At a press conference in Dubai, UAE, Breitling – the innovative Swiss watch brand – celebrated the Middle East launch of its new Navitimer 8 collection. Breitling’s new global CEO, Georges Kern, introduced the new models along with the brand’s next chapter, dubbed its ‘legendary future’. The event was part of Breitling’s international Roadshow which debuted in Shanghai in late January with further stopovers in Zurich, Munich, London and New York.
Georges Kern, who was named CEO of Breitling in the summer of 2017, discussed the brand’s rich heritage
and its direction. Mr. Kern has committed himself to taking Breitling into what he described as “a legendary future.” He expressed his excitement about the new product line, saying, “I am very proud to have the chance to introduce the new Navitimer 8 collection here in the Middle East. It pays homage both to the brand’s innovations and its accomplishments in the pioneering days of aviation and is also an indication of what lies ahead.”
During the press conference, Mr. Kern also announced that the brand will open a second Breitling Boutique in Dubai Mall, the world’s largest shopping mall, later this year.
Breitling’s Newest Collection: Innovating into a Legendary Future
The Navitimer 8 family introduces five distinct models that are worthy heirs to watchmaking’s richest aviation tradition, drawing heavily on Breitling’s design DNA and the technical features of the first board clocks and pilot’s wristwatches as well as on the Huit Aviation Department’s commitment to quality.
The 8 in its name is a nod to the Huit Aviation Department, which was set up in 1938 to produce cockpit instruments as well as classic pilot watches for civilian and military use. At the time, Willy Breitling chose the name “Huit,” the French word for “eight,” as a reference to the eight-day power reserve offered by its storied cockpit instruments.
It is also worth noting that Huit Aviation had distinguished itself by putting its products through a series of rigorous challenges. It subjected each instrument to extreme temperatures and vibrations before checking its timekeeping precision with oscilloscopes. The Department’s commitment to quality was rewarded as it immediately attracted the attention of military aviators and, ahead of World War II, received a large order for chronographs from the Royal Air Force.
Continuing a Great Tradition
Each of the five new models in the collection expresses a design code – conceived down to the minutest detail – with a high recognition value. Guy Bove, Creative Director at Breitling who fully immersed himself in the design of the board clocks and wristwatches created by the Huit Aviation Department, described the inspiration behind the Navitimer 8’s exterior design cues as follows: “With the Navitimer 8, we wanted to create a watch that was in line with our vision for the brand’s future, but which would also pay tribute to the great Breitling watches of the early to mid-twentieth century. From a design perspective, it occupies a unique position between Huit’s onboard clocks and the Navitimer.”
Resurrecting Design Values
The new watches resurrect some of the design values of the Huit Aviation Department’s onboard clocks – especially in terms of the dials and bezels – as well as Breitling’s iconic pilot’s watch, Reference 768, with the rotating bezel and distinctive triangular pointer that made it a favorite among pilots. Just as important were the luminous hands against black dials, a combination that offered easy readability in any lighting conditions, and which also contributed to Breitling’s aviation heritage. The Navitimer 8 watches recall the uncompromising flair of that earlier era.
It starts with the eye-catching case: with the typical notches on the bezel, its contrasting satin and polished surfaces and its artfully shaped lugs, it offers – from the very first glance – a compelling blend of sportiness and elegance.
For the typography of the large luminescent Arabic numerals on the dial of each new Navitimer 8 model, Guy Bove took inspiration from the style used on the first pilot’s watch models including the Reference 768. The small triangles and the long minute markers in the so-called railway minute tracks also recall those from some of Breitling’s great early wristwatch models, as do the luminescent skeletonized hour and minute hands, the latter’s length being matched precisely to the dial’s indexing. The beveled hands add a degree of sophistication and shine to the dial.
Each Navitimer 8 watch is water-resistant to 10 bar (100 meters). Their dials are all visible through sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating on both sides. The chronographs in the family offer power reserves ranging from 40 to more than 70 hours, depending on the model and movement.
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