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Breitling: Indestructible Watches Since 1884
The Swiss luxury watch manufacturer Breitling is world-renowned for its pilot's watches and chronographs. Top models feature in-house calibers with a split-seconds chronograph, smartwatch capabilities, or a distress beacon.
This page contains information about:
- Robust Watches for Every Occasion
- Prices for Breitling Watches
- The Navitimer: Breitling's Classic
- Prices: Breitling Diving Watches
- The Heritage Collection
- Prices for Transocean Watches
- Chronomat and Avenger II
- The Premier Collection: Since 2018
- Breitling for Bentley Editions
- Models With a Distress Beacon
- Breitling Women's Watches
- The History of Breitling
Robust Watches for Every Occasion
The best way to describe Breitling watches is rock solid, functional, and unmistakable. This renowned Swiss manufacturer is especially famous for its pilot's watches. The company has enjoyed an exceptional reputation in this sector for decades. Its catalog includes the legendary Navitimer, as well as high-tech instruments with quartz movements and special functions. Many Breitling timepieces are designed to meet the demands of modern aviation. You can use them to analyze flight data and send distress signals in case of an emergency.
However, Breitling is no one-trick pony. They also have a reputation for producing excellent diving watches. The Superocean and Avenger collections appeal to fans looking for more technical timepieces, while those who appreciate retro designs will find themselves drawn to the vintage-inspired models in the Superocean Heritage series.
Introduced in early 2018, the Navitimer 8 also features design elements taken from historical Breitling watches. No matter your taste, Breitling truly has something for everyone. Furthermore, most timepieces use mechanical calibers, all of which have come with certification from the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC) since 1999.
Breitling was hard at work in 2019 and 2020, releasing a slate of new models, as well as the brand-new Premier collection. Some of the most interesting additions to existing collections include the Navitimer 806 1959 Re-Edition and the Superocean Heritage 57. Both timepieces pay tribute to major milestones Breitling reached back in the 1950s. The Aviator 8 Mosquito chronograph with the in-house B01 movement and the Top Time Limited Edition with a so-called "Zorro dial" are among the other exciting releases from recent years.
Reasons to Buy a Watch from Breitling
- Distinctive pilot's and diving watches
- In-house caliber B01 with a chronograph function
- Since 1999: all mechanical movements come with chronometer certification
- Top model: Navitimer 1 B03 Chronograph Rattrapante
- High-tech timepieces like the Professional Emergency with a distress beacon
Prices at a Glance: Breitling Watches
|Navitimer Automatic 35, R17395211A1R1||26,000 USD||Women's watch, rose gold case and bracelet|
|Aviator 8 B01 Chronograph 43, RB0119131Q1P1||17,000 USD||Rose gold case, caliber B01|
|Navitimer 806 1959 Re-Edition, AB0910371B1X1||8,500 USD||Remake of the ref. 806 from 1959|
|Breitling Avi Ref. 765 1953 Re-Edition, AB0920131B1X1||7,700 USD||Chronograph, black dial|
|Breitling Top Time, A23310121G1X1||5,100 USD||Zorro-style panda dial, limited run of 2,000 pieces|
|Super Avenger II, A1337111/BC29/168A||4,500 USD||Chronograph, 48 mm in diameter|
|Superocean Heritage 57, A10370121B1A1||4,100 USD||Diving watch, black dial|
|Chronomat, A13050.1||3,900 USD||Chronograph, black dial|
|Superocean Heritage 46, A17320||2,900 USD||Diving watch, black dial|
|Colt, A17388||2,800 USD||Diving watch, black dial|
|Colt Skyracer, X74320E4/BF87||1,900 USD||Diving watch, titanium case|
How much does a Breitling watch cost?
