Coined from the words navigator and timer, the Breitling Navitimer collection is one of the most legendary collections by the brand. The birth of the Navimeter as an idea preceded its execution by decades, with the Breitling Chronomat in 1942. Willy Breitling collaborated with the mathematician Marcel Robert to design a slide rule bezel that made the calculation of complex logarithmic values possible. This led to the development of a scale that incorporated the three units necessary for aerial navigation- STAT, KM and NAUT. Pilots all over the world could now perform complicated calculations such as fuel consumption, average or climbing speeds, and so on, by using their Navitimer, which doubled as a calculator. From its launch in 1952 till today, more than 60 years after its release, the Navimeter has undergone several changes, including the evolution from the manual Venus 178 movement in 1952 to the highly modern automatic movement in 1969, though the side rule bezel has remained a constant component. The first editions of the Navimeter 806 are today highly sought-after collectables.
With various dial sizes, each watch from the Navimeter collection is bold and historically suited for aircraft navigators, by providing easy visibility even in poor lighting. The most distinctive feature of timepieces from this line is the aviation slide rule, perfect for complex calculations such as conversions from kilometres to nautical miles. Many timepieces are equipped with a transparent case back that allows an insight into the immaculate working of Breitling's certified automatic movement. Though the dials are mainly traditional panda or reverse panda coloured, other hues are available for some of the more adventurous wearers. Apart from the slide ruler, the collection also features chronographs for the intricate aviators with chronograph sub-dials fitted horizontally.
On May 24th, 1962, Astronaut Scott Carpenter took off from the surface of the earth to space with a Navitimer on his wrist. This Navitimer was specially crafted for the outer world and was called the Cosmonaute. The watch was equipped with a day/night indicator that was made on a special request put forward by Scott himself. Today, Breitling offers a replica of the same watch limited to just 362 units. These timepieces feature special engravings on the calibre bridges, such as Carpenter, Mercury 7, Three orbits around the earth and a replica uniform badge from the rocket’s space capsule.