In the luxury watch realm, there are a handful of icons that go by a single name without needing a reminder of which brand makes it—and the legendary Navitimer is most certainly one of them. Launched in 1952 with a slide-rule bezel to compute complex navigational calculations, the Navitimer was designed with professional pilots in mind. A particularly popular vintage Navi is the “All-Black” 806 from 1959. So to celebrate 60 years of that cult classic, Breitling presented the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition.
Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition Is A Faithful Tribute
The design of the new Navitimer 806 1959 Re-Edition was essentially plucked straight from Breitling’s archives to create a faithful reproduction of the vintage model. In fact, place the new and old side-by-side and you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference.
Just like the original version, the new Navitimer 806 1959 Re-Edition sports a 40.9 mm stainless steel case and a rotating beaded bezel with exactly 94 beads. The number of beads (which ranged anywhere from 93 to 125 on different Navitimers from the 1950s and 1960s) is a thoughtful detail that serves to please vintage watch enthusiasts.
The dial is arguably the Navitimer’s most defining characteristic and yet again, Breitling has accurately re-created the one from 1959. The black dial is home to a trio of black subdials (hence the vintage ref. 806’s “All-Black” nickname) and the all-caps Breitling name just above the unsigned winged logo (a logo specific to the European market back in the day).
Eschewing modern-day sapphire crystal on the Navitimer 806 1959 Re-Edition, Breitling instead opted for the period-correct high-domed acrylic glass to protect the dial. Completing the retro look of the 806 reissue is a vintage-inspired black leather strap attached to lugs that are identical to the maiden model.
A Few Modern Touches
Since we are six decades along after the takeoff of the original 1959 ref. 806, a few modern touches had to be included in the new re-edition. Water resistance is amped up to 30 meters and modern SuperLuminova material was hand-applied to the dial for luminescence. However, Breitling ensured that the color of the lume mimics that of the original 1959 Navitimer 806 watches.
To honor the Navitimer 806 movement of yesteryear, Breitling produced an entirely new in-house manual movement. The in-house Breitling Manufacture Caliber B09, which is, of course, COSC-certified, is based on the brand’s Caliber 01. This new hand-wound Breitling chronograph movement operates at 28,800bph and offers a 70-hour power reserve.
Limited to 1,959 pieces, all Navitimer 806 1959 Re-Edition watches are individually numbered and engraved on the caseback.
Breitling is journeying into the past to take the brand into the future and authentic tributes like the Navitimer 806 1959 Re-Edition will no doubt make plenty of passionate Navitimer fans happy.