The most affordable Breitling watches belong to the Colt collection, with prices beginning at roughly 1,800 USD for a quartz-powered timepiece. An automatic Colt in stainless steel costs around 2,900 USD. The Heritage collection is the next step up. Models like the Superocean Heritage will set you back about 4,100 USD as a three-hand watch and 5,400 USD as a chronograph. The women's Navitimer Automatic 35 pairs a rose gold case with diamonds and sells for approximately 24,500 USD. Breitling's most iconic model is the Navitimer pilot's watch. Depending on its movement and case material, this timepiece can demand anywhere from 4,800 to 43,000 USD.
The Navitimer is usually the first watch that comes to mind when people think of Breitling. This pilot's watch with a striking black dial made its debut in 1952. Its scales enable pilots to make a number of useful calculations, including speed, flight time, rates of climb and descent, distance, and fuel consumption. Thus, the Navitimer is more than just a watch; it's a specialized aviation slide rule. Today, modern cockpit instruments can also provide this information, but they can't replace the Navitimer's charm.
If you're on the market for a large chronograph, a 46-mm Navitimer may just be the right watch for you. You can purchase the stainless steel edition with the in-house caliber B01 for about 6,700 USD. There's also a 45-mm split-seconds (or "rattrapante") chronograph model with the in-house caliber B03, which requires an investment of around 9,400 USD. The same watch in rose gold requires a larger investment of over 13,500 USD.
Older Navitimer chronographs with third-party calibers are markedly more affordable; their prices start around 4,600 USD pre-owned. The automatic Valjoux caliber 7750 ticks away in many of these models. Fans of vintage watches are sure to enjoy early Navitimers with the reference number 806. Stainless steel editions are especially sought-after and cost between 4,200 and 12,500 USD depending on their condition.
Models with gold-plated cases sit in a simliar price range. The manual Venus caliber 178 powers most ref. 806 pieces. On the other hand, watches with the Valjoux caliber 72 are extremely rare. Breitling only outfitted the Navitimer with this hand-wound movement for a short period of time in the mid-1950s.
If you like the look of the 806 but would prefer something newer, you should consider its remake from spring 2019, the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition. This model remains true to its predecessor's design and uses the manual caliber B09. Limited to a run of 1,959 pieces, you can call one of these 40.9-mm watches your own for about 8,500 USD.
The year 2019 saw the premiere of the first three-hand Navitimer models. Despite their lack of a chronograph function, these watches are clearly recognizable as Navitimers thanks to their beaded bezels. Breitling offers these timepieces with a wide range of material options and dial colors. The 41-mm editions in stainless steel cost around 3,500 USD. Models with 38-mm cases make great unisex watches and demand prices ranging from 3,500 USD for a stainless steel model to 5,100 USD for a gold timepiece. The smaller, 35-mm Navitimer looks especially good on narrower wrists. The top model has a rose gold case and a price tag of over 24,000 USD.
Prices for the Navitimer 8
Breitling announced the release of the Navitimer 8 prior to Baselworld 2018, drawing the attention of the entire industry to the brand and this collection. Although the line bears the name of Breitling's famous pilot's watch, these watches don't look like Navitimers at first glance. This is mostly due to the lack of a slide rule bezel. Instead, the Navitimer 8 has a bidirectional fluted bezel and is best suited for measuring periods of time thanks to its arrow markers.
The series' design is inspired by cockpit instruments from years gone by. Even the "8" in the name has historic origins: It comes from the Huit Aviation department founded by Willy Breitling in 1938. The French word "huit" means "eight."
The "eight" in the department's name originated from the fact that their onboard clocks had eight-day power reserves. Today, the Navitimer 8 has a maximum power reserve of 70 hours.
You can purchase the Navitimer 8 B01 Chronograph 43 for roughly 6,100 USD on Chrono24. The same watch in rose gold sells for about 16,000 USD. Chronographs with the caliber B13, a modified Valjoux 7750, are much more budget-friendly. Their prices begin around 4,600 USD. Three-hand editions with a date display are even more affordable and change hands for as little as 3,400 USD. The Day-Date variant costs only slightly less at 3,300 USD. Finally, the Navitimer 8 B35 Automatic Unitime 43 with a world time function will set you back some 6,400 USD on a leather strap and 6,700 USD on a steel bracelet.
