Breitling Evolves its Navitimer Collection

A hat-trick of newly refreshed Breitling aviation models kicks off the brand's 140th birthday

Watches & Jewellery 25 Jun 2024

Astronaut Scott Carpenter

Astronaut Scott Carpenter wore a bespoke Breitling into space in 1962

To commemorate 140 years of watchmaking excellence, Breitling is releasing new versions of its most iconic aviation timepieces. To kick off the festivities, the watchmaker has debuted a handful of new Navitimer models, a watch that first appeared in 1952. Launched as a functional pilot’s tool, it was the first wristwatch to combine a chronograph and a slide rule that allowed pilots to make crucial calculations. In the decades since, it has achieved global success thanks to updated case sizes and colour options, and celebrity fans such as Charlize Theron, who has been an ambassador of the house since 2018.

Breitling Navitimer B12 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute, £17,900
Breitling Navitimer B12 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute, £17,900

Now, the collection has evolved once more with two new pared-down models, a GMT and a three-hand Automatic, each in a 41mm case size. The Automatic gives a contemporary nod to the Navitimer’s classic design, with a notched bi-directional bezel, cambered sapphire crystal on the dial side, solid screw-down caseback, and non-screw-locked winding crown. Three versions of the Automatic have been introduced: steel; two-tone 18k red gold and steel; and full 18k red gold. The steel comes with a choice of blue, green or ice blue dial while the two-tone and gold models feature silver dials.

Meanwhile, the Navitimer Automatic 41 GMT is offered in stainless steel with a black, silver or ice blue dial, or 18k red gold with a green dial. It includes a bi-directional slide-rule bezel, cambered sapphire crystal, screw-down caseback, and pull-out winding crown.

The last of the launches is a new take on the Navitimer B12 Chronograph 41 Cosmonaute that became the first Swiss wristwatch in space when astronaut Scott Carpenter took the bespoke Breitling with him on the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission on 24 May, 1962. Limited to a run of 250, the new 41mm model comes in 18k red gold with a dark green dial with three black counters and, like the original, a 24-hour display. On the caseback, a sapphire display reveals the COSC-certified Breitling Manufacture Caliber B12 column- wheel as well as the inscription “First Swiss Wristwatch in Space/Navitimer Cosmonaute May 24, 1962”.

Mercury-Atlas-7 liftoff, 12:45:16 UTC, 24 May 1962. (NASA)
Mercury-Atlas-7 liftoff, 12:45:16 UTC, 24 May 1962. (NASA)

‘All this year, we’ll be talking about our 140 Years of Firsts,’ says Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling. ‘And when it comes to these two watches – the Navitimer and Cosmonaute – you cannot overstate the significance they’ve had for our brand, for aviation and for watchmaking as a whole, he adds.

From £4,700;