesthetics.

The Navitimer references sport a distinct pared-down appeal

The overall contemporary appeal is amplified by the notched bezel and alternating polished and brushed finishes; the alligator leather straps and stainless steel bracelets add a strong touch of modernity to the references as well. The colour palette—including black, blue, silver, ice blue, and green dials—harmoniously complements the stainless steel of rose gold cases and the two-tone variant for the Automatic. The full-gold versions sport the Origins label, signifying responsibly mined gold, in line with the Swiss Better Gold Association’s environmental and social standards.

Navitimer B12 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute Limited Edition: Reinventing a Storied Classic 

The new Cosmonaute iteration is a limited edition of just 250 pieces

When, in 1962, Mercury Seven astronaut Scott Carpenter approached Breitling with a request to modify the Navitimer’s design for space exploration, the brand created a customised Navitimer—later named the Cosmonaute—that accompanied Carpenter on his May 1962 space mission. The Navitimer, with a special 24-hour dial to distinguish day from night in orbit, became the first Swiss timepiece in space.

An advertisement from 1964 depicting the Cosmonaute and its space exploration connection

This new reference, limited to 250 pieces, released to mark the brand’s 140th anniversary, features a self-winding chronograph movement, the Breitling manufacture caliber B12. Available through Breitling’s online and in-store boutiques, the watch features an 18ct red gold case, and a striking deep green dial with complementing golden numerals and a beautiful black alligator leather strap. Turning the watch over reveals the open caseback with a view of the contrasting oscillating weight. The movement provides approximately 70 hours of power and comes with a five-year warranty. A caseback engraving states the “One of 250” limitation and the words, “First Swiss Wristwatch in Space/Navitimer Cosmonaute May 24,1962”.

The caseback bears the engraving: “First Swiss Wristwatch in Space/Navitimer Cosmonaute May 24,1962”

Breitling’s 140th anniversary celebrations also include welcoming a new member to the Navitimer squad: football idol Erling Haaland who features in the Navitimer 41 campaign. A Breitling ambassador since 2022, Haaland, in a press statement by the brand, shared that he’s excited about being the face of the Navitimer in the brand’s anniversary year: “I’m super proud to be representing Breitling’s icon. People are going to be surprised this year when they see how many ‘firsts’ Breitling has under its belt. It’s been a game-changer in so many ways.”

All through 2024, Breitling will be unveiling special launches and festivities; these new Navitimer models make for a befitting start to the monumental year.

Image credits: Breitling