It’s only been a half a year now since industry rockstar, Georges Kern took the helm at Breitling. And while he’s been active with the brand in many ways already, yesterday we saw the first Breitling watch to be created under his leadership and the guidance of Guy Bove, the latest addition to the brand, as Creative Director.
The watch has been named the Navitimer 8 B01 and forms part of a new five-watch collection that’s being referred to as the Navitimer 8. That 8 — or huit in French — is taken from Breitling’s 1938 set up, which they called the HUIT Aviation department to work exclusively on on-board chronographs for aircrafts, which in turn was in reference to the eight-day power reserve that most of these instruments had.
On top taking the name from a previous effort of the brand, the other point of reference for the new collection was the historical ref. 768. Which very clearly served as inspiration for a lot of dial details on the new watches. For instance, the luminous Arabic numerals.
It’s safe to say that the Navitimer 8 and its clean, modern aesthetics are intentional. They are meant to appeal to a broader, potential customer base and therein serve the brand with a way out from the impression that was out there in the past couple of years that Breitling didn’t know where it was headed.
It is with this very intention in mind that Kern has decided that the new Navitimer 8 collection would be first launched in Shanghai, China. Because Kern is aware of the new emerging wave of Chinese luxury goods shoppers.
The launch then moves to Switzerland before making its way to the US, where again Kern is well aware the potential spending power that remains yet untapped by the Swiss watch industry. Now, on to the watches.
Some common ground to start off with: All five watches feature COSC certified movements; they have bi-directional bezels and lastly, they are all water resistant to 100m.
Navitimer 8 B01
The first watch in the collection is the one that Breitling is leading the story with: The Navitimer 8 B01. It’s a no-nonsense, chronograph timepiece powered by the brand’s first-ever in-house produced movement, the Caliber 01.
At 43mm, the watch will be offered with either a back or blue dial in a stainless-steel case or a bronze colored dial in an 18k red gold case. The steel versions with come with the option for a leather strap or a stainless-steel bracelet. Whereas the gold version will only come with a brown alligator strap.
COSC Certified selfwinding Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01; hours, minutes, running seconds; date window; chronograph; 70-hour power reserve
43mm; stainless steel or 18k red gold; water resistant to 100m
Stainless steel bracelet with folding clasp for stainless steel models; leather strap available for all models
Navitimer 8 Unitime
Number two on the list is a world time watch, which uses the same Caliber B35 found in all of Breitling’s existing Unitime watches. Just as a way of reminding everyone, the Breitling has patented two functions with the B35: One is the independently adjustable hour hand and two, is the 24-hour city ring that is integrated into the movement using a clever differential system.
43mm again, the watch will be available in either a black or silver dial, in stainless-steel with an alligator strap.
COSC Certified selfwinding Breitling Manufacture Caliber B35; hours, minutes, running seconds; world time; date window; 70-hour power reserve
43mm; stainless steel; bidirectional bezel; water resistant to 100m
Alligator leather strap
Navitimer 8 Chronograph
Number three, the Navitimer 8 Chronograph is the one that Breitling is positioning as their value proposition. Mostly because the movement inside isn’t one of the brand’s in-house ones. Rather, the Caliber B13, is constructed using the 7750 as a base movement. A workhorse movement that should in no way be marked down.
But here’s where the value proposition really makes its case: The Navitimer 8 Chronograph isn’t just a chronograph, it also displays day and date, which makes it a great option for anyone looking to buy a practical everyday watch that they are actually intending to use to track time and day.
At 43mm, the watch will be offered in either a DLC-coated stainless-steel or just stainless-steel with the option for a black or blue dial.
COSC Certified selfwinding Breitling Caliber 13; hours, minutes, running seconds; day of the week and date; chronograph; 42-hour power reserve
43mm; stainless steel or DLC-coated stainless steel; bidirectional bezel; water resistant to 100m
Stainless steel bracelet (non-DLC version only) or leather strap
Navitimer 8 Day & Date
Watch number four is purely a day-date timepiece, made possible by the Caliber 45, which is constructed using the 2834 as a base.
The movement places the days, spelt in full, across the top of the dial and the date at 3 o’clock using a window.
We see a change in the case size this time at 41mm, in stainless-steel, presented with a blue or black dial.
COSC Certified selfwinding Breitling Caliber 45; hours, minutes, running seconds; day of the week and date; 40-hour power reserve
41mm; stainless steel; bidirectional bezel; water resistant to 100m
Navitimer 8 Automatic
The last of the lot is the Navitimer 8 Automatic, which is the simplest of the five watches. The watch features the Caliber 17, which is built from the 2824 base movement.
This one too is a 41mm piece and comes in either a DLC-coated steel case or just good ol’ uncoated stainless steel. Again, option for either a blue or black dial.