Family Series: The Navitimer

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Out with the old and in with the new.  The Navitimer, Windrider, Professional, Aeromarine and Breitling for Bentley families will be no more.  Breitling will still be using subsets, but they will be much smaller groups.  I will run those eleven subsets down after I pay tribute to the families that have defined the brand for the last several years.

The first family was the Navitimer series.  The Navitimer chronograph was first launched in 1952 and became an immediate favorite of pilots because of the model’s circular slide rule enabling them to perform all airborne navigation calculations.

The standard Navitimer is one of Breitling’s iconic pieces.  The 41.8mm model uses an ETA-based movement as opposed to the new Navitimer 01, which will be using the in-house 01 movement.  The chronograph was made in a silver, black or blue dial with either Arabic numerals or stick hour markers.

The Navitimer World is a 46.1 GMT chronograph model featuring the date at 3 o’clock.  The second timezone is indicated by the hand with a solid red arrow pointing to the hours listed in military time around the interior of the bezel.  It is available with a silver, black or blue dial and will be the only model from the Navitimer family that will remain a part of the Breitling Navitimer three-watch lineup.

The Navitimer Cosmonaute is a 41.5mm piece that came out during the early days of space exploration.  Since day and night are meaningless in space, the Cosmonaute uses a 24-hour dial display to help avoid any confusion as to whether it is AM or PM.  The model also features a flyback chronograph function allowing successive timing operations without having to stop.  It was available in a black dial, an anthracite dial and a silver dial with black subdials.

The Montbrillant is a 38mm chronograph with the date in between 4 and 5 o’clock.  It was available in a black dial, a black dial with silver subdials, a silver dial and a bronze dial.  The hands and overall design of the watch are inspired by the 1940s, giving the model a cool vintage look.

The Montbrillant Legende is a 47mm model that is one of the few Breitling timepieces only available on an integrated bracelet.  The model features the date a 6 o’clock and was available with a black dial, a silver dial and bronze dial.

The Montbrillant Datora is a 43mm complete calendar chronograph.  The model features the day, date and month in addition to the time.  The model was one of Breitling’s top sellers back in the 1940’s.  The vintage Datora is one of my favorite Breitlings ever made.  The newer Datora was available in a black dial, a black dial with silver subdials, a silver dial, a bronze dial and a bronze dial with silver subdials.

The Chrono-Matic 49 was the forerunner to Breitling’s run of larger-size watches.  The model is 49mm and features a 1960s design with very sharp angular lines on the case.  The watch was made with a black dial, a silver dial and bronze dial, all with contrasting subs.

The Chromo-Matic 1461 features the Breitling Calibier 19 movement that does not have to be reset for 1461 days.  The 49mm model will remain part of the Breitling line, but will be labeled under the Chrono-Matic series and made with a red rubber bezel.  The older Chrono-Matic 1461 was available on an Aero Classic stainless steel bracelet with a black, silver or bronze dial, all with contrasting subdials.

Last but not least there was the Chrono-Matic QP, only manufactured in 18kt red gold.  This beast of a watch features a modern design and a perpetual chronograph movement that takes into account leap years.  The model was limited to 125 pieces worldwide.

So, which Navitimer watch is your favorite?

photos from


18 thoughts on “Family Series: The Navitimer

  1. Always loved the basic look for the Navitimer. As a pilot, I enjoy wearing a Breitling when I fly and when I am on the ground. The Breitling accessories will enhance the nice feeling.

  2. My first ‘Ling was a Navi World. I had a hard time choosing the face, but finalized with the black face and steel bracelet. I really like the whole lineup of Navitimers, however, the rubber bezel on the Chrono-Matics just don’t appeal to me, particularly without a rubber strap.

  3. After saving up a couple of years i have bought the standard navitimer, what a beauty!!!!! I am really in love the look, traded it after a wile for a navitimer world but i really regred it… Once i get the chanche then i will buy a normal navitimer for sure!

  4. I’d go with the Navitimer 1461 that they introduced this year at basel, but since that’s not a choice, I went with the world.

  5. The Montbrilliant Datore has always been the symbol of Breitling to me. The exquisite combination of form, function, math and art.

  6. This entire line is good. But the standard Navitimer is such and iconic watch though. Not sure if it is best with the tick marks or the aerobic numbers.

  7. The Datora. Oh the Datora. Explaining every aspect of this watch to a newbie would take hours…and it wouldn’t matter unless you were airborne.

  8. You left out my favorite Navi – the Montbrillant Olympus. I know they don’t make it any more, but it was my single favorite from the line.

  9. I’m digging the black faced Chrono-Matic 49’s retro look, but the original Navi is sweet too.. The others are just a little “too busy.”

  10. Navitimer world. My favorite. As a pilot the second time zone always lets me know zulu time when filing flight plans. A great step up from the standard Navitimer

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