Breitling’s New Navitimer 41 and Cosmonaute B12 Celebrate 140 Years of Innovation

Watchmaker commemorates its rich aviation and space exploration legacy with a range of exciting releases.

By YourLuxury Africa

Breitling’s Navitimer takes centre stage as the brand marks its 140th anniversary, with sports luminaries Erling Haaland and Giannis Antetokounmpo fronting the campaign around the Navitimer GMT and Automatic 41, alongside a special limited-edition self-winding Cosmonaute.

Reaching this historic milestone prompts Breitling to reflect on its trailblazing achievements, from revolutionising timekeeping in the air, on land, and at sea to pioneering sustainability initiatives. In March 2024, the spotlight is on new iterations of the Navitimer, hailed as the inaugural wristwatch integrating a chronograph and a slide rule for pilots, and the Cosmonaute, a 24-hour adaptation of the Navitimer that made history as the first Swiss wristwatch worn in space. The new tool watches are the Navitimer GMT and Automatic 41, as well as the self-winding Cosmonaute.

“All this year, we’ll be talking about our 140 Years of Firsts,” says Breitling CEO Georges Kern. “And when it comes to these two watches—the Navitimer and Cosmonaute—you cannot overstate the significance they’ve had for our brand, for aviation, and for watchmaking as a whole.”

Breitling played a pivotal role in the evolution of commercial aviation, with its timepieces becoming standard equipment onboard propeller planes and, eventually, cutting-edge jets. The introduction of the Navitimer in 1952 revolutionised air travel, offering pilots a groundbreaking circular slide rule for vital calculations like ascent rates and fuel usage. Renowned for its functionality and style, the Navitimer quickly earned its place as the preferred wristwatch of airline pilots, establishing Breitling as the “Official supplier to world aviation.”

Over the years, the Navitimer’s fame extended beyond aviation circles, capturing the hearts of trendsetters such as Miles Davis and Serge Gainsbourg, becoming an enduring symbol in both aviation and popular culture. Breitling began redesigning the Navitimer line in 2022, starting with the chronograph and now revealing the GMT and a three-hand Automatic model, each boasting a versatile 41mm size.

In 1962, Breitling responded to astronaut Scott Carpenter’s request to adapt the Navitimer for space exploration, creating the Cosmonaute. Now, in honour of Breitling’s 140th anniversary, a limited edition of this 24-hour timepiece is unveiled. It features a self-winding chronograph movement, the Breitling manufacture calibre B12, housed in an 18k red-gold case. The look is completed with a striking green dial and black alligator leather strap.

Inspired by the pioneering spirit of astronauts and tailored for everyday wear, the new Cosmonaute limited edition artfully melds heritage with contemporary sophistication.

As the Navitimer enters its seventh decade, it transcends its utility as a pilot’s instrument to become a timeless emblem of personal journeys. Breitling celebrates this symbolic significance in its “NAVITIMER – FOR THE JOURNEY” campaign series, featuring the Navtimer Squad comprising basketball icon Giannis Antetokounmpo, American Ballet Theatre principal dancer Misty Copeland, explorer Bertrand Piccard, and Oscar-winning actor and producer Charlize Theron. Joining Antetokounmpo in the Navitimer 41 campaign is football sensation Erling Haaland.

Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and don’t miss out on regular updates from the YourLuxury Africa team on all things luxurious, beautiful and inspiring.