back to top

Hands-On: The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 TWA, PAN-AM, & Swissair ‘Capsule Collection’ Watches

Hands-On: The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 TWA, PAN-AM, & Swissair 'Capsule Collection' Watches Hands-On

Some of the most fun new Breitling watches at Baselworld 2019 (and there were enough to choose from, for sure) were part of the airline-appreciation “capsule collection” watches that came in three versions. Each is a retro-chic iteration of the Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 watch that, itself, makes for a comfortable daily wear. Breitling honors historic relationships the Swiss watchmaker has had with airlines TWA, PAN-AM, and, of course, Swissair. Only Switzerland’s main airline is still around, but the pop-culture importance of TWA and PAM-AM are important because both have various entertainment, hospitality, and fashion products associated with their brands. Apparently, in today’s busy and uncomfortable airports (and airplanes), there is a burgeoning nostalgia for the “good ol’ days” of flying (when it was still a mode of transportation mainly for the rich).

Hands-On: The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 TWA, PAN-AM, & Swissair 'Capsule Collection' Watches Hands-On

Don’t feel like you need to choose a favorite among the Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 PAN- AM, TWA, or Swissair Edition watches. They are all lovely in their own way, even though their bold color palettes will, of course, not bet to everyone’s tastes. Breitling was inspired by the airline logo colors, and the visual design is directly inspired by Breitling watches from the 1970s. We can see this notably in the blocky hands, as well as the use of bright contrasting colors. What I like about each of the pieces is that they are both bold and charming, while still appearing serious and mature. Sometimes the more 1970s-era watch styles out there end up looking more fun than expensive, which makes it challenging for consumers to spend luxury-timepiece prices on them.

Hands-On: The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 TWA, PAN-AM, & Swissair 'Capsule Collection' Watches Hands-On

Price-to-value ratio is important here because the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 is not among Breitling’s lesser-priced watches. The polished steel 43mm-wide watch contains the in-house-made Breitling B01 automatic 12-hour chronograph movement that offers a nice “tri-compax” chronograph display and the date. The decorated movement is visible through the reach of the case that has the airline logo printed on the sapphire crystal. It is probably for the better that the airline logos live here on the back of the case, as opposed to on the dial sharing space with the Breitling logo. In that regard, Breitling did a nice job here.

Hands-On: The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 TWA, PAN-AM, & Swissair 'Capsule Collection' Watches Hands-On

Breitling also correctly points out that, while many watch brands have aviation/pilot-inspired watches that focus on military tradition, there are few that are related to civilian aviation history. It takes a number of years for such products to not feel overly commercial (the irony), but with these watches, you truly do not get the sense that Breitling was excited to help sell more watches because of a collaboration with TWA. Instead, it feels like Breitling had the fun idea to do something related to TWA that helped everyone involved as a result.

Hands-On: The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 TWA, PAN-AM, & Swissair 'Capsule Collection' Watches Hands-On

More specifically, looking at each of the “Civil Aviation Capsule Collection” watches, the Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 PAN-AM Edition leads the pack in price with its blue and red dial, given that it comes on a matching steel mesh metal bracelet. We then have the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 Swissair Edition with a black, white, and red dial (my favorite of the bunch) with a simple black nubuck leather strap. Finally, there is the Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 TWA Edition that has a cream and red dial with matching brown nubuck leather strap.

Advertisement

Hands-On: The Breitling Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 TWA, PAN-AM, & Swissair 'Capsule Collection' Watches Hands-On

What is a capsule collection in regard to these watches? Well, I think it means that they are limited-distribution watches (you likely won’t be able to buy them everywhere) that will be produced as long as both partners want them to. I don’t believe either of these watches will be produced in very high numbers, but there is a good chance they will be produced for at least a few years and with at least a few thousand pieces each. We really enjoyed wearing these fun Breitling “civil aviation” watches in the Navitimer Bo1 Chronograph 43 collection and are happy the 1970s colors are elegant enough for regular display on your wrist. Price is $8,275 USD for the watch on the strap and $9,160 USD for the watch on the bracelet. See more at the Breitling website here.

Explore

Comments

Disqus Debug thread_id: 7567311788

  • Swiss_Cheese

    Breitling are having a case of ‘Speedmaster Fever’ with the Navitimer lineup lately – so many different editions it’s hard to keep track of. Also, a nearly $1k price hike for what I’m assuming is a fairly standard deployant Milanese bracelet is a tad steep I would have thought.

  • H.S.M.

    Ah, the PAN-AM is gorgeous. Really nice colour selection and placement.
    But if we look at readability the TWA takes the cake.
    Not a fan of having prints on a see-through case back though. Wonder if one can order without the print on it.

  • SPQR

    “What is a capsule collection in regard to these watches? Well, I think it means that they are limited-distribution watches (you likely won’t be able to buy them everywhere) that will be produced as long as both partners want them to.”
    As TWA and Pan Am no longer exist as corporate entities the only “partner” for Breitling is Swiss Air so I do not understand what is meant by this assertion that these watches fall into a “capsule collection” because of an association with a “partner” organisation. In reality the watches form a “capsule collection” simply because they are all civil aviation themed watches drawing on the aesthetic of the 1970s style airline colours and logos. There is no need to manufacture an imagined “partner” co-operation to draw this conclusion.
    The refreshing aspect of the watches is that there is no contrived or manufactured military aviation theme going on here as there is with the Navitimer 8 Curtiss watches (or the majority of Bremont’s marketing guff).

  • Hope there’s a Ryanair version coming out as well.

    • Sheez Gagoo

      The one with the white dial already could serve as the “Ryanair”. Take the plasticcrystal from the last iteration and spray the strap with a melange of farts and Pringles and and sou have the cheapy sentiment of a flight from Belpmoos to Palma.

    • farar

      With Ryanair version, the price tag is only for the strap. Everything else – case, dial, handset, calibre and glass – is paid special.

  • hatster

    Unfortunately those transfers on the case-backs make it looks like you picked them up from an in-flight mag…

  • Jared

    did the photography guy take the day off or is this watch’s glare so much worse than every single other watch?

  • Raymond Wilkie

    Busy busy busy,………..my head hurts.

    • TheZondaS

      It’s a Navitimer, what were you expecting? Some minimalist Bauhaus-ish styling?

      • Raymond Wilkie

        No.

  • DanW94

    Men in suits and women in dresses, smoking on the plane, ample leg room, practically no security measures, hot stewardesses, open cockpits, good food and plenty of booze. Man, it must have been a pleasure to fly back then. As for the watches, that pale blue dial is about as unsightly as the large woman with the see-through stretch pants and flip flops with the crying baby you were fortunate enough to be crammed next to on your impending 8 hour flight.

  • BNABOD

    check out the paint job at the bottom of the hour and minute hands….

    • Mikita

      Exquisite!

      • BNABOD

        Only the best

  • ray h.

    I would have thought it was a real exploitable moment when zodiac did the blue and orange gmt that sold out in an hour or 2 but no one showed up with the same exact color ways. So stupid and or slow is still the watch way. You may never have your color combo unless you buy just this watch.

  • joseph miller

    Will probably add all of these to my collection, I love Navitimers and love these color combos. Are they for everyone? No, but I doubt that was there plan. Not that it really matters but I get more compliments and questions, from random people, when wearing one of my Navitimers then I do about any other watch I own.

  • Drop files here or
    Accepted file types: jpg, png.