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From humble family beginnings Breitling grew into a major player in the world of chronographs and aviation instruments. At the dawn of a new era, the brand is poised for a legendary future.


Breitling traces its origins back to 1884, when Léon Breitling started manufacturing timepieces and measuring instruments at his workshop in St. Imier, in the canton of Bern, Switzerland. Within a decade, the company had shifted its manufacturing to La Chaux-de-Fonds and had sold more than 100,000 chronographs by the end of the century.

Three generations of the Breitling family helped to keep the company's watches abreast of technological developments, filing patents for eight-day power reserve movements (for cockpit and dashboard clocks), tachymeter scales (for measuring speed) and a slide rule facilitating all kind of calculations during flights. Later in the 1990s Breitling even introduced an emergency transmitter incorporated in a watch.

Willy Breitling in particular showed astonishing foresight when he set up the "Huit Aviation Department" in 1938. Named after the French number eight, which came from the brand's pioneering eight-day power reserve dashboard clocks and on-board instruments, this department would go on to create the chronographs that caught the eye of the Royal Air Force, which ordered them for the fighter planes that played such an important role in the Second World War.

The 1940s also saw the invention of the Chronomat, with its patented rotating slide rule for scientists. The same idea was modified specifically for aviation use in the legendary Navitimer model, which was launched in 1952. Like many other Swiss watch brands in the 1950s, Breitling turned to production of divers’ watches with the Superocean as men started to explore the ocean's depths. And when transatlantic flights became possible, Breitling introduced the Transocean models. Both product lines remain part of the collection to this day.

Léon Breitling lays the foundations for the brand.
Léon Breitling passes away and his son Gaston takes over the brand.
Willy Breitling, Gaston’s son, assumes the management of the family business and introduces an era of essential inventions and innovations, laying the groundwork for the brand’s strong association with aviation.
Breitling introduces the Navitimer.
Breitling re-launches the famous Chronomat which triggered the renaissance of the mechanical chronograph. This was under the era of Ernest Schneider who purchased the company from the founder family in 1979.

Breitling's history is inextricably linked with the chronograph. First developed for use in industrial, military and scientific applications, chronographs were later adapted to the wrist and found their way into aeroplane cockpits once Breitling had developed an eight-day power reserve movement. The brand has been associated with the world of aviation ever since and it is known for developing instruments for professionals, two of the most famous examples being the Navitimer, with a patented slide rule, and the Emergency with an integrated emergency transmitter. Under the stewardship of Georges Kern the brand will continue its tradition of innovation in the watch industry.



Arguably, one of Breitling's most iconic models, the Navitimer is unmistakable thanks to its patented rotating slide rule bezel and the graduations on the dial. This stainless steel chronograph has withstood the test of time and the evolution of technology.


The Transocean collection recalls Breitling’s historic models with classical styling in steel and gold cases. The Transocean Day & Date and the Transocean Unitime Pilot are among the most popular models in this collection.

Superocean Héritage

The Breitling Superocean Héritage is the epitome of the "neo-retro" style and harks back to the first Superocean divers’ watch in 1957. A tool watch par excellence, its grooved rotating bezels and mesh bracelets evoke history, while the mechanical movement inside – be it automatic or chronograph is resolutely modern.


A more modern take on the classic chronograph, the Chronomat marries the signature features of a chronograph, such as the three counters on the dial and a tachymeter scale, with a bezel that has oversized engraved minute markings and some bold interpretations on the theme of the stainless steel case.