Earlier this year, Breitling added a new model to its trending series of all-black themed timepieces. The Breitling Navitimer 46, which is the oversized version of the brand’s cult pilot’s chronograph Navitimer, was issued in Blacksteel concept and sporting some new features. We put that all-black and beefed-up classic under the wire.
As the name speaks for itself, the Breitling Navitimer 46 Blacksteel is offered in a 46mm case. While the iconic design of the classic Navitimer remained the same (thanks to the cleverly arranged proposition) the stainless steel case is now made of Blacksteel –a new alloy from Breitling featuring carbon based treatment to give the blackish appearance.
I would like to add my opinions here. Personally, I am not a big fan of all-black watches but I like the concept, and am pretty happy to see that the technical methods for obtaining the black parts are getting more advanced. Fine ceramics are arguably the best way for all-black watches in terms of durability, but coatings techniques are also got better. My 7 year old Ulysse Nardin Marine Master Diver Black Ocean still doesn’t have any scratches on its case. Even the clasp is free of scratches... However, things get different when the subject is “appeal”. The Breitling Navitimer is truly a classic watch. It was designed for a purpose, and that purpose was pretty professional. Though I am not against the all-black concept, I think some watches look good with that while some other don’t... And I put the Breitling Navitimer 46 Blacksteel to the second group as the Navitimer itself is way too classic and iconic to be fiddled around.
Like all Breitling Navitimer models since the original version launched in 1952, this new model features the rotating circular slide rule bezel as well. Originally, the bezel is used for calculations about for airborne navigation and the bezel on our Breitling Navitimer 46 Blacksteel does the same. The case features a black winding crown and a pair of chronograph pushers to match with the tactical look. Both sides of the case sport AR coated sapphire crystals for improved legibility. The water resistance is set at 30 meters, which seems to be lower than today’s standards –even for a flight chronograph.
Let’s get to the dial. The dial design strongly resembles the original version. Unlike the classic Navitimer model, however, this one has two, rather than three, sub dials — a 30-minute chronograph counter at 3 o’clock, and a small seconds at 9 o’clock. The date display is located at 6 o’clock position ( my favorite place ) and it sports a black background date wheel which successfully preserves the integrity of the black surface dial. The cleverly added red accents, including the central sweep-seconds chronograph hand and sub dial hands, brings heat to the stealth look.
The watch contains Breitling’s in-house Caliber 01; a self-winding, COSC certified movement with an integrated 1/4-second chronograph function. The movement beats at 28,800vph and offers a 70-hour power reserve when fully wound. The version of Caliber 01 used in the Breitling Navitimer 46 Blacksteel sports a blackened rotor to match the case, and it is visible through the sapphire caseback.
The other distinctive feature of this new Navitimer is the black rubber strap, which bears an aircraft tire-tread pattern. The rubber strap provides utmost wearing comfort with the folding clasp and fits with the overall design nicely.
Actually, I like the watch. But what I like about the watch is mostly not related to its Navitimer identity. I like the blackened stainless steel and the tire-tread pattern a lot. Even the 46mm case looked OK with the all-black design. However, I still do not think the Navitimer is the best watch to match with the concept.