“The inventor of the modern chronograph”, Léon Breitling founded his first workshop in Switzerland in 1884. He devoted his time exclusively to designing and producing premium quality chronographs and timers. These precision instruments were intended primarily for sports, science and industry. Due to the high-quality of its products and Breitling’s constant quest for innovation, the brand became inextricably linked to the worlds of: competitive sports, the automobile and especially the aviation industry.
Understandably, pioneers in aviation required reliable and efficient instruments so Breitling’s chronographs became a source of major interest. In the early 1930s, building on its reputation for precision and durability, the brand extended its range by introducing onboard chronographs intended for aircraft cockpits. This established Breitling’s reputation on a global scale and in the mid 20th century the company earned the status of “official supplier to world aviation” with its onboard chronographs becoming standard equipment during the growth of the commercial aircraft industry
In recognition of this company’s pioneering spirit, it is worth briefly charting key moments in its evolution. In 1915, Breitling raised the stakes in the design of wrist chronographs by inventing the first independent chronograph ‘pushpiece.’ Later, in 1934, Breitling took this a step further by introducing a second independent ‘reset pushpiece’. This was universally recognised as a breakthrough in the design of modern chronographs and was quickly adopted by leading competitors.
In1969 Breitling produced the first self winding chronograph movement and then, in 1984, the brand reinvented its mechanical chronograph with the debut of the famed ‘Chronomat’ which has subsequently become the company’s leading model. Remaining in the vanguard of the industry, one of Breitling’s more recent innovations is the ‘Emergency’, the world’s first wristwatch to incorporate the safety feature of “an integrated dual frequency personal locator beacon”.
Significantly, this family business is one of the few remaining independent Swiss watch companies. It is quite rightly proud of all its historic achievements. As the Breitling website proudly announces
“You simply don’t become official supplier to world aviation by chance”
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