The Breitling Navitimer Super 8 was inspired by the Reference 637, a stopwatch that pilots in the 1930s and 1940s wore strapped to their thighs. The Navitimer Super 8 expresses the distinctive, practical design elements of the Reference 637 in a big, bold wristwatch that is one of the stars of this year’s collection. Every Breitling watch has a tale to tell, but the story behind this one could fill volumes.
The new Breitling Navitimer Super 8 took its design inspiration from the Reference 637 stopwatch, which was used in the Second World War by bomber pilots and crews. While the Navitimer Super 8 fits comfortably on the wrist, the Reference 637 was strapped to the aviators’ thighs, which allowed optimal readability and ease of use. The crown was located on the left side of the case, and its prominent size and positioning meant that an aviator’s hand – even gloved – could easily maneuver it. Because the Reference 637 was strapped to the thigh, the crown was ideally located at the top of the case. The pusher was used to activate the count-up and count-down functions that allowed the aviators to execute their missions with precision.
The Huit Aviation Department
The Reference 637 was created by Breitling’s Huit Aviation Department, which was established in 1938 by Willy Breitling. He was aware of the strict requirements for military and civil aviation, and the Department’s name – the French word for “eight” – was chosen to reflect the eight days of power reserve offered by onboard clocks and other dashboard instruments. The clocks developed by Huit Aviation were also admired for their lightweight cases and their ease of installation. Willy Breitling understood that aviators worked in demanding, unforgiving environments that required instruments that were not only highly legible but also capable of outstanding performance in the harshest of conditions. The Huit Aviation Department created a battery of challenging tests that proved that its instruments – including the Reference 637 – were more than a match for the shocks, vibrations, extreme temperatures, and magnetism that pilots and crews were likely to encounter in the cockpit.
The Legendary Future
The Reference 637 also inspired the big, bold, and muscular Breitling Navitimer Super 8. The 46 millimeter case is available in titanium or stainless steel with a screwed caseback that matches the case metal. The statement-making timepiece is presented on a brown NATO leather strap.
With its distinctive bidirectional rotating bezel, the Navitimer Super 8 has a total diameter of 50 millimeters. Thanks to the prominent screw-locked crown positioned on the left side of the case, the watch offers exceptional comfort to wearers in spite of its impressive dimensions.
The stainless-steel model has a black dial while the titanium version features a military green dial.Both have large, luminescent Arabic numerals and a convex sapphire crystal with anti-reflective coating on both sides.
The hour and minute hands are also luminescent, making the Navitimer Super 8 easy to read in all lighting conditions. An ingenious and practical triangular pointer is adjusted by rotating the bezel, making it particularly easy to track elapsed times. The watch also features a central second hand.
At the heart of the Breitling Navitimer Super 8 is the Manufacture Caliber B20, based on the Caliber MT 5612, an automatic movement with exclusive finishing that is wound by a dual-acting ball-bearing rotor. It delivers an impressive power reserve of over 70 hours. The watch is water-resistant to 3 bar (30 meters) and, like every Breitling, the Navitimer Super 8 is a COSC-certified chronometer.
With a direct link to our heritage and its twenty-first century sophistication, the Navitimer Super 8 is the perfect embodiment of Breitling’s legendary future.
For more on this watch and the whole Navitimer 8 collection, click here.