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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

On an average day there are 100,000 flights world-wide. I’ve been trying to find out how many commercially certified pilots there are in the world, but could not get to a reliable source. (Btw, do you know that?) What I have found though was the 5% projected increase in commercial aviation and cargo each year in the next almost 20 years (Boeing Pilot and Technical Market Outlook for 2013-2032). That brings us to a massive demand in new pilots too – approximately 1,000,000 additional hands needed on the yoke in the same period. The number does not even include non-commercial pilots.

What is this if not the brightest business outlook for Breitling?

Breitling’s name has been intertwined with aviation for over 130 years by supplying “Instruments for professionals”. Gaston Breitling, the second generation of the family watchmaker, took on-board flight measurements to the next level by creating the first independent push piece to the wrist chronograph during the early 1900s, and separated the start and stop functions a few years later. Breitling chronographs have been well-known among pilots and we are kind of expecting novelties in this field every year.

Before we would move on to 2015 Baselworld announcements, have a sip of coffee and enjoy the Breitling Story in this great interpretation.


Breitling Chronoliner

Breitling borrowed shapes and forms from the 1950s and ‘60s to design its new Chronoliner family – the same age, which produced ever-green design classics, like the Eames Lounge Chair, the Fiat 500 or the Mini and the Lockheed L-1049 Super Constellation. Having a seat with the new Chronoliner on your wrist in any of these would seem to be completely genuine and perfectly stylish.

In my big Breitling book I found great ads of Co-Pilots and AVI Unitimes from the ‘60s and a cool photo of Raquel Welch in her Co-Pilot in the 1967 movie called Fathom. The new model shares the spirit of these watches. The play of silver and black colour in various materials draws a clear character to the model. The steel case and the white sub dials dance with the black dial and bezel. The watch has clear-cut lines with an unmistakably legible 24-hours second time-zone hand ending in a red arrow. The bezel is star-shaped cut black ceramic, which is somewhat broader than the predecessors’. The watch is tightened to the wrist by one of the hottest steel mesh bracelets ever made. The Milanese mesh, called Ocean Classic strap, appeared on many models of the company in the ‘60s, like the Navitimer, SuperOcean or the TransOcean.

The Breitling 24 (ETA Valjoux 7754) chronometer movement is COSC certified and has date and 2nd time-zone functions. It is the same movement that runs the Navitimer World.



Breitling Galactic Unitime

For those travelling much or working across time-zones, Breitling came out with a world-timer. It incorporates a newly developed automatic winding manufacture movement, Calibre B35, which is the first in-house movement lacking chronograph function. No sub-dials, no additional hands, only the main pointers and the world-timer rings. Just like in other Unitime pieces (Transocean Unitime Pilot and Chronograph Unitime) it offers an easy setting of local and remote times with the same crown turned forwards and backwards. While performing these settings the minute and second hands continue their trips uninterrupted. The company used tungsten carbide for the bezel, a metal that gets five times harder during the moulding process, which is carried out under high temperature and pressure. Beyond hardness the composite has a peculiar shine.

Galactic Unitime


Breitling TransOcean Chronograph 1915

It was 100 years ago, when Breitling introduced the first independent push-piece on a chronograph. With that users could start and stop the chronograph and set it back to zero. The company presented a TransOcean Chronograph limited to 1915 pieces, which puts this function and the pusher in the spotlight via nicely curved lines, standing out from the case firmly yet smoothly. As opposed to the previous TransOcean models, the dial received Arabian numerals instead of index markers and the brand name is written entirely with the traditional curvy font. Since there’s no tachymeter the dial does look simpler, emphasizing the celebrated function and the push-piece even further.

It is operated by the manual B14 in-house movement, which is COSC certified, of course.


Breitling B55 Connected

Back to the future – Breitling came out last year with the Cockpit B50, a multifunction chronograph, equipped with the in-house quartz movement. At Baselworld we were shown the same case, but with improved content – the B55 Connected SuperQuartz™ watch.

As Breitling immediately underlined, it is not a smart watch, but a connected watch, meaning the timepiece’s functions can be controlled by a Bluetooth-linked smart phone. Breitling’s focus is still on the chronograph, but by linking it to the phone, the user gets a new interface for all functions the timepiece provides. And there are a lot of functions, for instance the chronograph of course, but to the 1/100th of a second, coordinated universal time, countdown/count-up, flight time chronograph, lap timer chronograph, electronic tachometer, 2nd time zone, 2 daily alarms, perpetual calendar with week display as well as battery charge indicator.

The intention of the brand is to provide the best possible tool for pilots – for example, the B55 allows pilots to use the chronograph function to register flight times, which can be sent as a flight log in CSV format by email. The technology and its usability are currently being tested by pilots. B55 is a concept watch; it might later be available in this form or another.


Breitling SuperOcean II

Browsing the Breitling book I found photos of Willy Breitling, the son of Gaston, who led the company for more than 40 years (he was at the helm during the ‘50s and ‘60s, too). About half of these images captured him doing different water activities – water skiing, sailing, fishing, you name it. The time when these pictures were taken coincides with the proliferation of scuba diving and consequently the expansion of underwater research, thanks to the Aqua-lung, developed by Émile Gagnan and Jacques-Yves Cousteau in 1943. His active life and key sense for business opportunities led Willy Breitling to enter the market of sub-surface tool watches in 1957. The company launched the SuperOcean line back then and it is developed still today – this year SuperOcean II came out with a reduced thickness as well as in a new 36mm diameter option in white-clad colour targeting female divers.

The traditional 42 and 44mm versions also underwent a diet and became slimmer too. They come in Volcano black and Mariner blue colour and can be ordered with the matching new rubber strap.

The newcomers share the Breitling 17 automatic COSC certified movement, which is based on ETA 2824-2. The same operates in a number of SuperOcean models too.


Two big B

In 2003 Bentley introduced Bentley Continental GT, a large luxury coupé powered by a W12 engine built in Crewe. Breitling participated in the creation of the onboard clock, and later the brand dedicated wristwatches to the automobile world. The Breitling for Bentley line unites the best of two companies; elegance and performance.

The new Bentley model sports an even more powerful W12 twin turbo engine, up to 590 PS from 575 PS, and an innovative variable displacement system that creates more power, but with less emissions. Breitling also created new faces of its collection; Bentley GMT Light Body B04 Midnight Carbon with black ultra-light titanium case (49mm) and a bit smaller version, the 45mm Bentley GMT Light Body B04.

Breitling for Bentley B04


Breitling for Bentley Light Body Midnight Carbon


Photo credits: Breitling, Loupiosity.com.
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