140 YEARS OF FIRSTS: NAVITIMER 41 AND COSMONAUTE B12

Breitling honors its aviation and space icons with an array of releases: the Navitimer GMT and Automatic 41, and a limited-edition self-winding Cosmonaute. Sports superstars Erling Haaland and Giannis Antetokounmpo headline the Navitimer campaign as Breitling celebrates its 140th anniversary.

As Breitling turns 140, it’s marking the occasion with stories of its many incredible firsts, from breakthroughs in timekeeping for air, land, and sea, to milestones in sustainability. This month, the brand recognizes two of its icons. The Navitimer, the first wristwatch for pilots to combine a chronograph and a computational slide rule. And the Cosmonaute, a 24-hour take on the Navitimer that became the first Swiss wristwatch in space. Breitling has just unveiled new versions of these lines: the Navitimer GMT and Automatic 41, along with a new self-winding Cosmonaute.

“All this year, we’ll be talking about our 140 Years of Firsts,” says Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling. “And when it comes to these two watches—the Navitimer and Cosmonaute—you cannot overstate the significance they’ve had for our brand, for aviation, and for watchmaking as a whole.”

BACK TO BASICS: THE VERSATILE NAVITIMER GMT AND AUTOMATIC 41

Breitling played a key role in the emergence of commercial flight. Its onboard timekeepers became standard equipment, first in propeller planes and later in the jets produced by the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers. When the design of the Breitling Navitimer came out in 1952, it was an instant hit with airline pilots in the then-nascent field of civil aviation.

The Navitimer featured a circular slide rule that allowed pilots to make critical calculations, such as rate of climb and fuel consumption. In those glory days of commercial air travel, the Navitimer was the original wrist-worn onboard computer and ultimately established Breitling as the “Official supplier to world aviation”. 

As civil aviation expanded, so did the Navitimer’s fame, attracting not just pilots but also trendsetters such as Miles Davis and Serge Gainsbourg, becoming a beloved icon in both aviation and pop culture.

Breitling began redesigning the Navitimer line in 2022, starting with the original chronograph. Today, it continues that update with two new pared-down executions: a GMT and a three-hand Automatic, each in a universally wearable 41-mm size.

These pieces distill the Navitimer’s iconic look, omitting the chronograph yet preserving a balanced dial composition. The central placement of the 24-hour scale on the GMT and the Automatic’s clean face ensure the intricate slide rule stands out while streamlining the overall aesthetics.

Further refining the collection, Breitling incorporated a notched bezel for a contemporary touch, and alternating polished and brushed finishes that add a dynamic play of light. Straps in alligator leather and bracelets with a seamless butterfly clasp offer comfort and convenience.

The palette includes black, blue, silver, ice blue, and green dials, encased in stainless steel or 18 k red gold, and a two-tone variant for the Automatic. The full-gold versions carry the Origins label, signifying responsibly mined gold in line with the Swiss Better Gold Association’s environmental and social standards.

This reinvention of the Navitimer, marrying the classic with the contemporary, is tailored for enthusiasts and the style-conscious alike, promising Breitling’s commitment to heritage and innovation in each timepiece.

GROUNDED ELEGANCE: THE SELF-WINDING COSMONAUTE B12

In 1962, Mercury Seven astronaut Scott Carpenter approached Breitling with a unique request: to modify the Navitimer’s design for space exploration. Admiring its computational prowess, Carpenter asked for a 24-hour dial to distinguish day from night in orbit. Breitling met the challenge, and the customized Navitimer, later dubbed the Cosmonaute, accompanied Carpenter on his May 24, 1962, mission to become the first Swiss wristwatch in space.

To mark Breitling’s 140th anniversary, it is releasing a limited edition of the 24-hour timepiece. This time, however, the main modification isn’t for zero-g but for everyday life: a self-winding chronograph movement, the Breitling manufacture caliber B12.

The new release is limited to 250 pieces and only available through Breitling’s online and in-store boutiques. It features an 18 k red-gold case, beautifully complemented by its deep green dial, golden numerals, and black alligator leather strap.

Flip the watch to see the open caseback view of the contrasting oscillating weight capping the B12 movement. The manufacture caliber provides approximately 70 hours of power and comes with a 5-year warranty. A caseback engraving states the One of 250 limitation and reveals the watch’s incredible story: First Swiss Wristwatch in Space/Navitimer Cosmonaute May 24,1962.”

Inspired by astronauts, adapted for life on Earth, the new Cosmonaute limited edition merges storied heritage with modern ease of wear.

PITCH PERFECT: ERLING HAALAND JOINS THE NAVITIMER SQUAD

After 70 years, the Navitimer has gone beyond being a tool used by pilots to navigate their course. It has become a symbol for those plotting their personal journeys through life. 

Breitling celebrates this significance in its “NAVITIMER – FOR THE JOURNEY” campaign series featuring the Navitimer Squad, made up of basketball superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo, American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland, explorer Bertrand Piccard, and Oscar-winning actor and producer Charlize Theron.

Now, a new member joins the squad to star alongside Antetokounmpo in the Navitimer 41 campaign: football idol Erling Haaland.

Haaland, who’s been a Breitling ambassador since 2022, says he’s excited about being the face of the Navitimer in the brand’s anniversary year: “I’m super proud to be representing Breitling’s icon. People are going to be surprised this year when they see how many ‘firsts’ Breitling has under its belt. It’s been a gamechanger in so many ways.”

A monumental year is just getting started. Stay tuned for all the news, launches, and festivities marking Breitling’s 140 Years of Firsts.