Watch fans are always up for a bit of healthy debate, so when the topic of just when exactly the iconic Breitling Navitimer was introduced invariably arises in conversion, you know you’re in for a long one. If you listen to the brand, the signature aviation timepiece dates back to 1952 but certain sticklers are quick to point out that the Navitimer moniker wasn’t present until 1954. It matters less to Breitling, who are surging on with birthday celebrations, taking to Watches & Wonders 2022 to unveil a stunning collection of watches in honour of the collection’s contentious 70th anniversary. With 13 dial options on offer, the new 2022 Breitling Navitimer has officially landed.
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Originally designed by Willy Breitling, the classic chronograph lineup has managed to traverse aviation circles and wind up in the hearts of collectors the world over. For the 2022 editions, the Swiss legend took the Navitimer’s recognisable design language to new heights, refining the circular slide rule, baton indexes, trio of chronograph counters and notched bezel. The result is subtle to the naked eye, but peering at the watches more closely, you immediately note how fluid the aesthetic really is. If ever there was a criticism of the Navitimer, it was simply that the dial was too busy. This time around, Breitling has revamped the lineup in 46mm, 43mm or 41mm case sizes, giving the dial a little more room to breathe.
This notion of playing with the space is continued through the form function as well, with the flattened slide rule and a domed crystal giving the illusion of a more compact profile. Throw in the slimmer silhouette on the oscillating weight and you’ve somehow managed to turn a hefty piece of kit into a sharp and streamlined contemporary chronograph. Inside, it’s more of the same. Visible through the open-caseback, the COSC-certified Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01 is the true beating heart of the Navitimer. Punching out 70 hours power reserve, the movement is essentially an automatic version of the one used in the recent Navitimer Re-Edition.
With 70 years of history on the line, you’d be forgiven for playing it safe for legacy’s sake, however, Breitling has boldly charged in all-directions, seemingly at once. With an assortment of dial options such as emerald green, blue, mint green, copper silver and black panda, two case materials in stainless steel or 18-karat red gold and a choice of straps, the new 2022 Navitimer lineup is a custom collector’s dream, just ask Georges Kern, CEO of the Swiss Maison.
“We don’t throw the term ‘icon’ around lightly,” Kern, said. “The Navitimer is one of the most recognizable watches ever made. It’s on collectors’ lists of the greatest watches of all time. What began as a tool for pilots has gone on to mean something profound to every single person who has had this timepiece along on their personal journey.”
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The new 2022 Breitling Navitimer lineup is available to purchase now from Breitling stores and the official online boutique. Prices start from AUD$12,490 and go all the way up to AUD$52,000 for the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43.
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