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Breitling is a watch brand known for its aviation roots. The company was founded in 1884 by Leon Breitling. Like many other watchmakers at the time, he focused on chronographs due to demand from the military. He was granted patents for his designs, which were sleek and simple to manufacture. The Breitling family owned the business until 1978, when the company was sold to entrepreneur, watchmaker, and pilot Ernest Schneider. CVC Capital Partners acquired Breitling in 2017.
Breitling introduced one of the world’s first chronograph wristwatches. Before 1934, chronographs were built with only a single pusher responsible for the start, stop, and reset functions. This changed when Breitling acquired a patent for the first double pusher chronograph, allowing the user to start and stop the timing function repeatedly.
With their early lead in chronograph wristwatches, Breitling released the first Navitimer in 1952. This classic model has become a modern icon and is probably the most well-known Breitling today. It is equipped with a slide rule and was the leading option for countless pilots. Multiple size options are available, from 38mm to a classic pilot watch size of 43mm
The Chronomat collection is Breitling’s more modern interpretation of the chronograph. It was first released in 1984, the 100th anniversary of the brand’s founding and marked the return of the mechanical chronograph to Breitling’s line-up. Today, the Chronomat is a modern and sporty chronograph collection with models available for both men and women.
Breitling watches span a wide range of prices, starting at around £3,000 and going up to £40,000. The Navitimer retails from £4,500 and can be found on the secondary market for £2,000. Breitling watches are generally significantly discounted on the grey and secondary market. The brand’s reputation has recently suffered due to outdated designs and an overly large and complex catalogue.
Breitling chronographs carry undeniable heritage. If you find the design appealing, there are great values in the used market. Specific modern designs, such as Breitling’s 2018 release of the Premier B01, have been received more positively by collectors and use the Breitling 01, an in-house movement with COSC certification.
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Breitling watches typically sell between £614 – £13,796 on the secondary market, with an average asking price of £2,707