Like no other brand, Breitling stands for the arrival of the chronograph function in the watchmaking industry. The forefather of this development is company founder Léon Breitling, who was famous for his stopwatches and other timekeeping instruments.
Starting in 1884, Léon Breitling’s workshop in Saint-Imier primarily manufactured timepieces used in the military as well as in industry and science. Over the years, the company has been able to continuously optimise their measurement accuracy. However, it was Gaston Breitling, son of the founder, who first combined the timekeeping function with a pocket watch, which was revolutionary at the time.
Willy Breitling, grandson of the founder, ushered in a significant new era for the luxury brand. It was he who designed the legendary Navitimer explicitly for pilots in the early 1950s. The watch not only had a stopwatch function but was also equipped with a slide rule for flight calculations, making it a must-have for pilots, airlines and aircraft manufacturers. Since then, Breitling has set one trend after another, working with famous stars such as Sean Connery, jazz legend Miles Davis, astronaut Scott Carpenter and Formula One driver Jim Clark. Breitling, with its factories in Saint-Imier, Grenchen and La Chaux-de-Fonds, remains the watch brand for chronographs to this day.
«If asked who sent the first wristband chronograph into space, most people would probably guess Omega. The truth is that Breitling was in space before Omega – on the wrist of astronaut Scott Carpenter in 1962.»