If there is one brand that is going through a period of change, it is Breitling. In 2017 it not only got new owners but also had Georges Kern, long-time CEO of IWC, appointed as its CEO. Kern didn’t waste any time and dove straight into the rich history of the brand, on which he plotted its course for the next few years.
The first result of this is the Navitimer 8 collection. While we have gotten used over the years to more intricate styled Breitlings, this collection has a surprisingly clean look. While some may call it un-Breitling, it is, in fact, the opposite, as it has a lot of styling elements that we can find in vintage Breitlings. Kern even went so far as also to revise the logo, going back to an older logo without the famous wings.
One of the most eye-catching models of the Navitimer 8 collection is the B01 Chronograph. This 43mm large chronograph is powered by Breitling’s 01 manufacture movement which is fitted with a column-wheel as well a vertical coupling and provides you with a generous power reserve of 70 hours. In red gold, with a bronze dial, it is a beautiful watch that gives a slightly vintage feel in a contemporary size. In 18K red gold, the Breitling costs $21.030,- while a steel version is available for $7.710,-. Rather have your steel Navitimer 8 B01 Chronograph on a bracelet? Then you pay an additional $310,-.
Next to the B01 chronograph, does Breitling also offer the Navitimer 8 as a chronograph with an ETA/Valjoux 7750 based movement. Also available in the collection are time-only, day-date and world time version’s of the watch. The Breitling Navitimer 8 B35 Automatic Unitime is also fitted with a manufacture movement and takes full advantage of its 43mm large case, which leaves plenty of room on the dial to incorporate the world time complication. Priced at $8.520,- on a bracelet, and $8.140,- on an alligator strap, they will appeal to the world travellers among us. For the Navitimer 8 Automatic Day & Date Breitling went for a smaller size case, measuring 41mm in diameter. With its brushed stainless steel case, bracelet and bezel, it has a very clean design, while its sunburst dial gives it character. It is priced competitively at $4.150,- on a leather strap and $4.530,- on a stainless steel bracelet.
While the bezel on these Navitimer 8 models is not as lavishly engraved as that of other Breitlings, it contributes greatly to the more pure look of the watches. It also still serves a function, as it can be moved bidirectional, allowing you to mark a certain time, or see how much time has passed. While we can expect a further restructuring of Breitling’s collections, the Navitimer 8 will complement the existing Navitimer collection, so the classic versions with the slide rule will remain available as well.
Kern and his team at Breitling are indeed taking Breitling in a new direction, one where the past inspires the future, and when all new watches look as good at the new Navitimer 8 collection, it holds great promise!