Celebrated for its industrial-strength chronographs, Breitling revolutionised the essential instrument for elapsed timekeeping in 1934 when its founder’s grandson Willy Breitling addressed a deficiency in the traditional “reset” function by adding a second pusher to the mechanism and subsequently introduced the world’s first wrist chronograph with two pushers.

Willy Breitling, inventor of the second independent chronograph pushpiece.

Two years later, the watch entrepreneur introduced a specially designed aviator chronograph with a black dial and striking luminescent numerals and hands as well as a practical rotating bezel with a useful, versatile pointer arrow that also glowed in the dark, and with that heralded the beginning of what has come to be Breitling’s long, rich and continuous legacy in aviation.

1934 advertisement for the double-pushpiece chronograph.

Aware of the strict requirements for military and civil aviation, Breitling established the Huit Aviation Department in 1938 with the name “Huit” (“Eight” in English) taken from the eight-day power reserve offered in on-board clocks and other cockpit instruments. The clocks devel­oped by Huit were distinguished by their lightweight cases and ease of installation. Huit was also responsible for the development of Breitling’s wrist chronographs for professional aviation use.

1941 advertisement for the Huit Aviation Department.

Its products, proved to be capable of weathering the shocks, vibrations, extreme temperatures and magnetism that pilots were likely to encounter in the cockpit with flying colours, immediately took the military forces by storm. In the wake of World War II, Huit received a large order for on-board chronographs from the Royal Air Force for its legendary fighter planes.

On-board chronographs and instruments for pilots, Breitling catalog, 1941.


Today, celebrating Huit’s 80th anniversary as part of a new chapter in its history under the exciting leadership of CEO Georges Kern, Breitling has incorporated the Huit narrative into its star collection, not to mention one of watchmaking’s most celebrated aviation icons, Navitimer (born in 1952), in the form of the Navitimer 8. The auspicious digit “8” alludes to 80 years of “Huit” Aviation Department, from 1938 to 2018, and the early incorporation of 8-day power reserve. It’s divined that Willy Breitling’s legacy lives on.

The first Breitling Navitimer, 1952.

“With the Navitimer 8,” says the excited CEO, “we are honoring not only our rich heritage but also our pioneering role in building chronographic instruments. But while the Navitimer 8 pays tribute to our past, it also does something considerably more important. It opens the door to a very exciting future.”

Navitimer 8 B01 in red gold with a bronze dial and a brown alligator leather strap.


Guy Bove, Breitling’s creative director, who fully immersed himself in the historic designs by the Huit Aviation Department, describes the inspiration behind the Navitimer 8 as follows, “With the Navitimer 8, we wanted to create a watch that was in line with our vision for the brand’s future, but which would also pay tribute to the great Breitling watches of the early to mid-twentieth century. From a design perspective, it occupies a unique position between Huit’s onboard clocks and the Navitimer.”

One of the on-board clocks made by the Huit Aviation Department.

Among the features recalling Huit’s on-board clocks and Breitling’s iconic watch Reference 768 are the rotating bezel and distinctive triangular pointer that made it a favorite among pilots; the luminous hands against black dials, a combination that offered easy readability in any lighting conditions; the typical notches on the bezel, its contrasting satin and polished surfaces; the luminescent Arabic numerals; the skeletonised hands; and the small triangles and long minute markers along the minute tracks, all of which evoke the unmistakably rugged yet elegant flair of the earlier era.

Breitling Reference 768.

The rotating bezel, which features a handy glass rim with a practical pointer, was an indispensable element of the early aviator wristwatches. A similar bidirectional rotating bezel also distinguishes the new wristwatches. The wearer can easily measure short time intervals by positioning the pointer at the appropriate distance before or after the hands.

Each Navitimer 8 is water-resistant to 100m and chronometer-certified by COSC. Here are the five models that make up the Navitimer 8 family.

Navitimer 8 B01

Powered by the in-house Caliber 01, the self-winding, 43mm watch has a ratchet-wheel chronograph with vertical coupling and a power reserve of more than 70 hours. The display features 30-minute and 12-hour counters and a date window. The highlight of this new range, the Navitimer 8 B01 comes in stainless steel with a black or blue dial, or in red gold with a bronze dial. It is presented on a stainless steel bracelet or an alligator leather strap with a pin buckle. The COSC-certified chronometer has a transparent sapphire case back.

