The Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic is easily one of the most respected pilot’s watches on the market. First conceived in the 1950s, these watches were no-nonsense tools meant to help a pilot calculate ground speed or fuel consumption on the fly (hah). The Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 41 watch was an effort on the brand’s part to blend some of the expected Navitimer features into a highly functional timepiece, all the while maintaining that classic design we know and love. The Navitimer 1 draws much of its inspiration from the Navitimer 806, a simple three-hander released in the 1950s. The Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 41 is being released in two different 41mm-case versions. The first is an all stainless steel construction, and the second has a stainless steel case but is accompanied by an 18k red gold bezel. (Previously, these were only available in 38mm, seen here.) The Stainless steel version will be available in one of three dial colors: black, blue, and silver, whereas the red gold bezel version will be available with a silver or anthracite dial. The watch will be powered by Breitling’s chronometer-certified Caliber 17, which ticks away at 4hz and boasts a 38-hour power reserve. The watch is resistant to 3bar (30 meters) and will be available on either an alligator strap or a stainless steel bracelet.
We have several new releases from Breitling to announce today, and one of them just happens to be the first ladies’ watch of the the Georges Kern era. It’s a 38 mm three-hand automatic interpretation of what is arguably Breitling’s best-known design, the Navitimer. What this watch is not is a chronograph – a complication long associated with the Navitimer – though it does retain the familiar slide rule bezel. The Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 comes in steel as well as steel and gold. The available dial colors include blue, silver and black. It joins 43mm and 41mm Navitimers that also launch this year in Basel.
While this watch is being put forward as the first ladies’ timepiece to debut under Breitling’s new management, I’m fairly certain that plenty of vintage-watch-loving guys out there will find the 38mm diameter appealing. I, for one, plan to try one on later this week in Basel. At 38mm across x 10.10 mm thick, this watch is right in line with vintage sports watch dimensions. And the colors are far from what one might describe as “feminine.” If you read the Breitling website closely, you can see that Breitling is itself stoking the sense of ambiguity here.
On the Breitling Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 product page of the Breitling web site, you can read this: “Stylish and compact, the Navitimer 1 Automatic (38 mm) may be the smallest in diameter, but it is the ultimate statement of elegance and sophistication. The ideal accessory for the adventurous Breitling woman, it is available in steel and steel & gold with dial in black, blue or silver.”
On the page announcing this and 44 other novelties for Baselworld, the watch is described thus: “Other exciting releases included the Navitimer Automatic in 38 mm, a gentlemen’s tool watch combining elegance with vintage inspiration.”
This is a good looking, if somewhat watered-down version of the Navitimer. Given its appealing looks and refreshingly toned down dimensions, I could see it doing quite well with women and men who like smaller-sized sports watches. I quite like the black-dialed version with matching black date disc at six o’clock. I haven’t tried any of the new Breitlings on yet, but this looks like it’s going to be the most wearable of the lot.