ReviewThe Aviation Advancement Of The Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 2018
For those who are not quite fans of Breitling’s sharp evolution as seen in the Navitimer 8, fear not, as the Navitimer 1 is still very much a part of the brand’s offering, with only the updates necessary for a new edition. Here is the new Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph
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Breitling’s distinctive and most recognised collection since 1952, the Navitimer returned this year, playing to the tune of any Breitling enthusiast’s desires. While the Navitimer 8 is the first collection under the leadership of Georges Kern, Breitling’s new CEO, the Navitimer 1 really brings out his strategy for the brand going forward. The exclusion of the slide rule from the Navitimer 8 may have received a mixed reaction, the Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 keeps both the signature bi-directional rotating bezel and slide rule intact.
The new Navitimer collection retains the aesthetics of a sporty timepiece and the technical prowess of a complex instrument making it a fitting choice for new-age pilots and aeronautics enthusiasts. The new edition though is more streamlined in terms of variations. “It’s symbolic of what we’re doing with all the Breitling collections—cutting down the number of references in the collections—to break through the clutter,” says Guy Bove, Breitling’s creative director.
A Legendary Design
Exemplifying quintessential Navitimer aesthetics, the collection effortlessly recreates the Breitling watches produced between the ’30s and ’70s under Willy Breitling, which Bove terms as, “Tool watches that were so elegant that they almost looked like dress watches.” Created in four exquisite variations, the first watch has an 18-carat red gold case. Another is a combination of stainless steel and 18-carat red gold. Both come with black alligator leather straps. The first of the stainless steel variations has a silver dial and the ageless Navitimer steel bracelet, while the other model has a gorgeous blue dial with a black alligator leather strap. All the models in this edition feature distinctive ‘panda’ or ‘inverse panda’ dials, which have contrasting sub-dials. As Bove declares, “Now onwards, contrasting sub-dials and a polished bezel will be an indicator of the watch housing a manufacture movement.” The baton indexes, hour and minute hands are infused
Despite the dial being busy, it is quite legible, and expectedly so from such a high-tech instrument wristwatch. At the dial’s periphery is the slide rule ring that turns in tandem with the bidirectional, fluted bezel. By combining the bezel, slide rule and chronograph features, the watch becomes an analogue wizard that can perform a plethora of functions, ranging from serving as a compass to performing currency conversion, calculating ground speed, the rate of climb or descent, elapsed time and more. Protecting the dial and adding to the superior use of elements that Breitling is renowned for is the sapphire, double antireflective glass over the dial, apart from the sapphire crystal caseback. Kern’s influence is palpable in the bold 43mm case that has quite a visual impact.
An emblem of reliability integrated in the Navitimer is the COSC-certified, in-house
manufactured movement, the Breitling calibre 01. Breitling is one of the few elite Swiss watchmakers who manufacture movements. The self-winding mechanical movement operates at 28,800vph, with a 70-hour power reserve, churned out from a flat mainspring and a single barrel, displaying the brand’s technical know-how. The brilliance of the column wheel movement is also well encapsulated in its aesthetics including the Côtes de Genève and highly polished bevels. With the slide rule intact and classic aviation in its DNA, the Navitimer 1 is certainly meant to please Breitling devotees.