A specialist of technical watches, Breitling has played a crucial role in the development of the wrist chronograph and is a leader in this complication. The firm has shared all the finest moments in the conquest of the skies thanks to its sturdy, reliable and high-performance instruments. The world’s only major watch brand to equip all its models with chronometer-certified movements, the ultimate token of precision, Breitling is also one of the rare companies to produce its own mechanical chronograph movement, entirely developed and manufactured in its own workshops. This family business is also one of the last remaining independent Swiss watch brands.
In founding his workshop in the Swiss Jura in 1884, Léon Breitling chose to devote himself to an exclusive and demanding field: that of chronographs and timers. These precision instruments were intended for sports, science and industry. Thanks to its high-quality products and its constant quest for innovation, the brand accompanied the boom of competitive sports and of the automobile – as well as the first feats of the aviation pioneers. In 1915, it heralded the emergence of the wrist chronograph by inventing the first independent chronograph pushpiece. In 1923, it perfected this system by separating the stop/start functions from that of resetting.
This patented innovation thereby made it possible to add several successive times without returning the hands to zero – which proved extremely useful both for timing sports competitions and for calculating flight times. In 1934, Breitling set the final touch to the modern face of the chronograph by creating the second independent reset pushpiece – a decisive breakthrough that was soon adopted by the competition. In 1969, the brand took on one of the greatest 20th century watchmaking challenges by presenting the first selfwinding chronograph movement.
In 1984, Breitling heralded the rebirth of the mechanical chronograph by launching the famous Chronomat, which has since become its leading model. In 2009, the firm’s engineers once again made their mark on the history of the chronograph by creating Caliber 01 – the finest selfwinding chronograph movement, entirely developed and manufactured in the workshops of Breitling Chronométrie. A leader in the field of mechanical chronographs, the brand has also established itself in the vanguard of electronic watchmaking by developing an entire range of high-tech instruments first and foremost dedicated to aviation.
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