A History of Breitling Watches
1884 - In St. Imier, in the Jura mountains of Switzerland, Leon Breitling opens a workshop specialising in making chronographs and precision counters for scientific and industrial purposes. In 1914 Leon Breitling dies and the company is passed over to his son Gaston, a year later Gaston creates the first wristwatch chronograph and subsequently provides pilots with the first wrist instruments. By 1923 Breitling had developed the first ever independent chronograph pushpiece.
Gastons son, Willy Breitling takes over control of the company in 1932 and in 1936 Breitling becomes the official supplier to the Royal Air Force. The Chronomat is introduced in 1942 - the first chronograph to be fitted with a circular slide rule. The company also widens its professional clientele to include the American armed forces. 1954 saw the creation of the Navitimer, a wrist instrument equipped with the famous navigation computer. This super chronograph becomes a firm favoutite among the pilots across the globe. By this stage, Breitling is already supplying the major international airlines with cockpit clocks. In 1962, Astronaut Scott Carpenter wears the Cosmonaught chronograph during his orbital fligh aboard the Aurora 7 space capsule.
1969 saw Breitling introduce the first ever self winding chronograph. This technical feat represents a major breakthrough for the entire swiss watch industry. 1979 saw the takeover of Breitling from the founders grandson Willy. Ernest Schneider takes the helm. in 1984 The Chronomat is launched and marks the return of the chronograph. It becomes the best selling line in the Breitling collection, a position it has held ever since. Soon afterwards in 1985, the Breitling Aerospace is launched.
Today, Breitling is still established in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the town where Leon Breitling opened his first chronograph factory 110 years earlier.
1884: In St-Imier, in the Jura mountains of Switzerland, Leon Breitling opens a workshop specializing in the making chronograph pocket watches and precision counters for scientific and industrial purposes.
1892: Leon Breitling relocates in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the center of Swiss watchmaking of the day.
1914: Leon Breitling dies. His son Gaston Breitling takes over the company.
1915: During WWI, Recognizing rapid advancements in aviation and the need for a precision timepiece for that purpose, Gaston introduces the first wrist-watch chronograph providing pilots with the first Breitling wristwatch.
1923: Breitling develops the first independant chronograph pushpiece. Start and return-to-zero functions had previously been controlled using the winding-crown.
1932: Gaston's son, Willy Breitling, takes over for his father as the head of the company.
1934: Breitling develops a watch with a second return-to-zero pushpiece. This invention, made it possible to measure several successive short times with an added function using the first pushpiece, and gives the wrist chronograph its difinitive form.
1936: Breitling becomes the official supplier to the Royal Air Force. This difinatively marks the start of its longstanding ties to aviation.
1942: Breitling launches the Chronomat, the first chronograph to be fitted with a circular slide rule. In parallel, the company broadens its professional clientele to include the American armed forces.
1952: Breitling creates the Navitimer, a wrist instrument equipped with the famous "navigation computer" capable of handling all calculations called for by a flight plan. This "super" chronograph quickly becomes a favorite among pilots around the world.
1962: Astronaut Scott Carpenter wears the Cosmonaute chronograph during his orbital flight aboard the Aurora 7 space capsule.
1969: Breitling introduces the self-winding chronograph. This technical feat represents a major breakthrough for the entire Swiss watch industry.
1979: Ernest Schneider - a pilot and watch manufacturer takes over as the head of Breitling.
Present: The company continues to produce timepieces of the highest quality in the world.
1952 - Navitimer launched. Models in the range include Navitimer 50th Anniversary, Navitimer Heritage, Navitimer Brietling Fighters, Navitimer Olympus, Cosmonaute, Montbrillant and Montbrillant Datora.
Windrider - Models in the range include Chronomat, Chronomat Lontitude, Wings Automatic, Crosswind, Crosswind Racing, Crosswind Special, Headwind, Callisto, Callistino, Blackbird and B-Class.
Professional - Models in the range include Emergency, Emergency Mission, Aerospace, B-1, B-2 and Hercules.
Aeromarine - Models in the range include Chrono Avenger, Chrono Avenger Rattrapante, Chrono Avenger Sixty Nine, Chrono Avenger M1, Avenger Seawolf, Superocean, Chrono Colt Quartz, Colt Automatic, Colt Quartz and Colt Oceane.
Recently Breitling has formed a unique parnership with Bentley and have introduced a range of exclusive chronographs. Models introduced are the Breitling Bentley 6.75, Breitling Bentley GT, Bentley Motors Chronograph and the Breitling Bentley LeMans.