Breitling has just launched a new pilot’s watch collection: the Navitimer 8. The 8 in its name is a nod to the Huit Aviation Department, which was set up in 1938 to produce cockpit instruments as well as classic pilot’s watches for civilian and military use. At the time, Willy Breitling chose the name “Huit,” the French word for “eight,” as a reference to the eight-day power reserve offered by its storied cockpit instruments.
Georges Kern, Breitling’s CEO since the summer of 2017, is particularly excited about the new product line. According to Georges Kern the brand is honouring not only their rich heritage but also the brand's pioneering role in building chronograpic instruments.
The Navitimer 8 family introduces five distinct models that are worthy heirs to watchmaking’s richest aviation tradition, drawing heavily on Breitling’s design DNA and the technical features of the first board clocks and pilot’s wristwatches as well as on the Huit Aviation Department’s commitment to quality.
Huit Aviation had distinguished itself by putting its products through a series of rigorous challenges. It subjected each instrument to extreme temperatures and vibrations before checking its timekeeping precision with oscilloscopes. The Department’s commitment to quality was rewarded as it immediately attracted the attention of military aviators and, ahead of World War II, received a large order for chronographs from the Royal Air Force.
The new watches resurrect some of the design values of the Huit Aviation Department’s onboard clocks – especially in terms of the dials and bezels – as well as Breitling’s iconic pilot’s watch, Reference 768, with the rotating bezel and distinctive triangular pointer that made it a favorite among pilots. Just as important were the luminous hands against black dials, a combination that offered easy readability in any lighting conditions, and which also contributed to Breitling’s aviation heritage. The Navitimer 8 watches recall the uncompromising flair of that earlier era.
It starts with the eye-catching case: with the typical notches on the bezel, its contrasting satin and polished surfaces and its artfully shaped lugs, it offers – from the very first glance – a compelling blend of sportiness and elegance.