No introduction is needed for the Breitling Navitimer collection as it is one of only a few classic aviator watch designs. Breitling has the acolade of being able to claim that the Navitimer is the only chronograph wristwatch that has been in production continuously for over 50 years.
The Navitimer came about in 1952 when Breitling added a circular slide rule to the bezel of the chronograph models they were making for use by aircraft pilots. This new model came to be the Navitimer. Quickly gaining a reputation as an iconic model the Navitimer was promoted as a “wrist instrument” for professionals, and it soon aquired fans among not only professional aviators but aviation fans too.
In 1961, one of the original astronauts in the Mercury space program Scott Carpenter, approached Breitling with the idea of replacing the 12 hour dial with a 24 hour one. Carpenter wanted this change becuase of the lack of day and night during space travel. So Breitling modified the Navitimer with a 24-hour dial and called it the Cosmonaute. Carpenter then navigated the stars with a Cosmonaute Navitimer of his own the following year when the Mercury-Atlas 7 Aurora Mission launched in 1962. In 1969 Breitling add an automatic chonograph movement to the Navitimer.
Like all Navitimers, the Breitling Navitimer 1461 dial features the exceptionally busy design that is part of its signature. There are three concentric rings of markers which combined with the bezel to make it function as an analog computer. The bezel acts a slide-rule and combined with the chronograph you can make various measurements such as calculating ground speed, rate of climb or descent, miles per minute as well as performing basic math functions such as division and multiplication and you can even calculate gas consumption, and of course you have the basic time elapsed function.
Furthermore by using the suns position in the sky in conjuction with the bezel allows you to use the Navitimer as a compass, and on the rear of the watch there is a Celsius to Fahrenheit table for temperature conversion.
Typically the Navitimer has a movement with the time and a chronograph, this is where the BreitlingNavitimer 1461 is slightly different however. Also called the Grande Complication Navitimer and limited to 1000 pieces the Breitling Navitimer 1461 features the caliber B19 self-winding movement which adds a leap-year calendar that needs correcting only once every four years, this is equal to 1461 days so hence the model name.
Breitling Navitimer 1461 – Movement
Although the Navitimer 1461 doesnt have an in-house movement the Breitling caliber 19 automatic movement – a modified base Swiss ETA 2892 automatic – is COSC Chronometer certified.
It is a module chronograph which is a 12 hour version and combines the chronograph functionality with the annual calender and moon phase functions each sub-dial acting as dual indicators. Although ” Annual Calendar” is common watch terminology Breitling calls the Navitimer 1461 a “leap-year calendar” to point out at it doesnt need to be adjusted annually. The moonphase function is also a nice addition to have. All this functionality does mean that the caliber 19 is quite a complicated movement and is made up of over 450 parts.
In terms of adjustment the crown is used for setting the time and winding. While the main pushers are used for the chronograph, and to adjust the date, day of the week, month, or moon phase the four inset pushers are used. Given the number of functions its notable that the Breiling Navitimer 1461 still has a fairly long power reserve of 42 hours.
Breitling Navitimer 1461 – Case and Dial
At 46mm the case is quite large, and larger than most other Navitimer models. The case features the signature heavy polishing and fluting you expect from a Navitimer model and standard for a Navitimer model is water resistant to only 30 metres. The dial is an appealing, subdued shade of blue in colour and its typical busy design is even slightly more so due to the addition of the moonphase but nevertheless remains fairly legible. It is fitted with a sapphire crystal that has AR coating.
Breitling Navitimer 1461 – Conclusion and Price
Like other Breitling Navitimer 1461 models this is also a limited edition run of a thousand pieces. Its unique characteristic being its blue dial (the previous one being black), it comes on either a steel bracelet or blue leather strap. On the steel bracelet the retail price for the watch is $11,005, and slightly cheaper on the leather strap.