Breitling recently debuted a new capsule collection of watches called the Navitimer 1 Airline Editions that harkens back to the 1950s and 1960s, often referred to as the “golden era” of commercial airplane travel.

According to Breitling, “Its onboard chronographs became standard equipment, first in propeller-driven planes and later in the jets produced by the world’s leading aircraft manufacturers.”

Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 Pan Am and SwissAir Editions
Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 PANAM and SWISSAIR Editions

Following their integration into airplane cockpits as professional instruments and gauges, in 1952 Breitling Navitimer wrist-worn chronograph was launched (approximately three years before the vaunted Rolex GMT-Master). At the time the circular slide rule bezel allowed pilots to make critical calculations such as to compute speed and remaining fuel and thanks to its success Breitling eventually went on to become the preferred supplier of more than 15 leading companies and aircraft manufacturers by the 1960s.

Today, intercontinental flights are, of course, far more common, and with smartphones and smartwatches, reliance on watches is not as necessary, but Breitling has created a collection of modern retro Navitimers that are reminiscent of those glory days, and to start they’ve selected two important brands: SwissAir and Pan Am. The former which is still in operation and the latter which no longer exists.

Breitling Navitimer SwissAir on Ocean Racer bracelet
Breitling Navitimer SwissAir on Air Racer bracelet

Each model, the Navitimer 1 PANAM Edition and Navitimer 1 SwissAir Edition, has its respective logo emblazoned on the sapphire crystal caseback, with a partially visible Breitling caliber B01 chronograph underneath.

The cases are stainless steel and measure 43 mm in diameter, which is a contemporary size compared to the smaller diameter of the Navitimers that started in the 1950s.

Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 Pan Am and SwissAir Edition casebacks
Breitling Navitimer 1 B01 Chronograph 43 Pan Am and SwissAir Edition casebacks

Both versions have vibrant color schemes on the dial, the prerequisite slide rule bezel, and rectangular hour and minute hands. There are a variety of straps and the choice of a steel mesh or Air Racer bracelet. The retail price has not been announced yet.

Vintage Breitling Navitimer Advertisement
1950s Breitling advertisement, for the plane, for the pilot, featuring the iconic Navitimer. (PPR/Breitling)
Posted by:Jason Pitsch

Jason is the founder of Professional Watches and specializes in writing, product photography, and digital marketing.