Navitimer 8 Unitime

Designed with international travellers in mind, the automatic watch offers world-time indication through an ingenious independent hour hand that can be adjusted with the crown. At the heart is the manufacture Caliber B35 with a power reserve of more than 70 hours. The stunning dial is available in black or silver. The 43mm stainless steel case with a rotating bezel is fitted with a classy alligator leather strap.

Navitimer 8 Chronograph

Offering 30-minute and 12-hour counters at 12 and 6 o’clock, respectively, along with a small seconds hand at 9, the watch is accurate to a quarter of a second, powered by the Breitling Caliber 13 chronometer movement. It is wound automatically with the use of a unilateral ball-bearing rotor, delivering an autonomous running time of more than 42 hours. The 43mm case is available in steel with a leather strap or steel bracelet, or in DLC-coated steel paired with a leather strap.

Navitimer 8 Day & Date

Wtih the day featured prominently at 12 o’clock, fully spelt out in big capitals, and the date at 6, against a black or blue dial, the automatic watch keeps you informed from day to day. It’s powered by the Breitling Caliber 45, whose bidirectional rotor winding offers over 40 hours of power reserve. The dial, in black or blue, is revealed through a double anti-reflective sapphire glass. The 41mm stainless-steel case comes with a leather strap with a pin buckle. As a reminder of the Huit Aviation Department, the timepiece is fitted with a rotating bezel with a practical pointer, which can be used to mark the time of an important event, for example the departure of a flight. The approaching hour or minute hand will reliably ensure that you are never late again.

Navitimer 8 Automatic

The Navitimer 8 Automatic makes a style statement. It is clearly a direct descendent of Breitling’s watches from the 1930s and 1940s. Inside the stainless-steel case with its rotating bezel and pointer is the Breitling Caliber 17, which, with its bidirectional rotor winder, delivers more than 40 hours of power reserve. The eye-catching dial is available in black or blue. The 41mm COSC-certified chronometer is offered with a choice of a steel bracelet or leather strap.


In conjunction with the launch of the Navitimer 8, Breitling has also extended the Navitimer 1 family to include eight new references, grouped into three sizes.

The first Breitling Navitimer, 1952.

Arguably the most iconic of all Breitling wristwatches, the Navitimer was born in 1952 to meet the needs of a growing commercial and recreational aviation market. Thanks to a circular slide rule that was able to perform a range of calculations relevant to aviation, the Navitimer was adopted by pilots and especially favoured by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA).

Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 with black dial and stainless steel Navitimer bracelet.

Instantly recognisable, this timeless chronograph looks as stylish today. The latest additions to Navitimer 1 come in a diverse range of sizes, dial options, bracelets, and straps, ensuring that there is a perfect Navitimer 1 for even the most demanding of wrists.

Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 46

Making a bold style statement with its impressive 46mm red gold case, the timepiece is available in two configurations: one with an anthracite dial and a black alligator leather strap, and another with a silver dial and a brown leather strap. The watches are equipped with Breitling’s legendary bidirectional rotating bezel with a circular slide rule. Both interpretations have contrasting subdials (the “inverse panda look”), an indication of the extraordinary movement inside. They are powered by the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, an automatic COSC-certified chronometer that delivers a power reserve of more than 70 hours.

Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43

The Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 has been crafted in four compelling versions. The most elegant of these features a red gold case with a blue dial on a black alligator leather strap. Equally eye-catching is a stainless-steel and red gold model with a Stratos Gray dial, which is also presented on a black alligator leather strap. There are also two robust stainless-steel versions: one with a blue dial and a black alligator leather strap, and another with a silver dial and a classic Navitimer stainless-steel bracelet.

Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 with blue dial and stainless steel Navitimer bracelet.

Like all Breitling chronographs powered by the Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, the Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 watches feature contrasting subdials piece is water-resistant up to 30m. These outstanding chronographs are equipped with a bidirectional rotating bezel fitted with Breitling’s iconic circular slide rule.

Navitimer 1 Chronograph 41

Fans of smaller watches will be drawn to this. It is available in steel and red gold with a red gold bidirectional rotating bezel, presented with a black dial and a black leather strap. There is also a striking stainless-steel version with a silver dial and brown leather strap. The movement at the heart is the COSC-certified Breitling Caliber 13 chronometer, wound automatically by a unilaterally acting ball-bearing rotor, delivering a power reserve of more than 42 hours.


written by.
KC Yap
Editor, Augustman Malaysia

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