Founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling, Swiss luxury watchmaker Breitling is best known for its precision-made chronometers designed for aviators. Breitling founded his company with the goal of creating watches and timing instruments of superior accuracy to keep up with the rapidly progressing fields of industry, science, and sports. His primary obsession, however, was aviation. Pilots were in need of an easy-to-use timer and pocket watches, en vogue at the time, were too awkward to use in the cockpit. Breitling’s innovative solution was the world’s first wrist-worn chronograph with a push piece separate to the crown. It became a popular adornment both in the air and on the ground.
Breitling also gained recognition for their aeronautical timing instruments and were contracted to make chronographs for the Royal Air Force in WWII. The company was able to navigate changing tastes and styles and by the 1950s were producing slimmer, elegant watches for men as well as timepieces for women, an oft-overlooked market at that time. They continued to also design new chronographs, with Willy Breitling (Léon’s grandson) designing their iconic Navitimer in 1952. One of their watches even went to space in 1962 when Lt. Commander Scott Carpenter orbited the earth three times while wearing a Navitimer Cosmonaute.
The company remained a family-owned business up until 1979 and continues to be an innovative and desirable brand for aviators, divers, captains, and lovers of exceptional design around the world.
Auction Results Breitling
‘Bentley Mark VI Compl.19’ stainless steel and platinum wristwatch, Ref. P1936212/Q540