Breitling has long been known for its outstanding chronograph watches – after all, the brand invented the modern chronograph – but is now introducing a unique timepiece with a very special take on one of watchmaking’s grandest complications. The Breitling Navitimer 1 B03 Rattrapante 45 Boutique Edition features Breitling’s unique split-second movement. Protected by two patents, it is distinguished by an innovative construction that ensures maximum precision, sturdiness, and reliability.
The rattrapante is one of the most sophisticated complications in all of watchmaking. Put simply, with two superimposed central chronograph hands, it can measure two elapsed times simultaneously. Yet while the rattrapante feature in the new Breitling Navitimer 1 B03 Rattrapante 45 Boutique Edition is very special indeed, there are some additional details that will make this watch a highly sought-after timepiece.
This instant collector’s item will be issued in a limited edition of 250 pieces and available exclusively from Breitling’s roughly 70 boutiques around the world.
The Navitimer 1 B03 Rattrapante 45 Boutique Edition is as aesthetically impressive as it is technically sophisticated. Housed in a big, bold 45-mm stainless-steel case, it is distinguished by a Stratos Gray dial, while its hour markers and hour and minute hands are coated with Super-LumiNova®, which guarantees legibility in all lighting conditions. This eye-catching timepiece features a bidirectional rotating bezel with the circular slide rule long associated with Breitling’s Navitimer watches.
The Navitimer 1 B03 Rattrapante 45 Boutique Edition offers another exquisite detail. Normally, a Breitling Navitimer features a stylized B logo with an anchor symbol adorning the base of the chronograph hands. But in this case, there is a subtle refinement, with the logo divided between two hands. The B is on the red chronograph hand, while the anchor sits on the split-second hand. As a result, the two elements of the logo are separated when the split-second hand is stopped and reform when the hands realign.
The story inside the case is every bit as compelling. The watch is powered by a Breitling Manufacture Caliber B03, which has a power reserve of at least 70 hours and is a COSC-certified chronometer. You could take it off after work on Friday (not that you would want to) and it would still be ready for action on Monday morning.
The split-second pusher, which is housed in the 3 o’clock crown, serves to stop and restart the split-second hand as often as desired during a timing operation, allowing the wearer to measure split times or compare the results of several competitors.
Breitling and the Navitimer Rattrapante
Few watch brands have their own mechanical chronograph movements. Fewer still also offer a proprietary split-second movement developed and produced in-house. With the launch of the Breitling Manufacture Caliber B03, Breitling once again confirmed its leading role in the field of mechanical chronographs.
With its two superimposed central chronograph hands, one of which can be stopped to measure an intermediate (split) time before catching up (rattraper in French) with the other, the split-second chronograph is considered one of the most challenging watchmaking mechanisms to create. Accordingly, this “grand complication” is generally produced in small series and requires watchmakers to perform a lengthy process of adjustment and rating (correcting the clearance of the split-second wheel and pinion, adapting the tension of the springs, adjusting the degree of penetration of the clamps, etc.).
In developing its own split-second chronograph movement, based on its successful Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01, Breitling adopted an innovative approach to the rattrapante, focusing on sturdiness, precision, and reliability while developing a system that ensures optimal performance with a minimum number of components. In fact, the split-second mechanism features just 28 parts.
In the process, Breitling was also able to eliminate the lengthy adjustment period. Finding a simple and effective solution to a complicated problem took several years of research and testing – but the result leaves nothing to be desired.
The Navitimer Legacy
Since its release in 1952, the Breitling Navitimer has been one of the world’s most beloved chronographs. With some recent additions to its Navitimer 1 family, Breitling is introducing a true watchmaking legend to a whole new generation.
The Navitimer is arguably the most iconic of all Breitling wristwatches. This twentieth-century classic remains popular in the twenty-first century, more than 65 years after it was first launched to meet the needs of a growing commercial and recreational aviation market. Thanks to a circular slide rule that was able to perform a range of calculations relevant to aviation, the Navitimer was adopted by pilots and especially favored by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Instantly recognizable, this timeless chronograph looks as stylish today as it did when it was first designed.
Behind the Navitimer are more than a century’s worth of horological breakthroughs. Breitling developed the first independent pusher in the 2 o’clock position in 1915 and a second independent pusher in 1934, shaping the modern chronograph in form and function. The brand introduced a self-winding chronograph – one of the world’s first – in 1969, and all true watch aficionados are passionate about the classic 1944 Duograph, whose split-second chronograph movement was developed in part by Breitling, making it a direct ancestor of the fabulous new Breitling Navitimer 1 B03 Rattrapante 45 Boutique Edition.