Hands-on with the Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 Watches
Friday - 01 April 2022
The original AOPA winged logo has returned on the face of Breitling’s most iconic pilot’s chronograph watch – a nod to some of the brand’s earlier Navitimer watches from the 1950s. In addition to a stunning palette of colours, these mint green, deep blue and sophisticated silver Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 watches in steel feature a reworked slide rule bezel and domed sapphire crystal glass front to create the illusion of a more compact size.
Breitling’s legendary flagship chronograph, the Navitimer turns 70. To celebrate this milestone, Jura Watches will be stocking all variations of the new Navitimer B01 Chronograph and Navitimer Automatic watches, which now come in an array of bold new colours. Three of these new colourways come in the form of the stainless steel Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41. Feast your eyes upon these new deep blue, silver and mint green navigational tools, geared for the wrists of men with both impeccable taste and a love for aviation instruments alike.
Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling extends on the significance of the new line in time for the Navitimer’s 70th anniversary: “The Navitimer is one of the most recognizable watches ever made. It’s on collectors’ lists of the greatest watches of all time. What began as a tool for pilots has gone on to mean something profound to every single person who has had this timepiece along on their personal journey.”
The evolution of the Breitling Navitimer
It was in 1952 that the story of Breitling’s famous wrist-worn navigational tool began. Approached by the US Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Willy Breitling forged a 41mm tool from an initial concept – an instrument that could tell the time, wear comfortably on the wrist and assist with all kinds of air-bound calculations like measuring fuel consumption, distance travelled, decent and climb rate, average speed and the conversion of miles to nautical miles or kilometres. Its name? The Navitimer. It was met by the AOPA with resounding success and featured a beautiful beaded bezel for easy-grip purposes, a spacious, legible dial treated with radium, and large Arabic numerals. Willy Breitling had designed the concept of the slide rule bezel by adopting the logarithmic slide rule of the earlier Chronomat watch.
Today, in time for Breitling’s release of a newly designed Navitimer watch, it has become easier than ever to see just how the Breitling Navitimer has evolved. From the early 41mm model produced exclusively for the AOPA, with the US company’s logo stamped to its dial, to the first official reference – the 806, bearing the famous watch manufacturer’s stylized wings and name across its surface – the Navitimer is arguably one of the most iconic pilots watches of all time. Initially, the only way to tell the earlier Breitling Navitimer watches apart from younger models was by counting the beads on the bezel, which varied from around 125 dots during the early 1950s to as little as 93 in those models produced a decade later.
From the 1950s onwards, the Breitling Navitimer became a mainstay in the cockpit of every transatlantic flight and the collection itself has become a pillar to Breitling’s success, buoyed by values of endurance, reliability, accuracy and robustness. After a decade of success, the 1960s saw the introduction of silver-filled chronograph counters in the design of the “Twin Jet” Navitimer, taking cues from the Superocean watch released just a few years earlier. The bezel also transformed from a beaded effect to a serrated effect and was sported on the wrist of famous Jazz musicians and Formula 1 champions. Continuing throughout the 1960s, mechanical Navitimer watches were converted into models powered by a new automatic movement. The manufacturer found innovative and ambitious ways to overcome the desire for a more affordable watch during an era where quartz movements became the order of the day. The Breitling Chrono-Matic was therefore launched offering both an automatic movement and a chronograph complication in one.
During the end of the 1960s the Navitimer watch also grew in size, now measuring a hefty 48mm, counterbalanced by shorter lugs that donated the sense of an overall more compact watch. Both automatic and hand-wound versions of this model were created, whilst the former and more classic-looking 41mm model was given a date window and was also offered in both automatic and hand-wound iterations.
Without a doubt, one of the most iconic designs from the Navitimer watch range was the 2019 release of the Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition. Now just three years later, we as official UK stockists of genuine Breitling watches here at Jura Watches are celebrating 70 years of the successful Navitimer. To honour this legendary instrument Breitling has released three stainless steel Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 watches and 1 x 18ct rose gold version, four stainless steel Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 watches and a matching 18ct rose gold version, three dial colours for the new stainless steel Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 models and a rose gold version, a special deep green-coloured dial version of the steel Navitimer Automatic 41 watch with an engraved caseback, and lastly, a lady’s steel Navitimer Automatic 35 model with a mint green dial and engraved caseback. In this article, we’re taking a look at the three new stainless steel versions of the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 watches.
The new Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 steel watches
For those with slenderer wrists, the Navitimer comes in its smallest men’s size of 41mm, as well as a steel three-hander that you can check out in more detail here. These new stainless steel Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 watches boast a mix of polished and brushed finishes across their cases, as well as a domed anti-reflective and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass front that not only provides a clear view into the dial, but works in collaboration with a new flat slide rule bezel to create the impression of a more compact case.
As aforementioned, the AOPA logo has returned to the dial of these new Navitimer watches, harking back to some of the brand’s earliest vintage models. Aside from this, most other elements of the Navitimer watch’s DNA remain intact. The legible dial features baton hour markers and a set of central hands that have been treated with a layer of Super-LumiNova material to assist with timekeeping in dark conditions or during the night, and the chronograph counters are laid out in the usual 3, 6 and 9 o’clock locations. A red-coated central chronograph 1/4th of a second hand adds a dynamic pop of colour to these three dials. They comprise a deep blue dial with blacked-out chronograph sub-counters, a silver tone-on-tone chronograph dial, and a fresh mint green display with silver-filled chronograph sub-counters. Matching red elements can be seen in the slide rule bezel scale, whilst an unimposing date window resides at 6 o’clock.
Inside the heart of each of these new 30-meter water-resistant steel Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 watches is the COSC-certified and in-house manufactured Breitling Calibre B01. It provides a 70-hour power reserve and beats to the rhythm of 28,800 semi-oscillations per hour. It also comprises a column wheel and a vertical clutch, whilst its impressive power reserve enables the movement to retain accuracy for longer as the mainspring is winding down. The clever arrangement of this Calibre B01 movement and its resized, slimmer oscillating weight can be admired through the back of the watch’s case, equipped with a flat piece of sapphire crystal glass.
The new Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 41 watches in stainless steel with stunning mint green, deep blue and lustrous silver dials can be explored in more detail here, or you can call and speak to a member of our sales team here at Jura Watches to secure your order today. Both the mint green and silver models come on a light brown alligator leather strap with white contrast stitching, whilst the deep blue model is fitted on a classic black alligator leather strap with mirroring contrast stitching. The bands secure with a stainless steel folding clasp. Alternatively, each model can be purchased on a 7-row stainless steel bracelet with a Breitling-stamped butterfly clasp.