Founded by watchmaker Leon Breitling in Saint-Imier in 1884, Breitling is a luxury watchmaker with a difference. Still based in the World’s watchmaking capital of Switzerland to this day, the company is renowned globally for the precision and quality of its timepieces.
Since the early days, Breitling has focused whole-heartedly on quality, and is one of the very few companies still to produce its own mechanical chronograph movements, which are entirely developed and manufactured in its own workshops. Referring to their timepieces as “instruments for professionals”, the company is dedicated like no other to retaining watchmaking excellence, with the development of the Breitling Chronometrie in La Chaux-de-Fonds a testament to this. This state of the art facility sees every element of a watch’s build monitored by a sophisticated computer program, as well as manually by those at workstations.
Purposed for sports, science and industry, Breitling has released a range of World-renowned models, which walked hand-in hand with the boom in competitive sports and automotive manufacture. More famous, however, is the company’s link to aviators, with a range of innovations and breakthrough models corresponding with man’s years conquering the skies.
As well as coming with a sterling reputation today, Brietling has a fascinating history of innovations, retaining a family-owned feel and heritage along the way. Specialising in technical watches, Breitling played a crucial role in the development of the wrist chronograph. Indeed, Leon Breitling’s invention of the first independent chronograph pushpiece in 1915 – as well as a few tweaks in the next 20 years - heralded in the emergence of the wrist chronograph which we know today.
Another marked breakthrough of the company occurred in 1969, when the Breitling Brand presented the World’s first self-winding chronograph movement. These innovations have continued through the years, with the creation of the celebrated high-performance self-winding movement – the Breitling Caliber 01 – taking place as recently as 2009, and a range of other modifications having taken place since. What’s more, Breitling have taken electronic watchmaking in their stride too, with their “Emergency” feature representing the World’s first watch technology featuring a dual frequency personal locator beacon.
Breitling’s most famous breakthroughs, however, are undoubtedly in the field of aeronautics. The company’s claim that “you simply don’t become an official supplier to world aviation by chance” could not be truer; in 1962 Breitling supplied astronaut Scott Carpenter a Breitling Navitimer which he would take on-board the space capsule Aurora 7. The company’s models have also been used by many of the World’s armed forces, as well as to this day by elite aerobatics teams, where precision can mean the difference between life and death. The accuracy of the on-board chronographs which Breitling create make the company the perfect match for pioneers of the skies so the natural tie between the company and the pursuit of aerial mastery has remained to this day.
Breitling is one of the World’s last fully independent luxury Swiss watchmakers, with each model embodying the company’s flawless pursuit of functionality and precision. If you’re looking for a high-performance timepiece, infallibly tied with one of man’s proudest achievements, look no further than the Global Watch Shop Breitling collection.