For 2013, Breitling has released a very attractive blue version of the already rather rare Navitimer 1461 model. An interesting item, we take a hands-on look at this stunning piece. Let me address something first. If other watch writers are anything like me, there is one particular request (aside from “what watch should I buy?”) that annoys us. That is to write an article or sum up current “watch trends.” This is what happens when watches get mixed into the abyssal pool that is fashion, which apparently needs to reinvent itself each quarter else something chaotic happens – such as a mass neglect of wearing clothing amongst otherwise civilized human beings. The majority of watches I prefer to pay attention to are designed to look cool forever. Perhaps not all are timeless, but they have appeal (and ideally longevity) beyond this season.
If you’ll notice, we tend to not write about “fashion watches.” A segment of typically inexpensive watches so unfairly named because they make actual fashionable watches look bad. “Fashion watch” is a polite term used to describe most of the illegitimate wrist trash unsuitable for people with much taste or knowledge. It isn’t about money either, if your budget is $200 there is plenty out there for you too that isn’t a rapidly cobbled together design using elements from 12 popular “big name watches” into a final result that even Frankenstein would shun. So allow me to sum up: “fashion watches” aren’t fashionable, and I am sorry to report there aren’t new magical “watch trends” each few months that merit an in-depth round-up of exemplary pieces. How does this tie into the Breitling’s limited edition Navitimer 1461? It doesn’t, but by mere virtue that the watch is blue – and so are a few others this year- means it will be the unfortunate victim of being of being put into some “blue watch round-up.” Worse yet, I may even be among those people cajoled into penning such an article.
Just because the Navitimer 1461 has a blue dial and comes with an optional blue strap does not alone mean that it has anything in common with other blue watches. Imagine if I did an article about ten completely different cars that just happen to have black paint jobs. Would I have any reason then to assume the color black somehow ties these otherwise disparate vehicles together? No. So a little advice for consumer publications that feel it necessary to cater to your watch brand advertisers in the form of editorial, please don’t have a fashion editor dream up ways to discuss what is new in the world of horology with your readers. This will no doubt result in a not-so-lengthy discourse of the timeless virtues of the color orange.
Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest and hopefully saved many watches from round-up abuse, I’d like to return my gaze to this lovely new watch from our high-flying friends at Breitling. The Navitimer collection ideally requires no introduction. If it does, allow me to point you to our descriptive article here on how slide-rule bezels work (that features a Navitimer). While that article won’t shed light on Breitling’s history with flight, it will help explain what made the Navitimer so popular in the pre-digital calculator age. Today, the slide-rule bezel is still taught to at least some pilots (confirms astronaut Mark Kelly). You may find it interesting to see how this instrument works even if you never end up having a chance to use it. Always good to be prepared right? Most other Navitimer watches are outfitted with a movement that tells the time and has a chronograph. The Navitimer 1461 is a bit different though.