How much do Breitling's diving watches cost?
In addition to numerous pilot's watches, Breitling also offers robust diving watches. For example, the Avenger II Seawolf is water-resistant to 3,000 m (300 bar, 9,843 ft) and is quite massive at 45 mm in diameter and 18.4 mm thick. Plan to spend a solid 3,500 USD for the version on a stainless steel bracelet.
The Superocean II has a more classic feel and is available as a 36, 42, or 44-mm timepiece. The smallest version is water-resistant to 200 m (20 bar, 656 ft) and is geared more toward women. It can be yours for about 3,000 USD. The 42-mm model sells for similar prices. The largest edition is water-resistant to 1,000 m (100 bar, 3,281 ft) and comes in at 3,400 USD.
Diving Watches in the Heritage Collection
Retro watches inspired by the 1950s and 60s have been in high demand for several years. Breitling was among the first brands to pioneer this trend when they introduced the Superocean Heritage. The company continues to produce vintage-inspired timepieces to this day.
As of 2018, new Heritage chronographs measure 44 mm in diameter. You can choose from models with either the Breitling in-house caliber B01 or the Valjoux 7750-based caliber B20. Each watch has a stainless steel case and is available with a wide variety of dial colors and band options. The B01 chronograph with a black dial and white subdials is especially classic and costs around 6,300 USD on a black rubber strap. You can save some 1,200 USD by purchasing the version with the Valjoux 7750 movement.
If you can do without a chronograph function, you may prefer one of the three-hand editions. Breitling introduced these watches in 2018. The caliber B20, a modified Tudor MT5612, sits within the 42, 44, or 46-mm case. Like the chronographs, there are many dial colors and band options to choose from. In addition to stainless steel, Breitling also produces the 44-mm edition in rose gold. You can find the 42-mm version with a black dial and braided Milanese bracelet for about 4,100 USD on Chrono24.
Superocean Heritage 57
Breitling presented the Superocean Heritage 57 in 2020. Its design pays homage to a historical Breitling diving watch from 1957. One of this timepiece's most distinctive features is the circular applied markers behind the line indices at 3, 6, 9, and 12 o'clock. You can also recognize this model by its bezel's lack of a diving scale. A modified Sellita SW300 movement known as the Breitling B10 powers the 42-mm watch. Breitling offers five versions of the Superocean Heritage 57. The basic edition with a black dial, black bezel, and Milanese bracelet costs around 4,100 USD.
Prices for Elegant Transocean Watches
You will find Breitling's most elegant and versatile timepieces in their Transocean collection. Top models have both chronograph and world time functions, making them perfect for frequent travelers. However, there are also classic watches with three hands and day and date displays.
The cases of these dress watches come in stainless steel or 18-karat rose gold. For the band, you can choose between a crocodile leather strap or a Milanese steel bracelet. The caliber 45, which is based on the ETA 2834-2, is the 43-mm Transocean Day-Date's beating heart. You can purchase this timepiece for about 4,300 USD in stainless steel and 14,500 USD in rose gold.
A new Transocean Chronograph with the in-house Breitling caliber 01 demands around 6,300 USD. The 46-mm Transocean Chronograph Unitime with chronograph and world time functions costs roughly 7,900 USD.
Chronomat and Avenger II
The Chronomat and Avenger are some of the most distinctive and masculine Breitling watches out there. Measuring between 44 and 50 mm in diameter and over 17 mm thick, these timepieces are best suited to larger arms in short sleeve shirts. In the movie "Die Hard With a Vengeance," John McClane, played by Bruce Willis, relies on a Chronomat.
If you want to follow in Bruce Willis' footsteps and wear a Chronomat, you will need around 4,900 USD on hand. Models in this price range use the in-house caliber B01. Older versions with the Valjoux 7750 are much less expensive and cost as little as 2,400 USD pre-owned. If you're lucky, you may even find one for under that price.
