What Makes the Replica Breitling Navitimer Such a Cool Piece?

The Breitling Navitimer

Considered by many to be the quintessential mechanical pilot’s replica watch, the Navitimer made its debut in 1952. The name comes from combining the words “navigation” and “timer.” Not especially clever perhaps, but memorable nonetheless. It was an evolution of the Chronomat, which Breitling had brought out a decade earlier. Breitling wanted to build on the usefulness of the slide rule bezel introduced in the Chronomat.

At 40.9mm – including the beaded bezel – the Breitling Replica steel case is the same size as the original, which must have been considered positively huge for its day. Even the bezel itself has exactly the same number of beads – 94 – as the 1959 version.

Hours and minutes are shown centrally, along with chronograph seconds. Stopped minutes and hours are tracked on the sub-dials at 3 and 6 o’clock respectively, with running seconds shown at 9 o’clock. There’s no date display. Just below 12 o’clock is a Breitling inscription in capital letters and an unsigned winged logo.

Inside is the new Replica Breitling Manufacture Calibre B09, a manual-wound movement developed specifically for this watch – but still based on the B01 architecture. Certified as a chronometer by the COSC, it features a column-wheel chronograph with vertical clutch, offering 1/4th of a second precision.