October 17, 2015
by Ariel Adams
It is a special man who finds a perfect wrist companion in the two-tone steel and gold version of the larger 46mm-wide version of the classic Breitling Navitimer watch. Of course, this is the “Navitimer 01” model that contains Breitling’s first in-house movement – the Breitling Caliber 01. Breitling Navitimer fans are a unique breed of aviation lovers who actually do fly or highly aspire to. In dive watch terms, the Breitling Navitimer might be something like an Omega Seamaster Ploprof. Sort of a big-sized, nerdy dive watch with a cult following and special function or case beyond that of most other watches of its genre. Sure, there have been plenty of Navitimer homages over the years, but Breitling was the first to put a rotating slide-rule bezel in a wrist watch.
Our Max wrote a review of this generation Breitling Navitimer 01 watch here. I’ll let you explore that article for more practical information on wearing and owning the Breitling Navitimer 01 – which is clearly one of Breitling’s most iconic models ever. I have personally always liked the Breitling Navitimer but not yet found the model for me. I am also keenly aware that I will likely never actually use the rotating slide-rule bezel. It isn’t that I don’t want to, but rather that my math skills are never going to be up to snuff. More so, I am deeply enough of the digital calculator generation to never have any type of nostalgic feelings toward older “non-electronic” calculators.
Nevertheless, the Breitling Navitimer is a classic, isn’t it? It has managed to also be one of those hyper-masculine watches that still feels conservative and looks good on the wrists of many different kinds of men. For that, within the aviation watch realm, it will continue to be one of “the” icon watches. Part of being included in that designation is being niche, I feel. As iconic as it is, I still think the Patek Philippe Nautilus is niche in its appeal. It just isn’t for everyone and neither is the Breitling Navitimer.
In two-tone steel with an 18k gold bezel, the Breitling Navitimer 01 takes on a special personality. This piece is on the rich, padded brown alligator strap, but Breitling also offers it on steel or, hopefully, two-tone steel and 18k gold bracelet in the future. That latter option has been around for previous versions of two-tone Navitimers. On the two-tone bracelet, you get the most “lifestyle” look given the sheen of all that polished metal and glint of gold. The black dial is given gold hour markers and hands too, which helps complete the look. Still, there isn’t a huge amount of gold on the watch which prevents the price from soaring to near all-gold-case levels. They do produce solid gold versions of this Breitling Navitimer 01 46mm.
At 46mm wide, this version of the Breitling Navitimer isn’t the largest. I have also covered the 48mm-wide Breitling Navitimer GMT also with an in-house made Breitling movement. Even if this Breitling Navitimer 01 46mm isn’t the largest Navitimer model around, it still wears admirably, and has a case that is a solid 14.5mm thick.
I do want to mention that, in my opinion, if you like the look of a slightly too-large (dare I say “oversize”) watch on your wrist, then the Breitling Navitimer is one of those watches that you can get away with wearing even if it is on the larger size. Something about pilot watches also seems to dictate that they always seem to look best when very large in size.
The Breitling caliber 01 is a pretty solid movement, and the good news is that you can see it through the sapphire crystal caseback window. As many of you know, it isn’t at all common for Breitling to have watches with exhibition casebacks. Usually, you get a really nicely made, albeit solid metal, caseback on Breitling watches. Operating at 4Hz (28,800 bph), the 01 has a power reserve maximum of 70 hours and offers the time with date and 12-hour chronograph. It is definitely an industrialized movement, but it nevertheless has a hearty richness to it just like the polish Breitling does on most of their mirrored cases.
Going on to the dial, I had mixed feelings about the added red but then later learned to enjoy it. Not that having red accents is anything new on a Breitling Navitimer, but I was curious to know what the dial looked like with just three colors (black, white, and gold), and not four with the addition of red. You know the guy wearing this two-tone Breitling Navitimer 01 46mm likes to show off a bit, but it is still a legitimate looking tool watch – which is part of the mass Breitling appeal in general. You also get the desirable “panda dial effect” that, for some reason, always looks so damn good and classic.
While it would have most certainly cost more, having 18k gold pushers and crown on the case in addition to the bezel would have been nice, but clearly more expensive, and I think Breitling was trying to avoid that. So this is a “light” two-tone watch but still adds just a hint of still masculine bling to the tried-and-true Breitling Navitimer watch design. Breitling offers this case style on a number of strap and bracelet options. The Breitling Navitimer 01 46mm steel and gold on the alligator strap retails for the price of $11,240. It is less on a cow leather strap and maxes out at $12,020 on the steel bracelet. breitling.com