Famous American tattoo artist Ami James is also known to wear a massive Breitling timepiece, though he prefers the Super Avenger. You will need to spend almost 6,100 USD for this 48-mm watch. There's also the 50-mm Avenger Hurricane, which is constructed of lightweight black Breitlight – a material composed of composite fibers. It is significantly lighter than stainless steel and very scratch-resistant. This timepiece costs about 7,300 USD new.
Breitling released new Chronomat models in 2020, including several timepieces in the B01 42 series. These watches feature bezels with moveable rider tabs that you can use to switch between the count-up and countdown functions. Furthermore, the B01 42 comes on a so-called "Rouleaux" bracelet that resembles window blinds. Both the rider tabs and bracelet date back to an earlier Chronomat model from 1984. As its name implies, the modern watch is 42 mm in diameter and uses the Breitling caliber B01. The basic version in stainless steel sells for roughly 6,900 USD on Chrono24. The variant in 18-karat rose gold sits on the upper end of the price range. Paired with a black rubber strap, it requires an investment of around 17,000 USD.
The Premier Collection: Since 2018
In 2018, Breitling introduced the Premier collection with timepieces based on models the company first produced in the 1940s. The collection contains a range of elegant 42-mm chronographs and 40-mm three-hand watches. You can also choose from cases in stainless steel or rose gold. Breitling equips each chronograph with either the Breitling B01 movement or the caliber 13 (Valjoux 7750). Three-hand models, on the other hand, use either the caliber 37 (ETA 2895-2) or the caliber 45 (Sellita SW260). In typical Breitling fashion, the dials are available in a wide variety of colors.
Prices begin around 3,500 USD for a stainless steel three-hand model with a small seconds. If you prefer rose gold timepieces, be prepared to spend about 12,000 USD. The stainless steel edition with day and date displays costs approximately 3,900 USD.
Stainless steel chronographs with the caliber 13 sell for roughly 5,400 USD. The Premier Chronograph with a rose gold case and the caliber B01 costs around 17,500 USD. A "simple" B01 with a stainless steel case and bracelet changes hands for about 6,700 USD.
The Premier Top Time is the black sheep of this otherwise refined family of watches. It is the descendant of a Breitling from the 1960s. It features a "Zorro"-style panda dial, resulting in a timepiece that's equal parts elegant and sporty. The "Zorro" nickname comes from the two black triangles that frame the subdials at 3 and 9 o'clock. The final result resembles the famous literary character's trademark mask. A modified Valjoux 7753, the caliber 23, sits within the 41-mm case. Prices for this model come in at around 5,200 USD on Chrono24.
Breitling for Bentley Editions
Breitling and British luxury car manufacturer Bentley have been partners since 2003. Together, they regularly release special-edition timepieces in honor of Bentley. Here are a few examples.
Bentley celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019. Breitling marked the occasion with the Premier Bentley Centenary. This 42-mm chronograph gets its power from the Breitling caliber B01 and is available in stainless steel or 18-karat rose gold. The two models are limited to runs of 1,000 and 200 pieces, respectively. Perhaps the most stunning feature is the brown elm burl dial, which feels especially elegant paired with rose gold. Be sure to have at least 8,800 USD for the stainless steel version. The gold edition is much rarer and demands about 24,500 USD.
The Chronomat B01 42 Bentley followed in 2020. It has a green dial and Rouleaux bracelet. Breitling dedicated this timepiece to the two companies' longstanding partnership. The only difference between this model and standard editions are its green dial and the "Bentley" engraving on the sapphire crystal case back. Prices for this watch sit around 7,300 USD.
Later that same year, Breitling announced the Premier Bentley Mulliner Limited Edition. This watch was specifically designed to match the 2020 Bentley Continental GT Mulliner. It has a 42-mm stainless steel case and houses the caliber B01. Since the Bentley is blue, Breitling mounts this timepiece on a blue leather strap. This sporty chronograph is limited to a run of 1,000 pieces and costs approximately 7,900 USD.
