The Navitimer 8 Chronograph model, by Breitling, which is one of the first brands that come to mind when it gets to pilot watches, expresses the brand's great aviation heritage with its all-black outfit.
You know those watches that claim to offer many features at the same time. Stylish, sporty, basic, complications … The list goes on and on... When put all those features into a single watch, we may have a long list of functions but the actual outcome may not always be satisfactory. Not managing to do one thing right while trying to get everything right is mostly as easy as pie.
On the other hand, I am looking at the Breitling Navitimer 8 Chronograph 43 Blacksteel. Considering its size and features, I'd call it a sports watch. But then, it has so basic lines that it reflects its sportiness in the most traditional way possible. Chronographs can be eye-straining with their busy dials. Not with the Breitling Navitimer 8 Chronograph 43 Blacksteel. The chronograph pushers, the bezel and the dial are all designed with smooth lines. In short, every single detail of the model not only reflects the perfect harmony of form and function, but also proves that being remarkable is possible without being flamboyant.
I always like Breitling's Blacksteel models. I must admit that the dark gray color suits this watch much better than the others. DLC coated case, measuring 43mm x 14,17mm, is equipped with an AR coated scratch resistant sapphire crystal on the front side and is water resistant to 100 meters. Chronograph pushers are not screw-in type and are very practical to use. The bezel, produced from the same material as the case, is bi-directional. The total weight of the model is 102.37gr. And I have to say that the beige accents on the dial are in perfect harmony with the all-black theme of the watch.
My biggest criticism about the model is for the movement inside. 25 jewels self-winding movement beats at a frequency of 4Hz (28.800vph) and offers a power reserve of 42 hours when fully wound. The model is powered by the Caliber Ref. 13, which is actually based on the famous ETA Valjoux 7750 movement. I think it would be nice to have a manufacture caliber inside the model. Fortunately, the Valjoux 7750 is a fine movement that has proven itself for years as a purposeful and quality caliber.
The model comes on a black calf leather strap that is secured with a DLC coated stainless steel clasp that are both very good quality. As a watch enthusiast who always want to use his timepieces with different strap options, 23mm lug-wight does not seem to be the best size. Since this size is not a regular one for most of the producers, going for model-specific options may be necessary. Sticking with the original strap is always an option too, of course.
Breitling Navitimer 8 Chronograph 43 Blacksteel is not the most affordable watch with a MSRP of 6850.00 USD. On the other hand, I believe it has a strong position among its rivals considering what you get for what you paid for. DLC coating is no longer preferred for black case models. Manufacturers, who are going for ceramic cases lately, are forced to pull the prices up quite a bit due to the expensive nature of the material. As a result, the black DLC coated stainless steel case and the work horse Valjoux 7750, which I have just criticized, are also the reasons for Breitling Navitimer 8 Chronograph 43 Blacksteel's nicer price compared to its competitors.