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Thursday, December 22, 2005 

Breitling

Breitling watchesThe Breitling family tradition of achievement in quality and accuracy in timekeeping has continued for nearly a full century. Early on, L. Breitling and his son and successor, Gaston Breitling, developed and built the very first wrist chronograph. Willy Breitling, the founder’s grandson, later modified and improved the modern chronograph.

The early Breitling chronographs featured both center chronograph seconds as well as a 30 minute totalizer. Breitling was awarded a patent in 1923 for inventing the independent pushpiece, and another in 1926 for the 1/10 second totalizer.
1884 - In St. Imier, in the Jura mountains of Switzerland, Leon Breitling opens a workshop specialising in making chronographs and precision counters for scientific and industrial purposes. In 1914 Leon Breitling dies and the company is passed over to his son Gaston, a year later Gaston creates the first wristwatch chronograph and subsequently provides pilots with the first wrist instruments. By 1923 Breitling had developed the first ever independent chronograph pushpiece.

In 1934 Willy Breitling launched the modern chronograph with his invention of the second, return-to-zero pushpiece. The chronograph as we know it was complete. To this day, this style of chronograph remains one of Breitling’s best selling timepieces.

Gastons son, Willy Breitling takes over control of the company in 1932 and in 1936 Breitling becomes the official supplier to the Royal Air Force. The Chronomat is introduced in 1942 - the first chronograph to be fitted with a circular slide rule. The company also widens its professional clientele to include the American armed forces. 1954 saw the creation of the Navitimer, a wrist instrument equipped with the famous navigation computer. This super chronograph becomes a firm favoutite among the pilots across the globe. By this stage, Breitling is already supplying the major international airlines with cockpit clocks. In 1962, Astronaut Scott Carpenter wears the Cosmonaught chronograph during his orbital fligh aboard the Aurora 7 space capsule.

1969 saw Breitling introduce the first ever self winding chronograph. This technical feat represents a major breakthrough for the entire swiss watch industry. 1979 saw the takeover of Breitling from the founders grandson Willy. Ernest Schneider takes the helm. in 1984 The Chronomat is launched and marks the return of the chronograph. It becomes the best selling line in the Breitling collection, a position it has held ever since. Soon afterwards in 1985, the Breitling Aerospace is launched.

Today, Breitling is still established in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the town where Leon Breitling opened his first chronograph factory 110 years earlier.

Breitling persists in maintaining its mission to improve and redefine itself. Breitling watches are available in steel, precious metals, or titanium, with a myriad of dial treatments, straps and bracelets: Not to mention the many different and highly specialized features from alarms to emergency transmitters. Breitling remains poised for the 21st century and beyond as a force in precision timekeeping.

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