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Round-UpWhy 2024 Is The Milestone Year For Five Leading Watchmakers

Watchmakers Breitling, Bulgari, Doxa, Edox and Oris are celebrating milestone anniversaries in 2024 with a slew of exciting events, exhibits and new launches

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Milestones in the luxury watchmaking world typify new watch launches, iconic watch collections, innovations with calibres for high power reserve, innovations with features for improved water/scratch resistance, and even brand takeovers. A large part of these momentous occasions also involve foundational dates. From the day of inception to the present day, the period becomes a time tapping resource for the brand to check how far they have come and the trajectory ahead. Many luxe watchmakers being family owned businesses, can revisit contributions to the brand by family members. Here’s listing five top watchmakers for whom the year 2024 will go down in their own personal histories as a significant milestone when the brand celebrated either their 140th, 135th or 120th anniversary.

Breitling

Swiss watchmaker Breitling has turned 140 years old, and to celebrate this milestone, the brand will revisit their ‘incredible firsts’—pioneering inventions in timekeeping—with special events, exhibits, and launches. Kickstarting this list of ‘140 Years of Firsts’ is the Breitling Professional Aerospace B70 Orbiter, launched on March 21, exactly 25 years from March 21, 1999—the day of the historic landing of the world’s first non-stop balloon flight around the world made possible by the watch brand. The Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter 25th anniversary edition carries forward design traits of the ana-digi display (an analogue display for hours and minutes, and an LCD digital display for seconds) along with new features. This ‘modern-day tool watch’ showcases a bright orange dial, matching the Orbiter 3 capsule, featuring orange Super-LumiNova luminescent numerals, indexes, and hands, with the LCD display featuring backlight so that the watch showcases time under low-light conditions.

The Breitling Aerospace B70 Orbiter 25th anniversary edition features an ana-digi display (an analogue display for hours and minutes, and an LCD digital display for seconds) along with new features, such as multiple strap options

Breitling is a prominent Swiss luxury watch brand founded in 1884, by Leon Breitling, whose 1889 for a simplified yet high accuracy chronograph became a boon in the science, sport, automobile and industry. What marked the boom of Breitling was the brand’s invention of the flyback chronograph, which instantly clicked with aviators, and Breitling was branded as the ’official supplier to world aviation’. Their prominent collections include the Navitimer, Chronomat, Superocean and Avenger. Breitling produces their movements in-house and all of their watches are COSC-certified.

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The all-gold, steel-and-gold, or all-steel Breitling Navitimer watches present lab-grown diamonds certified with an ‘SCS-007 Sustainability Rated Diamonds Standard’

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The Breitling Chronomat collection of dress watches in case sizes: 32, 36 and 38, GMT 40, South Sea line with multi-coloured diamond-studded bezels, and even 42mm chronographs named after top sporting events, namely the Super Bowl and Six Nations Wales

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The peach fuzz Premier B01 Chronograph 42 incorporates signatures of the vintage-era first issue Premier chronograph such as the fixed bezel and dual sub-dials overriding the large applied Arabic hour markers of namely two, four, eight and 10

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The Breitling Superocean Heritage B20 is water-resistant upto 200m and driven by the in-house, COSC-certified B20 automatic calibre, which keeps the watch ticking for at least 70 hours

Bulgari

Italian luxury brand Bulgari that gave the world glittering high-tech timepieces such as Serpenti, Monete, B.Zero1, and Diva, has completed 140 years in the watchmaking business. Founder Sotirios Voulgaris (1857-1932) opened the Bulgari flagship store back in 1884 selling jewellery on the tony Via Condotti street in Rome. By the 1930s, the jewellery brand earned good repute in Rome and Paris, and new stores mushroomed across Italy. The epitome of success was when the Bulgari family sold its controlling stake to the French luxury goods conglomerate LVMH in 2011 for $5.2 billion. The serif font is evident in the brand’s Bvlgari Bvlgari line, with the letters spelt across the bezel. Today, their watches are made in Switzerland, but developed and designed in Italy.

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In Serpenti Tubogas Infinity, tubogas is the engineering technique used to construct the bracelet, which makes the base thicker to ensure the diamonds remain embedded onto the bracelet

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The Bulgari Bulgari Solotempo (Italian for ‘only time’) timepiece is noted for its flat bezel engraved with double logo and tiny date aperture at three o'clock, and minimalistic dial

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The Allegra rose gold features 32 sapphires in prong-style cages, which allows ample passage of light, and is attached to pink or white alligator straps that end in matching gold ardillon buckles studded with eight round-cut diamonds

One moment from their series of celebratory launches and events is the launch of two variants of the Bulgari Octo Finissimo, created specially by the brand’s product creation executive director, Fabrizio Buonamassa Stigliani. Titled Octo Finissimo Automatique BVL 138 Sketch, the watch is available in rose gold and stainless-steel, powered by the ultra-slim in-house BVL 138 caliber with a 60-hour-power-reserve and inscription that takes note of Bulgari’s anniversary, ‘1884–2024’.

