For Baselworld 2019, Breitling has just announced the re-edition of the legendary Breitling Navitimer ref. 806 from 1959. In 1952, Breitling developed the Navitimer, a revolutionary wristwatch chronograph that instantly became a mainstay of every cockpit. It was worn by pilots for some of aviation’s most impressive developments, thanks to an innovative slide rule that enabled them to make all critical flight calculations. The new Navitimer ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition, celebrates one of the most iconic early designs of the Navitimer, released exactly 60 years ago. A first for the brand, the re-edition of the ref. 806 marks the subsequent launches also planned for the future. The new Breitling Navitimer ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition is a chronograph that replicates the design codes of one of the most venerated early Navitimers almost to the smallest detail.
In celebration of the year this specific design was produced, it has been created in an edition limited to 1959 pieces, all individually numbered and engraved on the case back. First developed in 1952, the Breitling Navitimer is not only the most iconic of all Breitling wristwatches but also one of the industry’s few true legends.
Thanks to a circular slide rule enabling the wearer to make all critical calculations they might need when in the air, the Navitimer was quickly adopted by pilots and especially favored by the AOPA —Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association— in the United States of America. Its status would be further enhanced in the 1960s when it was worn by cult figures such as jazz great Miles Davis and Formula 1 champion Jim Clark. Below a picture of a historical ref. 806 from 1959 courtesy of the Breitling collection.
Things to Know About the Watch
The Breitling Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition has been created with painstaking attention to every detail of the 1959 Navitimer design. Like its predecessor, it has an all black dial with tone-on-tone subdials and, recreating one of the signature elements of the original Navitimers ref. 806 in 1959, the dial is adorned with a Breitling inscription in capital letters and an unsigned winged logo. A little-known fact is that the unsigned winged logo was used for the European market, while the watches sold in the U.S. had an AOPA-signed logo.
The Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition sports a stainless steel case measuring 40.9 mm in diameter and 13.43 mm in thickness. Honoring the original ref. 806, the watch is fitted with a convex acrylic crystal —plexiglas— and a black vintage-inspired leather strap with pin buckle. The new Navitimer ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition has a rotating beaded bezel made of precisely 94 notches, exactly the number found on the 1959 model. In the course of the production period for the original Navitimer Ref. 806, the number of these notches varied from as many as 125 in the early 1950s to as few as 93 in 1960. This may be a small detail, but for enthusiasts of historical wristwatches, it is an important one.
Even the stainless steel case has been developed specifically for the Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition mirroring the same lugs profile and finish as the original Ref. 806. In fact, the only concessions to modernity are the water resistance, which has been increased to 30 meters and the vintage-colored superluminova coating. While this is a modern material, very special attention has been paid to its color to ensure it remains faithful to the luminescent material on earlier watches. Its hand-finished application gives the dial an additional touch of vintage allure and character.
Breitling CEO Georges Kern knows that the new watch will find an enthusiastic audience: “In the past year, we’ve been thrilled to learn that there are so many people who have always been passionate about Breitling’s legacy and that there’s enormous interest not only in our new products but also in our heritage and our early timepieces. The new Navitimer Ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition will give new Breitling fans and people who have followed the brand for decades a chance to own and enjoy their own exclusive piece of our legendary past.”
In respect to the original manual caliber that powered the early Navitimer, a completely new manual wound movement has been developed. The new in-house Breitling Manufacture Calibre B09 is based off of the brand’s renowned in-house Manufacture Caliber 01 and is a COSC-certified chronometer. This movement with a power reserve of 70 hours is equipped with a vertical clutch and a column-wheel mechanism and beats at a frequency of 28,800 vph. The new Breitling Navitimer ref. 806 1959 Re-Edition is available in a limited edition of 1,959 pieces.
Sticker Price $8,600 USD. For more info on Breitling click here.