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Hands-on with the Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Steel

Four modern dial colours are offered in the new Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 watch design. Copper and ice blue displays form the perfect backdrop to the AOPA winged logo that first defined the Navitimer during the 1950s as a true wrist-worthy navigational tool for pioneering aviators.


A newly designed Breitling Navitimer series has landed at Jura Watches, marking one of the Swiss watchmaker’s most significant milestones in its entire history. To boldly reshape and redefine a bonafide icon into a stylish tool for the modern collector without hesitation or inhibition could only be the handiwork of prestigious watchmaker, Breitling. Meet the new Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph watches and the new Navitimer Automatic watches, showcased in a choice of dial colours, straps, bracelets, sizes and case materials. You can check out the entire new range here. The newly designed series brings together all the classic and much-loved elements of the legendary navigational timekeeping tool but is now offered in a vibrant palette of colours to create a bolder-looking instrument for the wrist.



The new series of Breitling Navitimer watches marks the icon’s 70th anniversary and to honour this occasion, Breitling has released three stainless steel Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 watches and one 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 four new stainless steel versions of the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 watches.


The evolution of the Breitling Navitimer


Willy Breitling first forged the concept of the 41mm Navitimer watch back in 1952 when he was approached by the US Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). The US association needed 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. Met with resounding success the Navitimer watch became the official watch for the AOPA 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.



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.


The new Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 stainless steel watches


Presented in stainless steel and measuring in at 43mm, each of the four new Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 watches sits on the wrist at a height of 13.69mm and offer a water-resistant capability of 30 meters. Equipped with a non-screw-locked crown with two gaskets, the case provides ample protection over one of Breitling’s in-house manufactured movements – the B01 Calibre. As such, it comes with a 5-year warranty and beats at 28,800 vibrations per hour, providing a 70-hour power reserve. This reliable engine features a vertical clutch and column wheel, putting its modest, non-superfluous finishing elements on show via a flat sapphire-backed case. When the mainspring is winding down, this power reserve enables the movement to maintain greater accuracy for longer. The mainspring is wound using a bi-directional rotor mounted on ball bearings and the modular movement has featured throughout Breitling’s catalogue ever since it was launched back in 2009, marking the company’s first solid step into independent watch movement manufacture.



Back to the dials of these new Navitimer B01 Chronograph watches. This size comes in a batch of different colourways compared to the steel Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46 watches, which we covered in more detail here. The 43mm versions are offered in a classic black colour with silver-filled chronograph sub-counters, a silver dial with blacked-out sub-dials, an alluring copper coloured dial with black-filled chronograph dials, and a fresh ice blue-coloured dial with black injected sub-counters.


Each dial is characterised by the familiar baton marker hour track, the central hour and minute hands that have been treated with a dose of Super-LumiNova, and the familiar trio of counters arranged in the traditional 3-6-9 layout, offering 30-minute, 12-hour and small second functions respectively. In addition to this, the date window is placed at 6 o’clock, balanced by one notable feature in particular – the return of the AOPA winged logo situated at 12 o’clock. This logo initially adorned those exclusive instruments supplied to the US association back in the early 1950s. Other features include a red-coated 1/4th of a second chronograph hand and the two piston-style push-pieces crafted from stainless steel at 2 and 4 o’clock on the case.


To create the feel of a more compact design, the new Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 watches all feature a newly designed flat slide rule bezel and a domed anti-reflective and scratch-resistant sapphire crystal glass top. The metal elements of the case’s stainless steel construction have been finished with polished and brushed finishes for added depth and detail to the design, whilst the movement’s slimmer oscillating weight, made visible through the back of the case, opens up the view into the performance of the engine.



To promote the release of the newly designed Breitling Navitimer watch collection, a new Navitimer Squad has been formed, comprising basketball superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland, and aviation pioneer and explorer Bertrand Piccard. Relating to Breitling’s sheer courage and its unwavering determination to bring a whole new level of success to these newly-designed Navitimer watches, Misty Copeland extends on what it means to become part of the Navitimer Squad:


“This project means a lot to me because it celebrates not only where I was in life, but where I’d come from and where I am going. There is an absolute parallel between navigating towards a physical destination and navigating towards the vision of where you want to be in life. You’ll see that theme come through in these three stories.”


All four of the new steel Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 watches are fitted on black alligator leather straps with white contrast stitching running down the edges. The leather bands secure to the wrist with a Breitling-stamped folding clasp crafted from stainless steel. Alternatively, each model is also supplied on 7-row stainless steel bracelet option, enclosing with a butterfly clasp. If you’d like more information on any of the four new 43mm Breitling Navitimer watches, you can check them out here, or call and speak to a member of our sales team at Jura Watches on 01335 453453. Alternatively, you can see the entire new Breitling Navitimer watch range here.

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