Bulgari Octo Finissimo Sketch 18 karat rose gold stainless steel watch milestone 1

Doxa

One of the youngest watchmakers to start their own watchmaking company was Georges Ducommun, who opened Doxa in 1889 at the ripe age of 21. Doxa in Greek means ‘glory’; reflecting the young lad’s intentions for his company. Within a few years, Ducommun’s skill gained repute outside Switzerland. For instance, his handcrafted pocket watch was honoured at the Exposition Universelle et Internationale, Liège, Belgium, in 1905, and a year later, his anti-magnetic Doxa won the gold medal at the World’s Fair in Milan, Italy. Ducommun had the in-house ‘8-Day Doxa Calibre’ patented in 1908, which came to be used in Bugatti racing cars, followed by other reputed companies’ ships and airplanes. Today, Doxa completes 135 years, and continue maintaining razor sharp focus on manufacturing travel and sport timepieces.

Doxa-Army-Swiss-Army-Greek-brand-names-titanium-case-ceramic-dial-milestone
The Doxa Army watch in titanium bracelet and rubber strap harks to the original vintage dive versions with the sand-beige matt centre and a graphic chapter ring with bold black rectangular markers, monochrome minute track, and beige and white hour indexes

Edox

Edox have gained reputation for their high-tech mechanical timepieces equipped to handle sporting races, where the measurement of the smallest unit of time takes utmost precedence. For instance, their iconic Delfin watch unveiled in 1961 hit the mark for shock and water resistance, armed by its double case back, special protective gaskets, and double ‘O’ ring system that earned the brand the nickname ‘water champion’, while their CO-1 collection was specially developed for offshore powerboat racing. The birth of this Swiss watchmaker, however, began in the Biel/Bienne, renowned for its watch engineers. It was a lady that influenced the brand’s inception. Founder Christian Ruefli-Flury painstakingly devised an exquisite pocket watch as a birthday gift for his beloved wife Pauline. Floored by the romantic gesture and her husband’s exceptional talent, she prodded him to start his own watch enterprise. Finally, he opened his own shop in 1884, who called his company Edox, which means ‘measuring of time’ in ancient Greek; perhaps signifying the amount of time, effort, and attention to detail that goes into creating a timepiece from scratch. Today, 140 years later, the family-owned atelier, located at Les Genevez, nestled by the Jura Mountains, continues to produce stellar water resistant timepieces.

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The Edox Chronorally line is specifically designed for timekeeping during motorsports events; where even split-second timing is vital. Pictured here: Edox Chronorally Automatic with blue dial

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Edox has developed hi-tech mechanical timepieces catered to sporting races, where the measurement of time takes precedence, such as pictured here: Edox CO-1 Chronograph 10242 TINM GIDNO

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For its long list of superior features, the dive watch line Delfin has given Edox the nickname ‘water champion’. Pictured here: Edox Delfin Mecano

Oris

Two ambitious businessmen Paul Cattin and Georges Christian bought a shut-down watch factory called Lohner & Co in Hölstein, Switzerland, and reopened it on June 1, 1904, under the name Oris. They got this new name from an eponymous river situated at a village located close to the factory, to stay true to its original roots. Completing 120 years this year, the Swiss watchmaker watchmaker gained repute for their retro Artelier, aviation-inspired Big Crown, and adventurous Divers Sixty-Five collections. A pioneering move was their innovation Oris Calibre 581 in 1991 fitted with a progressive moonphase complication. The brand has stayed true to its namesake, undertaking marine restoration projects helmed by corresponding watch launches.

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The multi-coloured dial of the Oris ProPilot X Calibre 400 Laser Engraved watch is created by subjecting the titanium watch face to multiple laser techniques, which results in an iridescent effect

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The Oris Big Crown ProPilot Big Date pilot watches aids handling through gloved hands, and comes with a fluted bezel inspired by jet engine turbines

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Being a diving watch, the Oris Aquis collection is equipped with a uni-directional rotating bezel with a ceramic insert and protected crown. Pictured here: Oris Aquis Date Calibre 400

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The Oris ProDiver is a robust diving tool, the collection is equipped with dual time zones, date, and a 24-hour indicator

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