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The Breitling Navitimer is one of the most famous pilot's watches of all time. A functional slide rule bezel is its most striking feature. Top models are made of 18-karat gold and are powered by an in-house caliber with a split-seconds chronograph.
Breitling's Flagship Model and Greatest Success
The Breitling Navitimer is by far the company's most successful model. First introduced in 1952, it is still considered an icon among pilot's watches. The memorable name of this chronograph is a combination of the words "navigation" and "timer" and reveals its purpose: Thanks to its slide rule bezel, this watch can make the same mathematical calculations as an on-board computer. Its functionality goes far beyond that of a typical chronograph. Pilots can use this watch to determine speed, fuel consumption, and climb and descent rates, among other calculations.
Breitling has been outfitting the Navitimer with their independently developed B01 caliber since 2009. Current top models also feature a split-seconds (rattrapante) chronograph function. The redesigned Navitimer collection, the Navitimer 8, forgoes the characteristic slide rule bezel, giving this line a tidier and more elegant feel. Breitling offers this model as a chronograph, world time watch, or three-hand timepiece.
A new line of interesting models debuted in 2019. Known as the Navitimer 806, these timepieces are faithful re-creations of the original Navitimer from 1959. Like their predecessor, they feature a 41-mm stainless steel case. That same year, Breitling also announced the first three-hand Navitimer with a slide rule bezel. The manufacturer offers these watches in a variety of material combinations. With case sizes ranging from 35 to 41 mm, there are options for men and women alike.
Collectors of limited editions should take a closer look at the Navitimer 01 Blue Sky and the Airlines Edition. While the Blue Sky premiered in 2012 in honor of the pilot's watch's 60th anniversary, the three versions of the Airlines Edition from 2019 pay homage to three airlines from the golden age of aviation: Pan Am, TWA, and Swissair.
Reasons to Buy a Breitling Navitimer
- One of the world's most famous pilot's watches
- Functional chronograph with a slide rule bezel
- Since 2009: in-house caliber B01 with a 70-hour power reserve
- Tremendous name recognition
- Top models with split-seconds (rattrapante) chronographs
|Model||Price (approx.)||Diameter, caliber|
|Navitimer B03 Chronograph Rattrapante||8,700 USD||45 mm, B03|
|Navitimer 806||8,700 USD||41 mm, B09|
|Vintage Navitimer 806||7,900 USD||41 mm, Venus 178|
|Navitimer B01 Chronograph||7,200 USD||43 mm, B01|
|Navitimer AOPA||6,600 USD||42 mm, B01|
|Navitimer 8 B01 Chronograph||6,300 USD||43 mm, B01|
|Navitimer Blue Sky||6,200 USD||43 mm, B01|
|Navitimer 1461||6,200 USD||46 mm, Breitling 19|
|Old Navitimer Chronograph||5,200 USD||41 mm, Breitling 13|
|Navitimer 41 Automatic||3,700 USD||41 mm, Breitling 13|
The Navitimer is available in a wide range of materials and designs, and its price range is equally vast. Popular models like the current Breitling Navitimer B01 with an in-house caliber and a 43-mm stainless steel case cost around 6,300 USD in mint condition. The 46-mm edition sells for about 19,000 USD in 18-karat rose gold and 6,800 USD in stainless steel,
The so-called "Old Navitimer" gets its power from the chronograph caliber Breitling 13. This movement is based on the Valjoux 7750 and still appears in Navitimer models to this day. These watches are much more affordable than the B01 versions: You can purchase a pre-owned watch for roughly 4,100 USD. Never-worn stainless steel pieces demand about 5,200 USD.
You can get the 45-mm Breitling Navitimer B03 Rattrapante from 2017 in stainless steel for around 8,800 USD. This watch boasts an in-house split-seconds chronograph movement. In 2020, Breitling presented a version with an anthracite dial. This model is otherwise identical to other B03 Rattrapante timepieces and changes hands for roughly 24,500 USD on Chrono24. The rose gold version had a limited run of 250 pieces and costs over 33,000 USD. Another limited edition, the Blue Sky, had a 500-piece run and is extremely difficult to find. This model requires an investment of around 7,900 USD.
The Navitimer AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) from 2015 is just as rare. This luxury watch features the AOPA logo on both the dial and case back, a detail commonly found on early models from the 1950s. You can call this timepiece your own for about 6,600 USD.
Fans of vintage watches will find early Navitimer models from the 1950s particularly exciting. These timepieces bear the reference number 806. Most are outfitted with the manually-wound Venus 178 caliber, though some individual pieces get their power from the manual Valjoux 72. Depending on its condition, prices for a Navitimer ref. 806 range from 4,200 to 15,000 USD. Gold-plated models are less sought-after but similarly priced.
Prices for a Navitimer 806 Re-Edition
If you like the look of the vintage 806 but would prefer something better suited to daily wear, its remake may just be the right watch for you. Known as the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition, Breitling introduced this model in 2019. Aesthetically, the two watches are nearly identical. Both have a black dial with white second, 30-minute, and 12-hour chronograph counters. Their dials also feature all-caps inscriptions and the unsigned winged AOPA logo. The Re-Edition has artificially aged SuperLuminova on its indices, enabling you to tell the time in the dark. Like the original, the new model uses acrylic glass for the crystal. The modern timepiece has an improved water resistance of 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft).
