March 20, 2018
Back in January, Breitling released the first new collection with Georges Kern at the helm. The Navitimer 8 Collection was… shall we say, controversial (an understatement if you ask me). Many enthusiasts were in awe of “the first Breitling they’ve ever liked” but were met with the cumulative groan of long established fans saying, “Where’s the slide rule bezel? This isn’t a Navitimer. Give this its own collection!” Well, both sides can rest at ease tonight, because Breitling announced the release of their Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 and 46 featuring that signature bi-directional rotating bezel and slide rule that made the Navitimer… erm, a Navitimer.
Model: Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 and 46
Dimensions: 43mm & 46mm in diameter
Case Material: Stainless Steel, two-tone stainless and Yellow Gold, or Red Gold
Movement: COSC-Certified Breitling B01 Caliber
Power Reserve: “At least” 70 hours
Strap/Bracelet: Polished Stainless Steel or Leather Strap
Price & Availability: $8,590–$21,520 depending on case material
I’m going to be completely honest – I was part of the latter crowd who was upset at the re-work of the Navitimer collection. When whispers of the re-work made their way through the industry, I felt excitement and nervousness all at the same time – especially with Georges making one of my favorite models his first endeavor with the brand. And I have to admit, when I saw them, I was severely disappointed with the result. They never really grew on me either, which is something Breitlings tend to do. I felt they were severely lacking in the aspects of what made a Navitimer so recognizable.
That being said, I’ve forgiven them. These releases came as a surprise launch this morning, and I couldn’t be happier. The slide rule bezel is there and the overall design quality channels the vintage glory of the original Navitimer, but simply adds a modern and sleek look to an actually iconic watch. One thing of note, is that all of the models include contrasting sub-dials giving a contemporary panda/reverse panda modern look to the watches that wasn’t always standard for the model. Additionally, the models utilize the new Breitling logo that excludes the Breitling wings – a gripe I’m sure will come about immediately. Additionally, the watches utilize Breitling’s esteemed B01 Caliber and come in steel, two tone red-gold and steel, and red gold versions.
The 46mm size is going to cause a bit of controversy considering the Navitimer’s history, but I feel it’s largely justified. The 43mm will still be available in the new collection so upping the size to 46mm provides a couple of options for those with bigger wrists who want their Red Gold case to be noticed.
I can hear the boisterous sigh of relief from fans of the brand as I type this up. Additionally, I can hear the cumulative “Oh. Well I feel dumb.” from the crowd who literally wrote the brand off due to the re-work (seriously, they’re all over the internet). For me? I’m a little of both and retract embarrassing and dramatic statements about Breitling losing a part of their DNA – because it was clearly there with plenty of attention paid to it.
Pricing is a bit cumbersome, so bear with me. For the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43, price for the Red Gold case will come in at $21,520, and for the two-tone Steel and Yellow gold, at $10,220. As for the Steel cases, the Silver dial with a stainless steel bracelet will be $9,160, and the Blue Dial on leather will be $8,590. For the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 46, both the Anthracite and silver dial will come in Red Gold, come with a black or brown alligator strap, and cost a fairly steep $24,270. breitling.com