In 1952, the Breitling Navitimer was first introduced. It was one-of-a-kind because it featured a clever circular sliderule that enabled pilots of the time to make crucial and life-saving calculations. We now live in a world where technology can make and respond to these aeronautical calculations automatically. The Navitimer, on the other hand, is as famous as it has ever been. This is due to the original’s genius nature and the fact that the sliderule can be used in real-world conditions to convert currencies, multiplications, divisions, and mph to kmph conversions.
The Navitimer is now the oldest continuously manufactured chronograph timepiece still available.
The Navitimer World introduces a unique feature to Breitling’s patented line of timepieces: it can show a second timezone thanks to the introduction of the Calibre 24 chronometer.
This complication is generally considered to be beneficial only to frequent travelers. Despite the fact that I do not travel nearly as much as I used to, I find this to be a useful and charming feature. We can also make friends and acquaintances thousands of miles away in this ever-shrinking country, thanks to the internet and its myriad social networks, and we don’t even have to leave the comfort of our armchairs to socialize with them. We should also accept the availability of live sport 24 hours a day, seven days a week on dedicated 24-hour TV channels. In this regard, I find the Navitimer World’s 24 hour predictor useful for checking the local time for international friends and live global events. The ‘World' does a better job of accommodating this need than any other second timezone timepieces on the market since the 24 hour indicator can be updated at any time without disrupting the timekeeping by simply taking the crown out of the first place and turning it towards you. Because of the bright red arrow head, the legibility of the 24 hour indicator is extraordinary. This looks great with the red-tipped chronograph seconds side. The Breitling emblem is embossed in gold on the 24 hour numerals.
The aforementioned world famous and special circular sliderule and a chronograph, typically of the tri-compax kind, are other complications that are a given for any Navitimer descendant.
The Navitimer World’s increased girth is another aspect that sets it apart from its siblings. Even by today’s standards, the ‘World’ is a big watch. Since we are so used to the Navitimer and its 24 hour dial brethren, the Cosmonaute, being “only” 41.8mm and 41.5mm in diameter, respectively, it appears much bigger than its specification of 46mm implies. In addition, unlike the case, the dial specifics have not been placed on steroids. When first trying on the Navitimer World, these two optical illusions impress you with how easy it is to wear. I believe the clever and classic nature of the lugs, which barely protrude from the case, adds to the deception. I have a 6.5” wrist and found this oversized Navitimer to be very comfortable to wear.
The Navitimer World has a lot of depth, as one might imagine. When you pair the 15.5mm height with the 46mm diameter, you get a watch that is almost impossible to hide under a shirt cuff. Not that I’d like to cover this magnificent timepiece, but it’s a possibility for others.
I wasn’t sold on the Navitimer World’s dial style when I first saw it. The designers seemed to have beefed up the case’s dimensions and then forgotten about the individual components that make up the remarkably versatile dial. Since then, I’ve come to terms with it to the point that I admit it makes sense. I believe my initial reaction stemmed from the fact that so many brands were increasing the proportions of their watches while also increasing the dial data. After some consideration, I’ve come to the conclusion that many watches that have been “treated” to this design principle will appear to be the horological equivalent of obese. This isn’t a good look. The only example I have for expressing this idea is to compare someone who spends a lot of time leaning up the bar to someone who spends a lot of time lifting barbells. Despite the fact that both have gained weight and bulk, the former appears solid, agile, and well proportioned, while the latter appears week, ungainly, and all over the place. One appears to be buff, while the other appears to be buggered. The one has “the pump,” while the other seems to be over-inflated. You catch my drift.
As a consequence, I believe the Navitimer Universe, with its extended case, works perfectly well while maintaining the elegant and legible hands, subdials, and a multitude of numerals.
By way of Breitling’s renowned attention to detail, the oversized Navitimer World has maintained the rest of the family’s classically good looks. The recessed subdials attract the eye and give them their own distinct space on the multifunction and informative dial.
The beautifully polished hour markers add to the depth of this three-dimensional feature. The matt black dial, which appears to absorb light of any intensity, contrasts sharply with their reflective nature.
The remarkable luminosity afforded by the generous amount of Superluminova added to the hands and dial shows that a decrease in light has little effect on functionality or legibility. Unfortunately, as night falls, the second timezone and chronograph features become obsolete, but the ability to read the time is preserved.
Every aspect of the ‘World,' like all Breitlings, has been carefully considered for its aesthetics and functionality. This includes the caseback, which has an engraving depicting the timezones of all of the world’s major cities.
The Navitimer World collection features dials in Blue, White, or Black that can be paired with a leather strap or the legendary Navitimer bracelet.
Breitling wisely decided to use the outline and geometry of the Navitimer World as a basis for their new Navitimer 1461, which features their proprietary 4-year calendar.
Finally, The Navitimer World brings a contemporary twist to a well-known and traditional style. The GMT feature is useful for a number of purposes, and the larger proportions are in line with the recent trend for larger gent’s wristwatches. Breitling has managed to keep the Navitimer DNA that has made the original such a success for well over half a century by clever design. Many large watches seem unwieldy, but the ‘World' is one of those rare exceptions that combine a la mode over-sized dimensions with a classic appearance. It also defies its bulk by being extremely comfortable to wear, even on my pre-middle-age spread wrists.