“You simply don’t become official supplier to world aviation by chance.”
Breitling is well-known for its reputation as the “official supplier to world aviation”, but how did the luxury Swiss brand gain such a privileged status?
Building on an existing reputation for precision and sturdiness, Breitling began producing onboard chronographs for aircraft cockpits in the early 1930s. Aviation pioneers had always shown an interest in Breitling watches, valuing their reliability and efficiency, and the addition of onboard chronographs soon earned the brand worldwide fame. These instruments became indispensable to secure piloting and were extremely successful with various armed forces, including the Royal Air Force which used them to equip its famous propeller-driven fighter planes in World War II.
In 1952, Breitling secured its ties with the world of aviation with the launch of the legendary Navitimer. These famous Breitling watches featured a circular slide rule which served to perform all navigation-related calculations, and soon became a cult object for pilots and aviation enthusiasts. The Breitling Navitimer has been continuously manufactured ever since, making it the world’s oldest mechanical chronograph still in production.
During the boom of commercial aviation in the 50s and 60s, Breitling’s onboard chronograph became standard equipment, first on the propeller-driven planes and later on the jet aircraft of many aeroplane manufacturers and airline companies. It was this key role that led to the status of “official supplier to world aviation”.
Today, Breitling watches are synonymous with aviation and the brand cooperates with some of the world’s most elite pilots. A number of exceptional teams fly under the Breitling name, including the famous aerobatic Breitling Jet Team and the Breitling Wingwalkers. Discover more about Breilting’s history in this fascinating film.