1979 Aviation Navitimer
With a steel case of approximately 40mm (excluding crown) and black leather strap, the 1979 Aviation Navitimer is nearly identical to its Breitling counterparts, but present a tremendous value proposition compared with a Breitling-branded watch.
The archetypical pilots watch, Navitimers are one true icon of the genre. The slide rule bezel is the watch’s most recognized design feature. So it is what endeared the Navitimer to pilots in the analog era.
The Navitimer is a time-speed-distance flight computer, and by starting the chronograph on takeoff and stopping it on landing, the pilot is able to calculate his average flight speed via the bezel. Before GPS, this was an essential tool for navigation.
The Aviation brand name came to life when The Ollech & Wajs, a company founded in the 1950s and one of several groups who bought some of the Breitling properties, began producing Navitimers under this new brand.
Breitling established in 1892. While still around today, the company is no longer in the hands of the Breitling family. 1970 was a turbulent time for the Swiss watch industry.
That time, many-storied houses swept away for the Quartz Crisis. By 1978, Breitling was in trouble due to the illness of its leader. Willy Breitling, and the steep decline in sales that had befallen the entire industry.
The Navitimer was a large watch for its day. But perfectly sized to modern tastes. The dial is certainly has a lot going on. But that is what distinguishes the Navitimer from every other sports watch and lets someone in the know spot one from a mile away.
This particular piece is a wonderful example of an Aviation chronograph, with the classic Navitimer dial, in completely new old stock condition. We’re more than a little nostalgic for the days when these watches were such important tools for professionals. But now it’s our job as enthusiasts to be caretakers of watches from those good old days, and to share the stories of these fine mechanical instruments with you.
This Aviation pilot watch looks pretty familiar, right? No, this is not a lame Breitling Navitimer homage. Because this became the ideal watch for aviators to calculate distance and landing times. With the absence of electronic instruments in the plane dashboard, the only instrument a pilot could rely on was his Navitimer watch so, Pilots could measure several consecutive timing operations in a row without having to reset the hands.
Admittedly, Aviation Navitimer watches have a certain charm to them. They are not just portrayed as simple ornaments, rather as instrumental timepieces, Which was specially designed to meet the demands of pilots, whilst also being able to reliably function in adverse conditions.