5 things you should know about Breitling
The wings that proudly flank the Breitling logo embody their longstanding relationship with aviation, but there’s plenty more to this fine Swiss watchmaker besides a penchant for magnificent flying machines.
1. BREITLING WATCHES HAVE BEEN TO INFINITY & BEYOND
In 1952, Breitling released the Navitimer – a chronograph that was way beyond its years in its ability to handle all calculations required for a flight plan. The pilot’s best friend became the astronaut’s best friend in 1962, when a ground-breaking 24-hour dial was added to help the spacemen distinguish between night and day. Astronaut Scott Carpenter wore the ‘Cosmonaute Navitimer’ aboard the Aurora 7 space capsule.
2. BREITLING WATCHES SAVE LIVES
The appropriately named Breitling Emergency is capable of transmitting a distress frequency that can be picked up for 90 nautical miles. Although a little unnecessary if you get lost in Milton Keynes town centre, this proved to be a life saver for two British pilots who crashed a helicopter in Antarctica in 2003. They activated their watches from their lifeboat and were picked up by a rescue helicopter shortly after.
Bear Grylls can often be seen wearing an Breitling Emergency in his TV programmes.
3. BREITLING INVENTED THE CHRONOGRAPH WATCH
The chronograph may have been dreamt up in the late 19th century, but Breitling was the very first to put it on the wrist. After sealing its fate as the pilot’s favourite brand with the invention in 1915, Breitling improved the formula in 1934 by coming up with the return-to-zero pushpiece (that’s the button that resets your chrono to zero). In 1985, it changed the game once again with the Breitling Aerospace, a digital chronograph.
It’s no wonder that the Royal Air Force have relied on Breitlings since the thirties.
4. BREITLING BREAKS WORLD RECORDS
Breitling has a reputation for backing those who go to the extremes of sport and adventure. In 1999, the Breitling Orbiter famously pipped Sir Richard Branson’s team to the post by becoming the first hot air balloon to circumnavigate the globe. And earlier this year, Breitling supported former rally driver Juha Kankkunen as he broke the world speed record on ice, somehow pushing a Bentley Continental Supersports to 205.48mph on the plains of Northern Finland.
5. BREITLING IS THE CHOICE OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS!
Breitlings are big in Tinseltown: Leonardo DiCaprio, Bruce Willis, John Travolta, Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise are but a few of Hollywood’s elite who own one (and the latter two both have the aforementioned Emergency model). Other famous owners include Sir Alan Sugar, Jeremy Clarkson and jazz legend Herbie Hancock…to name a few!
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