At the Baselworld 2018 exhibition, Breitling introduced a number of new models including the Breitling Navitimer 8 B01 that was inspired by a vintage Breitling model from the brand’s rich archive. The new model is the first model introduced in the era of George Kern, who took over the management of the brand recently with a surprising move.
Breitling, one of the cult names of the watchmaking industry with its aviation themed timepieces, witnessed one of the most unexpected transfers that the industry has seen recently. Richemont Group’s veteran manager, George Kern, surprisingly took over the brand in last June.
The Breitling Navitimer 8 B01, which we had the opportunity to see at the brand’s booth at the Baselworld 2018 exhibition, is also the first new model introduced under Georges Kern’s management.
The new model is named after a model which has been produced exclusively for the Huit Aviation Department (huit meaning "eight" in French) that Breitling set up in the 1930s to manufacture onboard chronographs regarding aviational purposes. Back then, the name Huit also referred to the model’s 8 days power reserve.
The new model is offered in a stainless steel case, designed with a diameter of 43mm and a thickness of 14.5mm. The case sports a “coin egde” style bezel which successfully completes the model’s Vintage character. The large, Breitling signed winding crown and the piston-type chronograph pushers are located at the right side of the case which bears elegantly detailed matt and polished finishes. The case is also water resistant to 100 meters, which is more than enough for daily use.
There are scratch resistant sapphire crystals on both sides of the case. Regarding the front sapphire crystal, let me add a brief info: In general, retro-inspired timepieces are equipped with box-type sapphire crystal with higher profiles in order to mimic the era-matching look of the vintage hesalite crystal models. Breitling Navitimer 8 B01 does not feature this visual detail however, the smoothly curved sides of the mirror polished bezel does the trick instead and boosts the Vintage appeal.
The dial of the new model is designed quite simple when compared to the classic Navitimer models which feature many indications and scales that allow the user to make various aviation related measurements. Designed referring to the original model’s era-popular Reverse Panda lay-out that features contrasting light colored sub-dials on a darker base, the dial is finished in a beautiful blue tone. Thanks to the SunRay pattern of the surface, the dial provides various blue tones under certain angles of light. All hands and indices are finished in plain white in order to offer the utmost legibility under every possible occasion. The dial is simple in terms of texts as well unlike the common Navitimer models and equipped with a date display window locate between 4 and 5 o’clock.
Breitling Navitimer 8 B01 is powered by the brand’s in-house Caliber Ref. B01 lives with. 46 jewels self-winding movement beats at 4Hz (28.800vph) and offers a power reserve up to 70 hours when fully wound. Featuring the classic Cotes de Genève patters on the bridges and the main plate, the C.O.S.C. certified movement is decently decorated as expected from Breitling standards and it is enjoyed through the sapphire crystal case back.
The new model comes on a blue alligator strap that is adorned with Breitling classic thick, contrast stitching. The strap nicely balances the watch on the wrist with its optimal thickness and Breitling signed stainless steel pin buckle.
I liked the new Breitling Navitimer 8 B01. Maybe a true novelty i.e. designed from scratch, would make me happier from Breitling as the brand embraced the Re-Issue and Heritage concepts for various product lines long before they stormed through the industry. However, there is no doubt that the Breitling Navitimer 8 B01 is a successful model and, as a matter of fact, taking into account the list price of 8080,00 CHF, it will impress many watch aficionados including brand’s loyal enthusiasts and many others that stayed distant to Navitimer model family till now.