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This Aviation pilots watch looks pretty familiar, right? No, this is not a lame Breitling Navitimer homage, so let us tell you about this great watch and why it is an interesting piece of horological history.
Breitling was founded in 1892, and while still around today, the company is no longer in the hands of the Breitling family. The late 1970s was a turbulent time for the Swiss watch industry, and many storied houses were swept away by the Quartz Crisis. By 1978, Breitling was in trouble due to the illness of its leader, Willy Breitling, and the steep decline in sales that had befallen the entire industry. Unable to keep operations going, the Breitling company was liquidated, and parts, toolings and naming rights were sold off. The Ollech & Wajs company, founded in the 1950s, was one of several groups who bought some of the Breitling properties, and they began producing Navitimers under the Aviation brand name soon afterward.
The Aviation Navitimers are nearly identical to their Breitling counterparts, and present a tremendous value proposition compared with a Breitling-branded watch. The archetypical pilots watch, Navitimers are one true icons of the genre. The slide rule bezel is the watch’s most recognized design feature, and it is what endeared the Navitimer to pilots in the analog era. The Navitimer is a time-speed-distance flight computer, and by starting the chronograph on takeoff and stopping it on landing, the pilot is able to calculate his average flight speed via the bezel. Before GPS, this was an essential tool for navigation.
This particular piece is a wonderful example of an Aviation chronograph, with the classic Navitimer dial, in completely new old stock condition. The Navitimer was a large watch for it’s day, but perfectly sized to modern tastes. The dial is certainly has a lot going on, but that is what distinguishes the Navitimer from every other sports watch and lets someone in the know spot one from a mile away.
We’re more than a little nostalgic for the days when these watches were such important tools for professionals, but now it’s our job as enthusiasts to be caretakers of watches from those good old days, and to share the stories of these fine mechanical instruments with you.
Strap this watch to your wrist, put on your bomber jacket, buckle in, start her up and take off. Repeat after me: “Tower, this is Ghost Rider requesting a flyby”.
Steel case is approximately 40mm (excluding crown).
Overall condition: New Old Stock condition. Original case, dial, hands, pushers and crown.
Comes with black leather strap and two 20mm nylon straps by Crown & Buckle.