First, a public service announcement for all fans of vintage Breitling, not only did the brand announce the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition today, but they’ve also announced that this is the first of other future re-editions to be released. Something to keep your eyes on, particularly considering how spot-on Breitling has gotten the re-edition of the ref. 806.

A vintage Navitimer ref. 806
A vintage Navitimer ref. 806

Under the guidance of CEO Georges Kern, Breitling has no doubt found great inspiration from its heritage as of late. The other most recent runaway success being the Premier B01 Chronograph 42. But the Navitimer is one that has a bit of cult following and in creating a re-edition the brand risked hara-kiri if they didn’t manage to get the finer nuances of the historical 806 accurate to a tee.

The Nuances

The Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition
The Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition

So here are a few things to showcase just much attention Breitling paid to their re-edition. Starting off with the steel case, which keeps the exact dimension of 40.9mm with the same lug-type. Even the beaded rotating bezel accounts for exactly 94 beads as in the original 806.

Moving on through the domed acrylic crystal, you have the all black dial with the white perimeter and recessed sub-dials. The slide-rule then is executed in the same dimensions and the same typography. The Arabic numerals for the hours are built up with hand applied lume that mimics the color of the 1959 Navitimer.

The Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition
The Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition
On the left the 2019 Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition, on the right the original 1959 ref. 806
On the left the 2019 Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition, on the right the original 1959 ref. 806

One of the more challenging decisions was no doubt the brand logo. Now remember that Breitling’s moved to the “B-logo” as of late, so to have to use the wing-logo must not have been the easy way to go, but a every necessary detail. Very specifically, the non-AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) signed logo has been used for the re-edition. Breitling notes that the distinction of the two logo types used back then was that the non-AOPA version was used for watches sold in Europe and those sold in the US had the AOPA-signed logo.

The Deviations

The Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition

60 years on, however, there were some details that Breitling simply could not go back to. For instance, the re-edition uses Super-LumiNova® for the lume, but it is hand applied and treated so that it appears as it might’ve back in 1959.

The movement used is a brand new one, the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B09 mechanical movement, which is based on the brand’s COSC-certified Manufacture Caliber 01. The movement is kept manual as a way of remaining true to the manual winding movement that the original 806 would’ve had. And going back to the earlier point about the future re-editions, these will all feature the Caliber B09. But for now, the final detail that remains about the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition which is being announced today is that it will be produced in a limited run of just 1959 pieces (no prizes for guessing why).

Technical Specifications

Movement

Manual winding Breitling Manufacture Caliber B09; hours, minutes and running seconds at 9 o’clock; vertical clutch column-wheel chronograph with minute totalizer (3 o’clock) and hour totalizer ( 6 o’clock); approximately 70 hours of power reserve

Case

40.9mm in stainless steel; water resistant to 30 meters

Strap

Black vintage leather strap with pin buckle

Limited edition of 1959 pieces priced at USD8,600, available mid-2019 onwards

The Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition