Breitling has used Baselworld as the perfect stage for the international debut of the limited-edition Breitling Navitimer 1959 Re-Edition, based closely on the classic pilot chronograph, which has been a familiar sight in cockpits since its creation 1952. The historical remake is limited to 1959 pieces, in a nod to the 1959 model’s 60th anniversary, and is proving to be a hit thanks to its iconic `beads of rice’ edge, faceted lugs, and domed plexiglass crystal – a bold and unusual step away from the sapphire crystal seen on the majority of modern watches.
Although the updated model remains faithful to the original Navitimer aesthetics, the new version’s movement, previously powered by a Venus 178, has been replaced with Breitling’s hand-wound, vertical-clutch COSC-certified Caliber B09, which boasts almost 70 hours of power reserve.
The 41mm stainless-steel case encircles a timeless black dial with faux patina lume Arabic numerals, which is complemented by a vintage-style black leather strap and steel pin buckle. The distinctive rotating, beaded slide-rule bezel – which, like the specific 1959 version, has 94 beads – has long been a useful feature for pilots, who can use it for vital manual flight calculations, and has become a defining aspect of the Navitimer.
The Re-Edition stays very close to home, and has kept the vintage-style closed case back which simply displays the Breitling logo in the centre. The detailed, tricompax dial with tone-on-tone also bears a very close resemblance to the vintage version, and the only other amendments to mention are the increased water resistance to 30 metres and the use of Super-LumiNova for the hour indices and numerals.
Ultimately, the real achievement of this now contemporary timepiece, which costs £6,520, is the way it has retained the original aesthetics, replicating the 1959 version with incredible accuracy, grace, and respect to the revered and treasured Navigator watch.