The COSC-certified Breitling caliber B09 ticks away inside the case. This in-house manual movement is based on the B01. At 40.9 mm in diameter, the current Navitimer 806 is the exact same size as its iconic predecessor. This watch is limited to a run of 1,959 pieces and demands prices of around 8,500 USD.
The Navitimer 1884 is yet another limited edition. Its name refers to the year Breitling was founded. This model saw the addition of a central pointer date and a day and month display to the already highly functional Navitimer. Breitling fans refer to this combination as "Datora." Be prepared to spend around 7,900 USD for this timepiece. If you'd prefer a watch with an annual calendar, you should take a closer look at the Navitimer 1461. Measuring in at 46 mm, this is one of the larger Navitimer models. You can buy a pre-owned edition for the relatively affordable price of 5,200 USD.
Breitling presented the first three-hand Navitimer models in 2019. Despite their lack of a chronograph function, there's no mistaking these watches for anything other than Navitimers thanks to their prominent beaded slide rule bezels. Design options include a wide range of materials and dial colors. You can also choose from three case sizes: 35, 38, and 41 mm. Each watch gets its power from the Breitling caliber B17. This movement is based on the time-tested ETA 2824-2 and has a 38-hour power reserve. No matter which model you choose, it will come with sapphire crystal and be water-resistant to 30 m (3 bar, 98 ft).
Stainless steel watches on leather straps serve as the entry point into the collection and are available in all three sizes. Expect to spend between 3,400 and 3,700 USD on one of these timepieces, regardless of its size and dial color. The same watches on stainless steel bracelets demand an additional 490 USD.
Two-tone editions feature a rose gold beaded bezel. While 38 and 41-mm watches come exclusively on leather straps, the 35-mm edition is only available on a two-tone bracelet in gold and stainless steel. Timepieces from the latter group sell for about 7,600 USD. Prices for versions on leather straps are more affordable and begin around 4,900 USD for a 38-mm watch and 5,200 USD for a 41-mm model.
The series' top model is a 35-mm timepiece with an 18-karat rose gold case and bracelet. It also features a mother-of-pearl dial with twelve applied diamond indices. You can find this timepiece on Chrono24 for about 25,000 USD. Breitling lists the same watch for 29,800 USD.
The number "8" in the Navitimer 8's name comes from the Huit Aviation department founded in 1938. Its on-board clocks had eight-day power reserves. The French word "huit" means "eight" in English.
Breitling introduced the Navitimer 8 in 2018. Upon first glance, its design has very little in common with that of the classic Navitimer. Despite the lack of a slide rule bezel in this collection, every model can measure periods of time. This is done using the bidirectional bezel with triangular markers. The collection's entry-level model is a three-hand watch with a date display and goes for around 3,300 USD. At 3,500 USD, the Day-Date version is only slightly more expensive.
If you're looking for a chronograph function in addition to the day-date display, the Navitimer 8 Chronograph 43 with the caliber 13 (Valjoux 7750) may be the right watch for you. Prices for this sports watch start at 4,600 USD. For about 1,600 USD more, you can get the version with the in-house caliber B01. Both models are available in a number of materials and dial colors.
Those on the market for a chronograph with a world time function should consider the Navitimer 8 B35 Automatic Unitime. This stainless steel watch comes with your choice of a black or silver dial and costs around 6,700 USD.
Breitling's automatic chronographs powered by the caliber 11 are also worth looking at. Next to the Zenith El Primero, this movement was one of the first automatic chronograph calibers. In the 1960s, Breitling, Heuer-Leonidas, Dubois Dépraz, and Büren collaborated to develop the caliber 11. You can recognize this movement by its left-sided crown. With any luck, you might find a model from the 1970s for as little as 3,000 USD. However, limited editions and those made of gold can cost more than 12,000 USD.
In Space With Scott Carpenter
Ten years after its premiere, the Navitimer caused a sensation when it became the first chronograph to enter space on the wrist of an astronaut. Scott Carpenter wore the watch on board the Aurora 7 spacecraft in May 1962. A special feature was its 24-hour scale, which allowed Carpenter to determine whether it was day or night back on Earth.
Breitling has released multiple limited editions of the Navitimer Cosmonaute over the last few decades. One such model debuted in 2012 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Navitimer's journey into space. Fittingly, it had a limited run of only 1,962 pieces. The manually-wound caliber 02 ticks away inside this watch. Like Carpenter's model, this remake also has a 24-hour scale. The case back features an engraving of the Mercury-Atlas 7 mission's logo, as well as a scale to convert between Celsius and Fahrenheit. Prices for this timepiece sit around 7,300 USD.
Calculations Using the Rotatable Bezel
Above all, the Navitimer's distinct look comes down to the numerous numbers and lines on its dial. You can operate the outer scale by turning the bezel, while the inner scale is stationary. Turning the outer scale against the inner transforms the watch into a round slide rule, enabling you to make a number of calculations necessary for flying.
Using the Navitimer, you can convert land and nautical miles to kilometers. It's also possible to calculate miles or kilometers per hour, as well as rates of climb and descent. If you know your speed and the time, the Navitimer can help you determine how far you've traveled. You can also calculate your fuel consumption. Breitling has a user guide available with illustrated examples on their website.