A long time companion to aviators around the globe, Breitling watches have become synonymous with a style and precision shared by very few watch manufacturers. Similar to Tag Heuer, Breitling was founded in the late 1800s (1884) in the town of St. Imer, Switzerland by Leon Breitling. Breitling had initially started the company with the intent of creating high-precision chronographs for explicit use in industrial and scientific purposes. It was his belief that this market sector represented a yet untapped opportunity.
Sadly, Leon died in 1914 around the start of WWI and his visionary son Gaston took over. Gaston, an aviation buff realized that pilots of the time did not have an accurate tool for keeping time in their planes and many had inferior wristwatches. To capitalize on this finding, Gaston created the very first wrist watch chronograph and distributed it to pilots, these would become the very first Breitling wristwatches ever produced.
As the years went on, the business flourished and in 1932, Gaston’s son Willy took over and negotiated an exclusive contract with the RAF, solidifying the relationship between Breitling watches and the Aviation industry. In 1952, Breitling would further their aviation emphasis with the release of the Navitimer. This ingenious watch featured a unique “”navigation computer”” capable of handling all required flight plan calculations, fulfilling a need no other watch could and quickly endearing itself with among pilots around the world. Their future watches were so technologically superior that in 1962, Astronaut Scott Carpenter wore one into outer space.
In the ensuing years, Breitling would release a series of unique and innovative watches but none so impactful as the Breitling emergency watch series. This unique series of Breitling watches allows the owner to broadcast at the uses the 121.5 MHz distress frequency for up to 48 hours. The signal has a range of up to 100 miles on a flat terrain and 20,000 feet in the air and is one of the main frequencies that first responders monitor in the event of a disaster or missing person. To date, the watch has reportedly saved 21 lives and is so effective that Bear Grylls from Man VS. Wild is regularly seen wearing one on the show as he ventures into the wilderness alone.
Breitling watches represent wisdom, class and a unique sense of taste not easily replicated by other luxury watches. With 100 years of innovation and a rich aviation history, a Breitling is a one of a kind watch.