Last year in Basel, we saw a 38mm three-hand Navitimer with a beaded bezel equipped with a slide rule. Sure, it was on the smaller side for a Breitling, but it was also a clear signal that under its then-new new management, Breitling was going to be open to trying new things to reach a wider range of watch buyers. This year, we see the same aesthetic applied to a 41mm mid-size three-hander with date.
It’s a good looking watch that takes the aesthetic of the Navitimer, a tool watch if there ever was one and definitely Breitling’s most iconic design, and applies it to a fashionable time and date in a wide range of executions incorporating various dial colors, two case metal configurations, and choice of a leather strap or a bracelet. Based on the shear number of examples within this new collection, it would appear that Breitling expects this collection to be a big success and a pillar for the brand. The Breitling 17 is not produced in-house, but it’s based upon one of the most widely used and time-tested movements in all of Swiss watchmaking, ETA’s 2824-2.
I’m a fan of the Navitimer aesthetic, and I think a lot of you out there are too. It’s definitely Breitling’s best-known watch and easily one of the most instantly recognizable pilot’s watch designs from any watchmaker. These new time and date models successfully transfer the design language of an iconic tool watch to more of an everyday watch with mass market appeal. There are a heck of a lot of different possible configurations here – I count 15 when taking the optional folding clasp versus pin buckle into account, and I think some of them look really great: the blue dial option below matched with a blue strap, for example.
The Breitling Navitimer Automatic 41 is easily one of the most respected pilot’s watches on the market. First conceived in the 1950s, these watches were no-nonsense tools meant to help a pilot calculate ground speed or fuel consumption on the fly (hah). The Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 41 watch was an effort on the brand’s part to blend some of the expected Navitimer features into a highly functional timepiece, all the while maintaining that classic design we know and love. The Navitimer 1 draws much of its inspiration from the Navitimer 806, a simple three-hander released in the 1950s. The Navitimer 1 Automatic 41 is being released in two different 41mm-case versions. The first is an all stainless steel construction, and the second has a stainless steel case but is accompanied by an 18k red gold bezel. (Previously, these were only available in 38mm, seen here.) The Stainless steel version will be available in one of three dial colors: black, blue, and silver, whereas the red gold bezel version will be available with a silver or anthracite dial. The watch will be powered by Breitling’s chronometer-certified Caliber 17, which ticks away at 4hz and boasts a 38-hour power reserve. The watch is resistant to 3bar (30 meters) and will be available on either an alligator strap or a stainless steel bracelet.
I suspect this will be a strong release for Breitling, especially for those who just love the Navitimer and its different iterations. There’s a lot to like here and a lot of options for different tastes, especially with five different dial/bezel variations in the new larger size. Pricing has yet to be announced by Breitling