BREITLING- INSTRUMENTS FOR PROFESSIONALS
Breitling, the traditional brand of luxury timepieces for professionals, was born in Switzerland in 1884. History takes us to Leon Breitling. Aged 24, Leon created a small workshop where he manufactured very high precision chronograph watches for scientific and industrial use.
His strategy, based on the production of watches with high technical quality, proved to be effective from the very beginning, and the manufacture was forced to expand and transfer to the epicentre of Swiss watchmaking industry, the town of La Chaux-de-Fonds, in 1892. At the same time, a new brand comes alive: G. Léon Breitling S.A. Montbrillant Watch Factory.
During the First World War, Gaston Breitling, son of Léon, takes over the company after his father’s death. Taking advantage of the world’s increasing curiosity for the brand, Gaston Breitling creates his first chronograph with a strap, centred handles and 30 minute counter, supplying thousands of fighting pilots with their first aviation instrument to be worn on their wrist.
In 1923, the brand creates the first chronograph with push buttons, different from the previous pieces that used the crown for that purpose.
In the 1930’s, with the death of Gaston Breitling, it’s time for Willy, his son, to take his place. Years later, Breitling introduces another innovation to the world: a chronograph with a second restart button, which allowed for the measurement of successive and short intervals of time. When aviation reaches the height of its popularity, in 1935, Breitling becomes the official supplier for Royal Air Force and, some years later, the brand creates the “Chronomat” model, the first chronograph with a logarithmic slide rule. In that same year, the company enters a partnership with the US Army.
During the 1950’s, Breitling creates the “Navitimer” model, a wristwatch with the capacity to make all calculations necessary to air navigation. Years later, the brand would supply the cockpit indicators in all major airlines.
In 1962 a new model is born, the “Cosmonaute” chronograph, a watch with a 24-hour display (instead of 12-hour). Scott Carpenter inaugurates the model during his space journey on the Aurora 7 Capsule.
In 1969, the supersonic Franco-British Concorde takes off for the first time, carrying a chronograph with an automatic movement developed by a partnership between Breitling, Büren and Heuer-Leonidas – another contribution for the advancement of the Swiss watchmaking industry.
In 1979, Willy Breitling sells the company to Ernest Schneider, a pilot and watchmaker, and also an expert in microelectronics. Some years later, celebrating a partnership with the Italian Air Force, Breitling creates the mechanical chronograph “Chronomat”. Thanks to its majestic case and logarithmic slide rule, the model becomes one of the most popular in the brand. In 1985, Breitling creates another new model, the “Aerospace”, in titanium with a multifunctional electronic chronograph.
One decade later, the brand innovates once again with the “Emergency”, a multifunctional watch, equipped with a distress signal function, working on the aviation emergency frequency at 121,5 MHz. Some years later, in 1998, the B-1 model is launched, a multifunctional chronograph with an inlaid microprocessor, the most complete model the brand had produced so far. Three years later, the “Superquartz” model is introduced, with a quartz movement that allowed for 10 times the speed of movement, when compared to other quartz watches.
Breitling is now a revered brand, and is the only one whose electronic products comply with the demands of the “Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres”.
Between 2001 and 2003, the brand becomes the official sponsor for the Bentley Team in the 24 Hours of Le Mans circuit, inaugurating for that purpose the limited edition “Bentley 24 Le Mans”.
The year of 2009 was marked by the celebration of the brand’s 125th anniversary. Breitling honoured it with the “Caliber 01”, revolutionizing the movement tradition with a timepiece holding an automatic movement chronograph.