If you are a watch lover, you have most likely seen the all-new Breitling Navitimer 8 on the Internet already since the traveling introductory “road show” has been going on around the world throughout the past month. Here, however, we bring you our interpretation of this new collection and why it matters. In fact, we bring you four things you need to know about the new Breitling Navitimer 8 line and about Georges Kern as he maneuvers through his first full year as global CEO of Breitling.

The Navitimer 8 is Kern’s first product launch at Breitling.

This matters because Georges Kern, the previous head of IWC Schaffhausen for many years, has to make this first effort out of the gate a real success. To that end, he has put a great deal of effort into every aspect of the new Navitimer 8 from advertising and positioning to pricing, message and more. When Kern left IWC – after incredible success building the brand – to head up (and partially own) Breitling, everyone in the watch world waited with baited breath to see what he would do. This traveling road show – complete with press conferences, workshops, and, in typical Kern style, lavish parties fully emceed and attended by celebrities and athletes alike – demonstrates that Kern is fully committed to building Breitling into what could become a household name. At the event, Kern shared his vision for Breitling’s future, and proudly rolled out a plan that he said would take Breitling into a “legendary future.”

Breitling CEO Georges Kern

Georges Kern is not accustomed to defeat and has a grand plan for Breitling.

Georges Kern makes no bones about it. With him at the helm, it is a new Breitling we are going to see. In addition to this new Navitimer 8 collection (which rids the watch of the slide-rule function), we will be seeing redesigned boutiques that will now be called lofts, and that will boast a more industrial 1970’s inspired design with metal and brick accents and a more muted Breitling yellow thanks to bronze-colored screenings. We will witness the unveiling of an all-new Breitling ad campaign – sans the sexy women fawning all over the male pilots. We will see an intense pairing down of product, with all collections experiencing a good weeding out. Some lines may even disappear. We will also see four or five new pieces join the collection, such as the Navitimer 8 – all inspired by the past and adapted to move firmly into the future. We will also witness a more structured price range for the brand, with $3,500 to $9,000 as the core.

Breitling Reference 768, an early icon.

Additionally, we will witness the coming out of Breitling. “Pilot’s watches are a niche category of timepieces, and big pilots watches make us a niche inside a niche — able to attract only a small segment of the market,” says Kern. “Breitling – despite its strong association – was never just about aviation. Breitling was in sports, music, science, and culture and also offered elegant ladies watches in the past. We will recall that heritage, looking back to the 1930s, 1940s until the 1970s for inspiration. In addition to models from the current collection, we will produce smaller and more elegant products, always emphasizing our roots but paying attention to what today’s customers want.”

1941 advertisement for the Huit Aviation Department of Breitling.

The Breitling Navitimer 8 collection is wholeheartedly inspired by the past.

One of the first things Kern did upon joining Breitling in summer of 2017 was amp up his staff. He turned to those he trusted and brought several important people on board, including Creative Director Guy Bove. Working closely together, they rallied the newest Navitimer 8 collection into a bold series inspired by the past but geared for today’s active lifestyles. By combing through Breitling’s history, they found that in 1938, Willy Breitling founded the Huit (translated in French as eight) Aviation department to make eight-day power reserve onboard clocks. Breitling, already strong in the production of chronographs, including its patented first chronograph with two pushers, looked to the skies and aviation as the future. The brand unveiled pilot watches that were unrivaled in their features and functions. Similarly, the cockpit instruments made by Huit Aviation were rigorously tested for precision under extreme temperatures, vibrations and more – making them the instruments of choice for World War II by the Royal Air Force. Today, the new Navitimer 8 watch line pays tribute to that past but has a fresh, clean look geared to broaden Breitling’s niche pilot-watch notoriety, and to garner new lifestyle customers.

One of the onboard clocks made by the Huit Aviation Department of Breitling.

The Breitling Navitimer 8 family of watches is designed for a new generation of watch lovers.

There are five models in the Navitimer 8 series, each of which is designed to draw on Breitling’s rich Huit (eight) Aviation history. The Navitimer 8 watches recall the board clocks and watches made by the Huit Aviation Department, and each boasts a strict design code inspired by that era. The collection pays particular attention to dials and bezels, with luminous hands against black dials and other legibility consideration is taken into account. The case of the Navitimer 8 is finished with satin and polished surfaces, has shorter, more ergonomically shaped lugs and sports a notched bezel for a clean, sporty appeal.

Additionally, the typeface on the watch is inspired by the first pilot watch models and features large luminescent Arabic numerals. Small triangles, an outer railway minute counter and long minute markers are some of the other distinguishing features of the watches that recall Breitling’s glory days in 20th-century aviation timepieces. Naturally, all of the watches are made according to Breitling’s strict quality codes and use sapphire crystals with anti-reflective coating on both sides, and are water resistant to 100 meters. They offer power reserves ranging from 40 to more than 70 hours, depending on the model. Lastly, a bi-directional rotating bezel is a distinguishing feature of the Navitimer 8 watches.

The five models in the Breitling Navitimer 8 collection

* Breitling Navitimer 8 B01, powered by the in-house-made Breitling Caliber 01 chronograph and COSC-certified chronometer in 43mm stainless steel case with a blue or black dial, or in 18-karat 5N rose gold with a bronze-colored dial.

Breitling Navitimer 8 B01with black dial and black alligator strap.

Breitling Navitimer 8 Unitime, designed for world travelers and powered by the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B35. It offers world-time indication via an independent hour hand adjusted by the crown. This COSC-certified chronometer measures 43mm in diameter with sapphire case back and rotating bezel.

Breitling Navitimer 8 Unitime with silver dial and black alligator leather strap.

Breitling Navitimer 8 Chronograph, powered by the Breitling Cliaber13 and a COSC-certified chronometer. It is offered in stainless steel or in black DLC coated steel. It has a solid screwed case back.

Breitling Navitimer 8 Chronograph with blue dial and stainless steel bracelet.

Breitling Navitimer 8 Day & Date watch is an automatic timepiece powered d by the Breitling Caliber 45 with 40 days of power reserve. The 41mm case is crafted in steel.

Breitling Navitimer 8 Automatic Day Date watch.

Breitling Navitimer 8 Automatic, a clear descendent of the brand’s legendary watches from the 1930s and 1940s, powered by the Caliber 17 and offering 40 hours of power reserve. The 41mm COSC-certified chronometer watch is crafted in stainless steel.

Breitling Navitimer 8 Automatic with blue dial and stainless steel bracelet.

We are pleased to partner with ATimelyPerspective.com, the most authoritative source for watch reviews and news, to bring even more in-depth content to our blog. This article first appeared there.

March 21, 2018