Introduced in 1952, the Breitling Navitimer took the design and movement of Breitling’s famous Chronomat. It then turned it into a powerful aviation instrument. With a slide rule bezel designed to solve logarithmic calculations on the fly, the Navitimer was more than a watch — it was a helpful wrist-mounted navigation computer for pilots of the day.
True to its aviation focus, the first Navitimer watches featured the logo of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Early Navitimers, such as the reference 806, used a Venus 178 movement. Breitling improved the Navitimer throughout the 1950s and 60s, replacing the Venus 178 with a Valjoux 72 movement in 1954, and eventually switching to a Valjoux 7740 movement in the late 1960s. With the Valjoux 7740, the Navitimer gained a new complication: a date.
As the 1960s became the 1970s, quartz watches grew from an experiment into a massive commercial success. Breitling then faced a crisis. It tried to adapt by offering a quartz Navitimer, complete with its own digital LCD display. But that wasn’t enough to save the watchmaker.
Breitling’s financial problems resulted in the company changing ownership, and the Navitimer changing with it. The watch re-emerged during the 1990s with a Valjoux 7750 movement, and in 2003 with an ETA 2892 movement.
It wasn’t until 2009 that the modern Navitimer became entirely Breitling’s own watch. The 2009 Navitimer was the first to feature the Breitling 01 caliber—the in-house movement used for the current range of Navitimer wristwatches.
To celebrate the Navitimer’s long and interesting history, we’ve taken a look at three of the most popular Navitimer models:
Breitling Navitimer Chronograph A23322
Introduced in 2003, the Navitimer Chronograph A23322 is the quintessential modern Breitling Navitimer. With a 42mm case, stainless steel slide rule bezel and large dial, the Navitimer is a stylish watch built with aviation and adventure in mind.
The A23322 combines the tool watch functionality of the original Navitimers with more usable modern complications. Notable features include a date window at five o’clock and a power reserve of 42 hours. It also has a water resistance of up to 30 meters.
The modern Navitimer A23322 comes in three dial colors: black, white, or blue. Most models also feature the distinctive 22mm Navitimer bracelet.
Breitling Navitimer World GMT A24322
Designed for pilots and international travelers, the Navitimer World GMT A24322 is a larger version of the Navitimer. It has a 46mm case and GMT hour hand. Like the A23322, the A24322 has the option of a white, black, or blue dial.
Despite sharing many features in common with the A23322, the A24322 also has several major differences. Its date calendar window is at three o’clock, as opposed to five. Also, its subdials are grouped together on the left side of the dial instead of the bottom half.
Due to its larger dimensions (the A24322 also has a 24mm lug width) the A24322 offers a great deal of wrist presence in a large, sophisticated watch.
Breitling Navitimer Montbrillant H41330
Introduced in 1999, the Navitimer Montbrillant H41330 is a luxury pilot’s watch in an elegant stainless steel or 18k rose gold case. Like other versions of the Navitimer, the Montbrillant has an automatic Breitling 41 movement with a date complication at three o’clock.
At 38mm in diameter, the Navitimer Montbrillant H41330 is a smaller Navitimer that’s just as suitable for events as it is for adventure. The H41330 features a stunning 18k gold case, while the A41330 and A41030 offer the same dial in a more affordable stainless steel case.
Like other Navitimer models, the H41330 is amazingly versatile. Its design looks just as good on a leather strap as it does on the traditional Navitimer bracelet.
With a history dating back to 1952, the Navitimer is one of Breitling’s most iconic watches. Its also one of the aviation world’s most recognizable timepieces. It’s a true pilot’s companion.
Whether you opt for a collectable vintage Navitimer or a modern model with Breitling’s in-house movement, you’ll find the Navitimer to be an excellent watch. Depending on age and type, models are available in 38, 42, 46, and 48mm. So, there’s definitely a Navitimer that’s a perfect fit for you.