Breitling Emergency II

Breitling Emergency II

by Matthew Boston

Breitling is not only a maker of Swiss luxury watches but also supplies military personnel and active people professional tool type watches. So for 2013 they have released a watch for people who run the risk of being stranded in the middle of nowhere far from an emergency beacon Breitling brings you one to strap to your wrist, the Breitling Emergency II.

Breiling Emergency II - Dial

Breiling Emergency II – Dial

This is an updated version of their original Breitling Emergency watch released in 1995 and features a number of improvements taking the miniaturization of emergency beacon technology to another level with a dual-channel emergency satellite transmitter. This is a serious instrument for the active professional, for instance it was necessary for customers of the previous version to sign an agreement stipulating that they would pay for all the expenses of a rescue operation should the distress beacon be launched.

Their renowned original Emergency watch contained an antenna that would transmit on on the 121.5 MHz air distress frequency channel with a range of about 100 miles, since this frequency is monitored by search and rescue authorities activating the transmitter had to be done only in strictly emergency rescue situations only.

Breitling Emergency II

Breitling Emergency II

The new version not only adds new features but also removes what were considered weaknesses of the original. For instance not only did the original not have enough power to transmit to satellites but its 100 mile range assumed normal conditions- flat terrains and calm seas- anything other than these conditions and its range was significantly less. So with this new edition Breitling have tried to create a next-generation version.

Breitling Emergency II – Case and Battery

With a strapless weight of 140 grams (4.9 oz) and a size of 51mm wide the Breitling Emergency II is an immense timepiece. However the weight has been kept down by being produced entirely in titanium, a large proportion of its bulk being due to the complex miniaturized electronics that it contains, in particular the PLB Category 2 beacon micro-transmitter and two batteries including the special rechargeable battery for the transmitters.

The battery must provide enough power to to run the watch for 24 hours in order to help gain a satellite lock, the rechargeable battery helps enable this providing enough power for use in an emergency.

Breiling Emergency II - Case

Breiling Emergency II – Case

Because the Emergency II works on two different frequencies it creates increased demands on power consumption and means the battery’s power demands range from 30 to 300 mW which required the implementation of a battery dedicated to just powering the transmitters as well as a regular silver oxide battery for the watch’s movement. The entire point of a watch like the Emergency II is to be reliable and since its of critical importance that the watch provides enough power for the beacon it comes with not only its own charger but also a tester to check it with.

Breitling Emergency II – Watch Movement and Transmitter

The time function side of this watch is powered by a Breitling’s thermocompensated SuperQuartz Caliber 76 which is chronometer-certified. These impressive movements are accurate to within plus or minus 10 seconds a year and provides a 12/24-hour analog and LCD digital display with a 1/100th second chronograph, countdown timer, second time zone and multilingual calendar, alarm and battery end-of-life indicator. All of the functions are operated using the crown.

Breitling Thermocompensated Superquartz Caliber 76

Breitling Thermocompensated Superquartz Caliber 76

Breitling set out to develop a new Emergency watch that transmits on both emergency rescue networks, so the Emergency II adds the new digital frequency of 406MHz in addition to the aforementioned analogue 121.5MHz transmitter which is still received on land, at sea and in the air. The Emergency II puts out signals alternately on these two frequencies. The signal on 406 MHz is sent out for 0.44 seconds every 50 seconds, and on the analog 121.5 MHz signal for 0.75 seconds every 2.25 seconds. By combining both signals it not only helps the rescue teams target your exact location but also increases the chance of your distress signal being received.

Breitling Emergency II - Signal

Breitling Emergency II – Signal

Not only does the more advanced 406 MHz digital frequency provide the launch of a distress signal directly into space to reach the network of satellites in low-altitude earth orbit (LEOSAR) and in geostationary orbit (GEOSAR) along with ground stations and coordinating centers around the world, but also offers increased security and more critical information for rescuers to establish your position. Thanks to this addition it means no place on earth is off limits making the watch much more effective in rescue situations.

So say you’re in an emergency situation how do you actually launch the distress signal?

Breitling Emergency II - Antenna Cover

Breitling Emergency II – Antenna Cover

Its been designed to be simple to use to enable someone who may have been compromised due to injury to deploy it. You simply twist off the right-hand antenna cover – which also releases the left- and you then pull out the antenna which activates the beacon and starts sending out the distress signal alternating between the 121.5MHz analogue and the 406MHz digital signal for up to 24 hours. For a clearer idea please view the video.

Its not for serious underwater use being rated to a depth of just 50m, it comes on a rubber strap or a matching titanium bracelet.

Breitling Emergency II – Conclusion and Price

From the general attitude of the Emergency II its apparent this is a serious instrument for active professionals who find themselves stranded in high-risk situations, not a plaything or gimmicky luxury sport watch. The Emergency II is the first timepiece to implement dual frequency emergency beacon technology and is the ultimate rescue watch, it retails at about US$17,000 for the rubber strap version or about US$18,600 on a titanium. Dials are available in Volcano black, Cobra yellow, and Intrepid orange.

More resources about the Breitling Emergency II on Official Breitling Website, Forbes, TechCrunch, and Gizmodo.

    Author Bio

    Articles by Matthew Boston


    Matthew Boston has worked in the computer graphics industry for 17 years in various parts of the world, currently residing back home in the UK. His interest in watches was first piqued as a youngster when he was fascinated by a Seiko digital watch he received. He's also founder of UniqueWatchGuide which is dedicated to sharing the news about timepieces that are unusual, unconventional and more often than not unobtainable.