Breitling Emergency: Saving Lives With a Distress Beacon
The Emergency pilot's watch from the Professional series has evolved into an industry legend. This watch has been helping save lives since 1995 thanks to its built-in distress beacon. It transmits a signal to the international frequency of 121.5 MHz, which enables search planes to track the wearer's location in calm seas or on flat land from a distance of approximately 170 km (105 mi). The Emergency II, the newest version of the watch available since 2013, can also transmit a distress signal to the 406.04 MHz frequency, which is monitored by satellites.
In addition to the distress beacon, the watch features a timer, second time zone, and an alarm function. However, these functions require a fair amount of energy to operate. Therefore, the Emergency is outfitted with a battery that lasts about two and a half years. Its quartz movement, the Breitling 76, compensates for temperature fluctuations, which can cause inaccuracies. You can also choose to display the time in an analog or digital fashion.
Its titanium case is a massive 51 mm in diameter and 21.6 mm thick. Without its band, the Emergency weighs 144 g. You can purchase the Emergency II on a rubber strap for around 13,500 USD.
Exospace B55: The Rechargeable Bluetooth Smartwatch
The Exospace B55 from the Professional series is a state-of-the-art smartwatch. It can connect to smartphones via Bluetooth and is packed full of functions, including an alarm with up to seven different individual settings, UTC time, a countdown timer, and a chronograph. The quartz movement B55 ticks away inside the case and runs 10 times more precisely than the average quartz movement. A special miniature rechargeable battery powers the Exospace B55. The price for an Exospace B55 sits around 6,000 USD.
Functional Breitling Women's Watches
Breitling also produces timepieces that should appeal to women. For example, there are three stainless steel Superocean models that are only 36 mm in diameter. These diving watches come with your choice of a white, orange, or light blue dial. Each comes on a matching rubber strap. Their power comes from the Breitling caliber 17 based on the ETA 2824-2. Prices for these watches sit around 3,000 USD on Chrono24.
Until the announcement of the Chronograph 1952, no one could have ever predicted that Breitling would offer the iconic Navitimer as a 35-mm women's watch. As of 2019, the company also offers six versions of the Navitimer with three hands. You can choose from stainless steel, rose gold, or a two-tone combination of both materials. These watches get their power from the Breitling caliber 17. Expect to spend around 3,500 USD for a stainless steel model on a leather strap, 7,700 USD for a two-tone watch, and over 25,500 USD for a rose gold timepiece.
The History of Breitling
Breitling is held by many in high regard and spent most of its storied history as an independent company. The manufacturer became part of the British CVC Capital Partners group in 2017. Georges Kern, the former CEO of IWC and former Head of Watchmaking at Richemont, also joined Breitling in 2017 and has been at the helm ever since.
Léon Breitling founded the business in 1884. The Royal Air Force became a customer in 1936. The US Air Force followed suit and ordered Breitling's Chronomat wristwatches when they premiered in 1942. In the early 1960s, the manufacturer developed a version of the Navitimer with a 24-hour clock instead of the traditional 12. Astronaut Scott Carpenter wore this watch during his 1962 space flight in order to tell if it was day or night on Earth.
In 1979, amid the quartz crisis, Willy Breitling sold the company to the pilot and businessman Ernest Schneider. Schneider was able to put the company back on track. The Schneider family owns shares in the company to this day.
Breitling's Aerobatic Team
Breitling's commitment to aviation expresses itself in a myriad of ways. They have their own jet team, the Breitling Jet Team, which is the largest privately-owned aerobatic display team of its kind. The team flies seven Czech Aero L-39 Albatros jets. In addition, they support the Wingwalkers, who perform on the wings of biplanes. Breitling also sponsors the survival of the last flight-capable Lockheed Super Constellation in Europe. This propeller plane with four engines is lovingly nicknamed "Super Connie." These planes formed the backbone of modern long-haul passenger flights during the 1950s. The Breitling Super Constellation L-1049A (HB-RSC) is stationed in Switzerland.