Breitling, now helmed by ex-IWC CEO Georges Kern, returned to Baselworld with a clutch of new models that emphasizes its new product philosophy. The Grenchen-based brand is best known for its chunky Navitimer chronographs but the addition of a simple three-hander in a small, almost unisex, size was one of the highlights of its collection this year.
The Navitimer 1 Automatic 38 harks back to the 1950s and takes its inspiration from the Breitling Reference 66, a three-hand watch which had Navitimer printed on the lower part of the dial. Although the Navitimer 1 looks nothing like the Reference 66 – which looked more like a dress watch with its diminutive case, domed dial and classic styling – it still is the purest representation of the Navitimer legacy.
The watch is encased in a 38 mm case that’s 10.10 mm thin and is available in stainless steel with a hot new bezel. The redesigned ratcheted beaded bi-directional stainless steel bezel lends the watch an elegant look. The watch is also available in a stainless steel version with an 18K red gold bezel. The case is water-resistant to 30 meters.
The dial features the distinct aviation slide rule, long associated with the Navitimer, and is available in a blue or black dial on the stainless steel models and on a silver dial with the one that has the red gold bezel. The slide rule sits on the outer edge of the dial. The blue dial version, with the outer slide rule track in contrasting cream color, is the best looking of the lot. It is paired with a blue alligator leather strap with a pin buckle.
The watch is powered by Breitling Caliber 17, the brand’s hot-rodded version of the ETA 2824-2 movement. The 4 Hz movement is COSC-certified and has a power reserve of 30 hours. Priced at around $4,000, this is a good looking watch from Breitling. Its 38 mm case size ensures that the watch has unisex appeal, something that the brand could really do with now.