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Breitling High-End Swiss Luxury Watches Complete Guide-Review

Updated on January 6, 2015


High-end Swiss luxury watch brands can be divided into two categories. One consists of all-purpose watchmakers like Patek Philippe, Omega, and Audemars Piguet – these companies develop timepieces on a long arch of specializations, including jewelry and fashion, diving and recreational sports, complications and functionality, casual wear, and more.

The other category comprises brands that prefer to focus on one or two niches: such is Tag Heuer (sports and racing), Ulysse Nardin (marine timers and chronometers) – and, in particular, Breitling, a Swiss brand that focuses almost exclusively on pilot's and aviation wrist instruments, with a few exceptions in favor of diver’s watches.

Each mode of operation has its advantages and disadvantages. For instance, going for everything at once might pose the risk of arriving at anything. Of course, one can hardly accuse Patek Philippe of that, but it's important to consider that in terms of pure functionality each of its watches can be outmatched by a smaller specializing brand.

Today, simply no other watch brand can outmatch Breitling for professional aviator timepieces.


Breitling rely heavily on vintage-inspired (1940s, 50s and 60s) functional design that principally prefers legibility and visibility to any decorative effects.

While recent additions gradually put on embellishments – for instance precious metals and stones, or Roman numerals – they will never compromise utility. The brand draws its authority from being an established watchmaker for professionals, and the aesthetic of its creations credibly reflects its character.


Subdials indicating time for the chronograph, calendar, and other type of information usually contrast strongly with the background (white on black is a very common combination): legibility, or, in other words, ease of read-off, stands out as one of several primary features that receive special attention in Breitling.

Resulting visual grid is functional (the iconic slide rule notably increases this effect), yet interesting enough to please the eye. Various women's models, as well as such collections as Colt, Avenger, and Superocean, pay particular attention to appearance, rendering the watches impressive dressy timepieces.


Breitling insist on equipping all of their watches (including quartz) with professional chronometer movements. Tested and approved by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, these calibers emerge as the company’s exceptionally reliable engineering backbone – their ubiquity in Breitling selection has become a sort of high-end luxury calling card.

Most commonly appearing complications include the chronograph, followed by such functions as second time zone, alarms, perpetual calendars, GMT indicators, and more. Professional timepieces contain

It’s important to remember that very few Swiss brands take such a total approach (chronometers everywhere), most usually designating dedicated collections to these enhanced precisions movements.


Click on the links to read dedicated reviews.

Like all major Breitling collections, the Navitimer is a department of its own. It houses several sections – each constituting a unique line of watches that has its aficionados – all of which carry the slide rule, a bezel attached calculation tool that has become the most iconic Navitimer utility. Models include Cosmonaute, Montbrillant, World, and Chrono-Matic.

Dial configurations gravitate strongly towards simple, reminiscent of medical instruments, design; it's a design in the service of function. The resulting look is still quite busy, as the numbers, indexes and the tracks fill the face almost to the brim.


Collections include:

Windrider watches adopt the chronograph complication as the primary function. As opposed to the Navitimer, these pieces display less crowded dials, and, unless color is employed, can present am almost awe-inspiring Spartan appearance.

Galactic steers the design towards the dressy and the casual, providing a kind of a conceptual pressure release valve, a point of rest from all the professional intensity of other Windrider, and in fact many other Breitling timepieces.


Professional timers begin to look less like watches and more like purposeful wrist instruments (a trend evident in Breitling in general, but here reaching new heights). Emergency, Aerospace, Airwolf, Skyracer, and Co-Pilot versions include a range of function and utilities, starting with a microtransmitter with its separate power source (transmits for 48 hours on 121.5 MHz frequency), auxiliary digital screens, oversized Arabic numerals, and more.

Like other offerings from this Swiss company, Professional pieces come equipped with a range of bands: leather straps, professional rubber straps (for divers), and classic or mesh stainless steel bracelets.


This collection is better known by its separate collections:

In many ways, these watches demonstrate a mature mix of features and visual design – a layout that contributed to their unprecedented popularity. Some of Breitling's newest additions are here, and the confidence the brand accumulated during the last century and the beginning of this one radiates from them.

As the title implies, this department hosts both aeronautical and marine timepieces, outfitted with enhanced water resistance, luminous coating for the hands&markers, unidirectional rotating bezels, and other relevant specs.


Breitling's association with Bentley (Like Jaeger LeCoultre and Aston Martin; or Panerai and Ferrari, this Swiss brand finds its own compatible luxury automaker) produced several collections: Motors, Mark VI, Supersports, GMT Carbon, and Flying B. The latter, however, is unique in that it offers the only Breitling square timepiece – this radical shift in design is, no doubt, one of the foremost attributes that make Flying B such a popular and desirable watch.

Design characteristics include Continental style influences – generous treatment of dial space, laid-back, luxurious decoration of the bezel and the face, vintage styling. Tourbillon complication makes a rare appearance.


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