Wednesday, 06 December 2017 19:55

The making of the Breitling Chronomat

Blog post by Brendan Ihmig

"Official supplier to world aviation" is a title that Breitling proudly holds and one that has come from it's inseparable connection to aviation right from the onset. No other watch brand embodies the spirit and energy of aviation with the same sense of pride and dedication. No other watch brand has a history that is so entwined in the tale of man-made flight and that still has aviators eagerly desiring to wear their timepieces.

In an episode of National Geographic 'Super Factories' the captivating process of making the Breitling Chronomat is juxtaposed with a look at Breitling's history and the brand's current connection to aviation. This documentary shows the incredible attention Breitling gives to build quality and the mechanics of their watches as well as the stringent testing that each timepiece endures before it is shipped.

Super Factories: Breitling

A specialist of technical watches, Breitling has played a crucial role in the development of the wrist chronograph and is a leader in this complication. The firm has shared all the finest moments in the conquest of the skies thanks to its sturdy, reliable and high-performance instruments. One of the world's only major watch brands to equip all its models with chronometer-certified movements, the ultimate token of precision, Breitling is also one of the rare companies to produce its own mechanical chronograph movements, entirely developed and manufactured in its own workshops.

This family business is also one of the last remaining independent Swiss watch brands.

The Chronomat 44

The leading model among the Breitling collections, the Chronomat 44 reflects a universe dedicated to performance, sporting feats and surpassing personal limits. The sturdy case housing Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01 boasts water resistance to a depth of 500 m (1,650 ft) – a feat worthy of a diver’s watch. This chronograph with its powerful and unique style is an authentic instrument for aviators that comes in four versions (all-steel, steel with a bezel bearing four solid gold markers, steel with gold bezel or all-gold) with a broad selection of dials and straps/bracelets. This is the chronograph for all pilots.

Breitling AB011610BB08 377ABreitling CB042012BB86 744PBreitling AB0110AAA690 158S

► Caliber: Breitling 01 ► Power reserve: Min. 70 hrs ► Chronograph: 1/4th second, 30 minutes, 12 hour ► Jewels: 47 ► Water resistance: 500m (1,650 ft) ► Bezel: ratcheted unidirectional ► Crown: screw-locked with two gaskets ► Crystal: cambered sapphire with glareproofed on both sides ► 44mm Case: available in steel, two-tone, steel & gold, 18K rose or white gold ► 22mm Strap: available in Leather, Diver Pro, Military, Ocean Racer, Crocodile rubber or Pilot.

Breitling: The authentic partner of aviation

Aviation pioneers needed reliable and efficient instruments, and therefore soon took an interest in Breitling’s pocket chronographs, and later its wrist chronographs. In the early 1930s, building on its reputation for precision and sturdiness, the brand enriched its range with a “specialty” that would earn it worldwide fame: onboard chronographs intended for aircraft cockpits. These instruments indispensable to secure piloting enjoyed great success with the various armed forces, including the Royal Air Force which used them to equip its famous World War II propeller-driven fighter planes.

In 1952, Breitling launched its legendary Navitimer wrist chronograph featuring a circular slide rule serving to perform all navigation-related calculations. A cult object for pilots and aviation enthusiasts, it has been continuously manufactured for almost 60 years – making it the world’s oldest mechanical chronograph still in production. In 1962, a Navitimer accompanied Scott Carpenter on his orbital flight aboard the Aurora 7 capsule, thus becoming the first space-going wrist chronograph.

partner aviation detail

During the 1950s and 1960s, Breitling played a key role in the boom of commercial aviation, as its onboard chronographs became standard equipment, first on the propeller-driven planes and later on the jet aircraft of many airplane manufacturers and airline companies. The brand thus quite naturally earned the status of “official supplier to world aviation”.

Today, Breitling is perpetuating these authentic and privileged ties with aviation by cooperating with the world’s elite pilots. Several exceptional teams fly the firm’s colors, including the famous Breitling Jet Team with its spectacular aerobatics. It is associated with the greatest airshows on the planet, such as the famous Reno Air Races (Nevada/United States) or the Red Bull Air Race, in which its own team competes under its colors. By supporting the restoration of legendary aircraft such as the Breitling Super Constellation, one of the two remaining flightworthy “Super Connies” in the world, the brand with the winged B asserts its determination to preserve the aeronautical legacy – the magnificent adventure with which its own history is so intimately entwined.


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