The History Behind Breitling Watches

The name Breitling is practically synonymous with tradition and antiquity. Possibly even more so than any other.

In the field of watchmaking, there has been a lot of debate and competition about which watch brand was the first to produce a particular type of watch. It is difficult to determine who is on the right.

The astronauts who were the first to set foot on the moon brought wristwatches with them. A chronograph was present in the pilot’s seat during the first powered flight. Members of the military have long worn wristwatches in the trenches.

1884: The Year That It All Began

The three realms of land, air, and sea have all been conquered by Breitling. The firm was established in 1882 by its namesake, Léon Breitling. Because of the industrial revolution, the globe was undergoing significant change. Taking on a more contemporary feel. The fields of science, industry, and athletics were all undergoing development. Breitling was concentrating very hard on what was going on.

He was well aware that for these efforts to advance, the timekeeping needed to be as precise as possible.

The artisan yearned to accomplish remarkable milestones in the field of timekeeping innovation. He desired the end product to have an exceptional level of accuracy. Breitling actively sought patents for a wide variety of watch designs, ranging from chronographs to sports watches.

1915: The possibilities are endless

Aviation was Breitling’s principal preoccupation throughout his life. The aircraft that the pilots were flying were significantly more advanced. They required a timekeeper that was simple to operate and allowed them to perform their tasks without needing to use their hands.

The trend at the time was to wear pocket watches, but carrying something on a chain was simply too bulky and difficult.

Breitling provided a remedy to the problem. He asserts that he was the first person to make a wrist-worn chronograph that featured a secondary button in addition to the crown. In comparison to the pocket watch, this was a relatively simple task. On the ground and in the air, people could see the benefits of how simple it was to use.


Breitling was there even as aircraft became more complicated. Breitling made cockpits more effective by contributing to the growth of the wristwatch for pilots as well as the development of navigation instruments for maintaining time.

They began to receive praise for their aeronautical time instruments and the growing recognition that their brand was receiving. The Royal Air Force awarded Breitling a contract to manufacture chronographs. During World War II, these gadgets became well-known for their use in timing dogfights.

Breitling Aerospace’s Defiant Spirit During the 1940s

Willy Breitling eventually became the business owner that his grandfather had forged. During this period, Nazis were present in Switzerland and prevented the export of goods. In particular, anything that could contribute to the war effort included watches and clocks.

Willy possessed the stubbornness of his granddad. Additionally, he was a pioneer. Under the noses of the Nazis, he and a group of friends created a makeshift airplane that was used to transport the cargo that was forbidden to be transported.

Willy Breitling required an alibi for his late errands, so instead of going directly home, he stopped at his neighborhood bar on the way and had a couple of drinks there. People became used to him doing this and began to believe that he had been there for a significantly longer period of time than he actually had. Even though he wound up becoming a little tipsy every once in a while, he was mainly successful in getting the timepieces onto the wrists of the allies.

1949: Will there finally be peace

The majority of people were under the impression that there would be less of a demand for chronographs after peace was restored because there would no longer be a requirement for an air force. Breitling, the pioneer in this field, made adjustments. He brought the company up to speed with the times and satisfied a newly emerging need in the market: sophisticated timepieces.

People desired timepieces that were not just thinner but also more formal so that they could wear them with their fine evening dress.

Breitling shifted their attention to women’s timepieces about this time. Because it was thought that ladies who wore wristwatches lacked sophistication, this sector did not receive a lot of investment during that time period. Imagine! Because he recognized the window of opportunity, Breitling laughed.

Breitling didn’t abandon his roots. By the 1940s, the company had become a giant in Switzerland. They kept up the production of their world-famous chronographs. This model would go on to become their most successful product ever produced.

At the beginning of the Navitimer era, in 1952

The Navitimer is the pilot’s most well-known watch to the general public. It features a knurled bezel and a sliding rule that may be utilized to measure a variety of timings while in flight. It is a clock that has become synonymous with land and key.

In the early 1950s, ordinary people started wearing them on their wrists. Due to the design’s ability to stand out from the crowd, it hasn’t undergone many changes over the course of its existence. A real icon does not require any sort of transformation.

The Navitimer was such a commercial success, and Breitling’s engineering was so dependable that the company’s instruments eventually found their way into the most sophisticated jet aircraft of the day.

1962: The Year of the Navitimer Cosmonaute

At this point in the article, you’d be forgiven for forgetting that we mentioned Breitling conquered land, air, and water. In fact, you’d be forgiven for forgetting almost anything in this post. Breitling even traveled to space. In 1962, Lieutenant Carpenter used his bespoke Breitling Navitimer timepiece to complete three revolutions around our planet.

Breitling had already established itself as a leader in the watch industry with its Superocean collection just a few short years before this.

This watch was designed with both professional and amateur divers in mind when it was constructed. Even in the face of constant pressure from innovation and change, its design has persisted for many years.

2021 and later years

George Kern is the current Chief Executive Officer of the company. Breitling is creating yet another innovative new direction within the premium watch industry. Kern is pushing the boundaries of innovation and taking on new challenges, just like his predecessors did.

He was aware of the demand for more streamlined, lightweight, and polished watches. Similar to the time period following World War II. As a result of the feedback, Kerns has reduced the size of the collection. He has made the designs more appealing to the eye by elegantly simplifying them while still maintaining the classic design characteristics. That’s no easy task.

This can be seen in the Premier line, which pays homage to the history of the brand while also incorporating modern elements. In point of fact, if you take a closer look, you’ll notice that it’s actually a tribute to the history of the company, which dates back to 1943, when the jazz era highly inspired Europe, and everything was stylish and elegant.

If you are searching for a premium traditional timepiece with a long and illustrious history as well as perfect craftsmanship, purchasing a Breitling will be an investment that will more than pay for itself.

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