A pioneer in the history of chronograph watches, Breitling is a reference in sport, science and technology. Established in 1884, the brand is also part of the history of aeronautics, and has contributed to many of the milestones in aviation. Every Breitling watch is made in Switzerland and chronometer-certified by the Contrôle Officiel Suisse des Chronomètres (COSC), the guarantee of outstanding quality. Following the acquisition, in April 2017, of an 80% stake by CVC Capital Partners, the team appointed by CEO Georges Kern has repositioned the brand in line with a more contemporary image.
From exploits to innovations, Breitling has been shaping the history of the chronograph for over 130 years. In 1884 in Saint-Imier, Léon Breitling set up the family business that would grow into a brand with its own indomitable spirit. The company lost no time in embracing the automobile era with a timer/tachymeter that measured speed (1905), followed by the first chronograph to incorporate a separate pusher at 3 o'clock (1915). The Swiss firm was also present from the early days of aviation, with the creation of the Huit Aviation Department in 1938. Its onboard chronographs were an instant success. Come 1940, the Chronomat marked the beginning of a new era with its circular slide rule, eclipsed only by the Navitimer, launched in 1952 and future icon of the brand. Not content to be the favourite watchmaker of pilots, Breitling explored the world beneath the waves with the SuperOcean (1957), water-resistant to 200 metres, and travelled into space with the Cosmonaute – the first Swiss chronograph to go into space on the wrist of astronaut Scott Carpenter in 1962. In 1979, Breitling's rich legacy passed to Ernest Schneider, a visionary entrepreneur and himself a watchmaker and a pilot. During the 1980s, Breitling took a new era of revolutionary technologies in its stride. The Aerospace (1985) with its dual analog and digital display, the Emergency (1995) with built-in emergency transmitter, the Chronospace (2010) with rotating slide rule and digital display, and the Exospace B55 (2015), the first chronograph with smartphone connectivity, prepared Breitling to take off into the third millennium. Since 2017, the company has been part of CVC Capital Partners. Under Georges Kern's stewardship, Breitling is grounding its icons in the future. This includes the Navitimer 8 (2018), powered by Calibre B01 (successor to Calibre 01, Breitling's first in-house chronograph, introduced in 2009). It encapsulates the history of the brand and its pioneering onboard instruments of the 1940s. On land, in the air or at sea, more than ever before, Breitling is in its element.