Breitling has been on a bit of a tear lately. It was not all that long ago that the Navitimer 8 collection was introduced, and now we’re starting to get word of what Baselworld has in store for the brand. As you might expect, some very classic, very Breitling designs are going to be hitting the display stands. One of those is the Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38.


Brand: Breitling
Model: Navitimer 1 Automatic 38
Dimensions: 38mm diameter x 10.10mm thick
Case Material: Steel, or steel and gold
Crystal/Lens: Cambered sapphire
Movement: Breitling B17
Frequency: 28,800vph
Power Reserve: 40 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Croc or steel
Price & Availability: $4,300 (steel on croc), $4,860 (steel on steel), $5,820 (steel and red gold)

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For me, Breitling is a brand that I’ve got a very strong polarizing relationship with. On one hand, I really enjoy the clean looks of the Superocean and Transocean lines. Flip that coin over, though, and you’ve got the designs that most people think of when they think Breitling. To my eye, those designs look cluttered and busy, and I want nothing to do with them on my wrist. Then they had to go and introduce something like the Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38, and screw up my easy yes/no response to their watches.

In many ways, the Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 is the classic look for the brand. You’ve got the tachymeter scale around the chapter ring (aka, a lot tiny, tiny numbers) and a scalloped bezel, all capped with stick indices and the Breitling ‘B.’ In other words, instantly recognizable as being from the brand. Changing it up, though, is that the chapter ring is really the only bit of clutter on the dial, particularly as this watch is not a chronograph.

Not only that, the dimensions of the Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 have been shrunk to (you guessed it) a very modest 38mm. That makes for a watch that is accessible to a lot more wrists, and I think it’s a lovely, compact size. Being a simple three hander (with date) you’re not likely to be doing a lot of timing, but then again, I’m going to say that most mechanical chronographs are woefully underused.

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Somehow, Breitling managed to make the Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 both anticipated and totally unexpected for me. Available in both steel and steel and gold cases, and on a crocodile strap or steel bracelet, pricing ranges from $4,300 to $5,820. I’ve a feeling that this is a Breitling that will appeal to those who like what the brand does, and want that flavor, but don’t want something that’s crazily busy. Also, keep an eye out for the blue-dialed version of the Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38. I saw a shot of that, and combined with the cream chapter ring, it’s definitely the looker of the bunch. Sure, perhaps the Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 won’t appeal to full-on purists, and hardcore fans of the brand. For those who are a bit more casual when it comes to Breitling, I think this is a good gateway to move over from the Ocean watches to something that’s got, well, more of the signature Breitling design DNA that folks seem to dig.

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