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Do you think you know everything about the famous Swiss watch brand Breitling? Think again ! Here are 12 surprising and little-known facts about this prestigious brand.
The birth of Breitling
1. The company was founded in 1884 by Léon Breitling, then only 24 years old. Passionate about watchmaking, he opened his first workshop in the Swiss town of Saint-Imier and quickly specialized in the production of counters and chronographs for industry and sport.
A first revolutionary watch
2. In 1915, Gaston Breitling, son of Léon, invents the first independent wrist chronograph. This major innovation allows military personnel, pilots and athletes to accurately measure short time intervals without the need for a separate stopwatch.
A strong link with aviation
3. The world of aviation is very present in the history of Breitling. The brand has notably equipped aircraft of the Allied forces during World War II with its navigation instruments. Even today, Breitling watches are popular with pilots around the world.
COSC certified watches
4. Breitling is one of the few watch brands to submit all its watches are certified by the Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute (COSC). This certification guarantees the precision and reliability of the mechanical movements of each watch.
A partnership with the automotive world
5. The Swiss brand has also established close ties with the automotive world, in particular with the famous British brand Bentley. Since 2003, Breitling has equipped high-end Bentley models with specific watchmaking instruments. The two brands have also developed several luxury watch collections together.
6. Over the years, Breitling has surrounded itself with renowned ambassadors, from the world of sport, cinema or even exploration. Among them, we can cite John Travolta, Brad Pitt, Charlize Theron, David Beckham and Bear Grylls.
The world’s first automatic chronograph
7. In 1969, Breitling participated in the development of the world’s first automatic chronographcalled Caliber 11. This revolutionary invention propelled the Swiss brand to the forefront of the international watchmaking scene.
A presence in space
8. In 1962, American astronaut Scott Carpenter wore a Breitling Navitimer watch during his space mission aboard the Aurora 7 capsule. The brand thus became the first to be carried into space.
Highly sought-after second-hand watches
9. Breitling watches are particularly popular on the second-hand market, especially vintage models or limited editions. Some rare pieces can fetch very high prices at auction.
An independent and family-run factory
10. Although the brand has passed through different hands over the years, it has remained an independent family business. In 2017, the investment fund CVC Capital Partners acquired 80% of the capital of Breitling, but the Schneider family, which had owned it since 1979, retained a minority stake.
An ecological commitment
11. For several years, Breitling has been committed to protecting the environment. In 2018, it launched the Superocean Héritage II Chronograph 44 Outerknown collection, including the bracelet is made from recycled materials from abandoned fishing nets in the oceans.
A collaboration with Ironman
12. In 2021, Breitling announces a partnership with the Ironman company, organizer of famous triathlons around the world. On this occasion, the Swiss brand unveils a new collection of sports watches called Endurance Pro Ironman.
This should give you something to discuss during your next meeting between watch enthusiasts! Breitling continues to surprise and write the history of Swiss watchmaking.