Baselworld 2019 Preview: Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition
1/4 It’s a favourite classic
Launched in 1952, the Breitling Navitimer had a loyal fanbase among professional pilots thanks, in large part, to its functional circular slide rule that enabled the pilot to make quick logarithmic calculations during a flight – think of it as a “computer” on the wrist. The watch was officially adopted by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) in the US, which was why the American version of the watch featured the AOPA signature on the dial.
One of the most coveted chronographs to this day, the Navitimer’s appeal extends beyond the world of aviation as jazz musician Miles Davis and Formula One driver Jim Clark were among the famous folk who owned the watch.
2/4 It’s a faithful recreation of the 1959 watch
Breitling has opted for an exact replication of the old design. Like the original, the case measures 40.9mm in diameter in stainless steel with a bi-directional bezel with 94 beads.
Like the old watch, the dial is black with tone-on-tone chronograph sub-dials. The glass over it is acrylic, as opposed to the modern sapphire crystal, and it is domed at the exact angle of the 1959 Navitimer. The dial also features the vintage winged logo that was replaced by the new cursive ‘B’ logo last year.
3/4 It boasts a new contemporary heartbeat
The original watch was endowed with the manual-winding Venus 178 movement. The new watch is updated with Breitling Manufacture Calibre B09, which is based on the in-house automatic Calibre B01 but re-engineered to become a manual movement with 70 hours of power reserve.
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4/4 It could be the first of many vintage re-editions to come
If this Re-Edition is successful – and by all accounts, it is off to a good start – Breitling is likely to create more models that celebrate its rich legacy.
As CEO Georges Kern put it: “In the past year, we’ve been thrilled to learn that there are many people who have always been passionate about Breitling’s legacy and that there’s enormous interest not only in our new products but also in our heritage and our early timepieces. The Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition will give new Breitling fans and people who have followed the brand for decades a chance to own and enjoy their own exclusive piece of our legendary past.”
Also see: A preview of Bell & Ross' Baselworld 2019 watch, the BR03-92 Bi-Compass