Aviation and Breitling watches are like a mother and her child, with out one, the other wouldn’t exist. Every watch designed, every chronograph tested, every screw inserted was influenced by aviation throughout their existence.
Taking a look at Breitling history of watch designs cannot not be done without looking at the history of aviation. From 1884 until today, the rich influence of man in the air is not just noticable but clearly evident.
In 1884 the a star was born as Leo Breitling opens his workshop specializing in chronographs and precision counters for systematic and industrial purposes only, soon that passion will be focused on consumers around the world.
In 1891 German Otto Lilienthal, the father of aviation flew 50 meters in his glider. The very next year Leon Breitling relocated to La Chaux-de-Fonds, the Mecca of watch making.
In 1913 Aldophe Pegoud, king of the air, loops the first loop in aviation. The next year Leon Breitling dies and his son Gaston takes over the family business. The very next year Breitling consumption with aviation begins as the company led by Gaston creates the first wristwatch chronograph and provides pilot with the first instruments.
Today Breitling continues Gaston and Leon’s vision by continuing the goal of providing aviation employees the tools they need to beat time, and watches that consumers can use for a lifetime.
Breitling is known for its longtime cooperation with the world of aviation. The aviation industry needed Breitling, who specialized in industrial timing instruments, to add its passion for cutting edge instruments that matched the growth of the industry. As a result of this partnership, the Breitling Orbitor program was born and the Breitling Orbitor 3 was the first balloon to fly around the world non-stop. The Breitling Orbitor 3 was 180 feet tall when fully inflated and was piloted by Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones.
Features of the Orbitor 3 included:
- Propane gas fueled 6 burners
- Burners were enclosed in 28 titanium cylinder
- Built out of Kevlar and carbon fiber
- Solar panes recharged batteries for electricity
- Satellite based GPS systems
Despite the nay sayers, Bertrand and Brian took off on March 1, 1999 from the Swiss Alpines and landed in Egypt on March 21, 1999 . The success of the journey shows Breitling’s ongoing support of aviation that can be seen in watch designs today.To celebrate that courageous journey, there are three watches that I think really celebrate Breitling’s aviation theme. The first two watches are the Cockpit and Cockpit Lady. Both watches have all the amenities of legendary sports watches including a screw-locked crown and screwed caseback, scratch resistant sapphire crystals, rotating rider-tab bezel, and water resistance to 1,000 feet for the Cockpit and 330 feet for the Cockpit Lady.
The third watch is the Skyracer. This innovative watch has one of the most efficient self-winding chronograph in its category. Breitling didn’t stop there, the Skyracer also has a Caliber 27 which enables dual visualization of measured times. This amazing technology allows peerless readability of any measurement under 1 hour using the 60 minute totalizer. It also boasts two different readings at one time! For long trips one hand will read the time and the other will read the time elapsed.
Each of these watches can be explored in greater detail at Breitling’s website.