Are you prepared for a Breitling Navitimer Chronograph without a slide rule? We were not, honestly, but then we keep an open mind.
Breitling is a historic brand at a crossroads: they have transited from the previous ownership and management to a new one and the collections are being restructured. As mentioned in the news section, their collections will have fewer references, less complexity and better size moderation. The cheaper quartz chronographs will be gone; the Valjoux-powered chronographs will maintain an average price of CHF 5,500 while the in-house chronographs will be priced averagely around CHF 7,500.
At time of relaunch (if you want to call it that), Breitling has proposed a new collection called Navitimer 8. It is important to note first of all that it does not replace the Navitimer 01 we are familiar with. In fact, it is a new market option without the characteristic slide rule, and slightly lower pricing. The Navitimer 8 should be ideal for those customers who found the Navitimer look of the past few decades too busy or unnecessary.
But why number eight? Is it supposed to be a reference to the Chinese lucky number? Apparently, no. Georges Kern emphasised during a Q&A session here in Singapore that Navitimer 8 is a global product, not a Chinese line or an Asian line. The number eight should be traced back to 1938 when Willy Breitling established the Huit Aviation Department to produce cockpit clocks with 8-day power reserve, where “huit” is the French word for “eight”. And the current Breitling team has used fundamental design elements from Breitling’s cockpit clocks of the 1940s to realise the Navitimer 8 collection of 2018.
The Navitimer 8 B01 flies at the top of this squadron. The 43 mm watch is offered with black or blue dial in the stainless steel case or the bronze dial in the red gold case. For all Navitimer 8 B01 models, the subdials are executed in a contrasting tone with the dial to denote the use of an in-house movement which in this case is the B01 with 70-hour power reserve. Elsewhere beneath the convex sapphire crystal with double anti-reflective coating, the inspiration from the aforementioned 1940s cockpit clocks shines: the most notable of which are the typeface of the Arabic numerals and the railway minute track with small triangular markers for every five minutes. The notched bezel turns bidirectionally and features an arrow mark as well for practical purposes.
Other products introduced at the same time as the collection launch are the Navitimer 8 Chronograph with Valjoux movement, the Navitimer 8 Automatic with date at six o’clock, Navitimer 8 Day & Date with an additional day window at 12 o’clock, and, the Navitimer 8 Unitime with manufacture world time movement.