Breitling Watches

by Joseph Levy
Friday, August 01, 2008

Breitling The Luxury Brand

Breitling The Luxury Brand

Made from Swiss components, Breitling watches are designed to be used by individuals involved in aviation, but many models are worn as high-end luxury watches. The watches are unique since they all offer aviation functions for their wearers. At the present time, these features are less likely to be used for practical reasons and they are more likely to express a status symbol to those who observe the watch. Most of the models offer a large watch face so that wearers can observe all of the analog dials that are offered.

Breitling was established in St. Imier, Switzerland by Léon Breitling. He opened a workshop in order to work on the creation of chronographs and precision counters that would be utilized for scientific and industrial reasons. By 1892, the company had grown with much success and, so, Breitling decided to relocate the company. The move was to La Chaux-de-Fonds, the hub of watch development during this time period in Switzerland. In 1914, Léon Breitling passed away and control of the company was passed on to his son, Gaston Breitling. Gaston was able to bring about one of the first big bouts of success that the company would see. After creating the first wristwatch chronograph in 1915, pilots were able to enjoy, for the first time, a wrist instrument. A short eight years later, Breitling was able to present the first independent chronograph pushpiece. Prior to this invention, the start and the return-to-zero functions had been controlled by a winding crown.

The company changed hands once again in 1932 as Gaston’s son, Willy Breitling, took control of the Breitling watch company. Two years later, the company released their second independent chronograph pushpiece. This creation also enabled the wrist chronograph to take on its distinctive and definitive form. Breitling’s interest in supplying aviators and professionals with timepieces reached new heights when, in 1936, the company became the official supplier to the Royal Air Force in the United Kingdom. Eight years later, the company would widen its audience as a supplier to the American armed forces. The same year, the company launched their new product, the Chronomat. This was the first chronograph that was produced with a circular slide rule.

The next major development tackled by Breitling is their Navitimer. This piece is a wrist instrument that features the renowned navigation computer. This technological advancement was able to handle all of the many necessary calculations that are present in flight plans. Quickly, pilots all around the globe understood the benefits of owning a Breitling and invested in this popular purchase. This year, 1952, also saw the implementation of Breitling clocks within the cockpits of aviation devices around the world. Eventually, Breitling was able to break through the Earth’s atmosphere as Scott Carpenter, an astronaut, wore a Cosmonaut chronograph watch during his orbital flight, which took place on the Aurora 7 space capsule.

Moving forward in innovative designs, Breitling teamed up with Heuer-Leonidas and Büren, two other highly successful Swiss watch companies, in 1969 in order to produce the self-winding chronograph movement. This advancement remains one of the most exciting breakthroughs in the Swiss watch industry. Ten years later, in 1979, Willy Breitling was replaced as head of the Breitling watch company by Ernest Schneider. Schneider had previously worked as a pilot, a watch manufacturer and a microelectronics specialist. In 1984, the company made a return to the chronograph. This resulted in the Chronomat, which became the best selling watch line ever produced by Breitling. This record remains at the time of this writing (June 2008). The favored features of this watch line include the sturdy case and impressive bezel and rider tabs. A year later, Breitling released the Aerospace chronograph made out of titanium, a model which was very impressive to pilots at the time.

1995 brought another technological leap to the forefront of the Breitling watches. This time, the company released the Emergency watch. Emergency has a number of features, the most impressive being its built-in microtransmitter, which broadcasts on the airline emergency frequency. Three years later, Breitling would release their most versatile chronograph watch, dubbed the B-1. At the start of the new century, in 2000, the company moved their headquarters to Grenchen, Switzerland, in a modern and impressive administration and management building, as well as their state-of-the-art production unit.