For the sixtieth anniversary of the Navitimer, Breitling releases the Blue Sky. This limited production of five hundred pieces celebrates what might be from the standpoint of versatility, THE pilot watch. The Navitimer is a timeless classic, and the Blue Sky upholds the tradition.
It is impossible to think of the aviation chronograph’s history without Breitling’s iconic Navitimer, whose name is a contraction of navigation and timer. With the Navitimer, Breitling bred the ultimate in aviation functionality. Not only did Breitling work with its partners to develop the first automatic chronograph in 1969, but Breitling engineered the look and function of the modern chronograph: first with the side one-button in 1915, refined in 1923, and then with the side two-button in 1934, which separated start/stop and reset functions.
Their first watch to sport a circular slide rule was the Chronomat in 1940, but the 1952 Navitimer provided a slide rule that was able to perform all aviation calculations. A new era began, and Breitling held dominance in the cockpit throughout the fifties. Today, the Navitimer boasts being the oldest mechanical chronograph in current production and continues serving as a “wrist instrument”.
Because of the circular slide rule, the Navitimer became a co-pilot in addition to being a watch. The pilot could use his Navitimer to calculate ground speed, kilometers (or miles) per minute, fuel consumption, rate of climb or descent, and distance required for climb or descent. He was able to multiply, divide and convert statute miles, nautical miles and kilometers. Once on the ground, the pilot could then determine exchange rates – all with just his Navitimer.
How does the slide rule work? Using the formula: rate x time = distance, let us consider ground speed. If the pilot knows his time and distance, he can find the variable of ground speed. If he has flown 104 km (or miles) in 35 minutes, he can position the 10.4 on the outer scale next to the number 35 on the inner scale. The answer of 178 km/mph (17.8) appears above the MPH arrow mark at the top of the dial.
Naval aviators will appreciate the traditional anchor at the bottom of the red central seconds hand, and all pilots or pilots at heart will admire the exclusive shade of blue, recalling high altitude flight. What you do not see on the wrist is the Caliber 01 in-house movement, but turn the watch over and look through the transparent caseback to see yet another Breitling advance.
Produced with state-of-the-art assembly, the Caliber 01 has the axiomatic column wheel with a vertical coupling clutch to ensure a smooth engagement. This certified chronometer chronograph (COSC) has a 70-hour power reserve. The Navitimer Blue Sky comes in a 43mm case with the model number engraved Flieger-style on the case side at 9 o’clock and can be bought with either a sleek, matching blue alligator leather strap with white stitching or the familiar stainless steel bracelet.
Movement specifications: Breitling Caliber 01, COSC chronometer-certified (like all Breitling watches), automatic winding, frequency 28.800 vibrations per hour, 47 jewels, more then 70 hours power reserve.
The price for this exclusive, limited edition timepiece on a leather strap is close to $10K which is roughly $1,500 more than the Navitimer Caliber 01, causing me to furrow my brows and wonder, “Why is the price higher? Color?”. For a collector, the limited production and unique color may be worth the difference in cost. Either way, Breitling brings us a cause for celebration. Happy birthday Navitimer!
The official pricing of the Breitling Navitimer Blue Sky 60th Anniversary Limited Edition is € 7,240 with blue alligator strap and € 8,080 when it comes on a stainless steel bracelet. These prices are official retail prices in the Netherlands, including taxes.
This article is written by Max Reddick, contributing writer for Monochrome Watches.