Breitling watches acquired its modern look in 1934, when the son of Gaston Brightling, Willie, introduces into the father’s patented invention an additional independent button to reset the timekeeping results to zero. This revolutionary innovation will instantly take on all Brightling competitors.
Two years later, Breitling became the official supplier of the Royal Air Force of Great Britain, thereby strengthening its position in the world of aviation. During the Second World War, the Swiss watch company supplied not only British, but also American pilots with accurate measuring instruments. In 1942, the Chronomat model, a chronograph, equipped for the first time with a circular slide rule, was born. Two years later, Breitling, which specialized for chronographs and counters for more than half a century, replenished the range with a flat, waterproof, square-shaped watch. A fundamentally new line of Breitling watches started with them, the first iconic models of which were Unidate (1952) and Unitime with the function of displaying time in several time zones (1954). Bretiling Navitimer 1952 In 1952, the commercial and administrative departments of the company were transferred to Geneva, in a building on Place de Molard. The watches themselves are still made in La Chaux-de-Fonds (La Chaux-de-Fonds).
In the same year, the company produces, perhaps, its most famous chronograph Navitimer, equipped with the likeness of an on-board computer, an indispensable tool for all calculations required in the work of the pilot. The model, which was initially developed exclusively for the American market, very quickly became a constant companion of pilots around the world. The success and reputation of the brand is so great that Breitling becomes the official supplier of measuring instruments for most of the largest airlines in the world. In 1954, the production of the Avi chronograph was set up, a feature of which was the presence of a 15-minute counter located in the window at the 3 o’clock position. After 4 years, in 1958, the window gave way to a classic counter with an arrow. They continued to produce models for some time under the Avi name until a more appropriate Co-pilot name was found for the watch, under which the watch is known today. In 1969, Breitling experts solved the most difficult task facing the watchmakers of the twentieth century, presenting the first chronograph movement, equipped with an automatic winding system. Having been in the hands of three generations of the Breitling family, in the late 70s the company changed its owner. In 1979, the company is acquired by Ernest Schneider (Ernest Schneider) — an electronics engineer and an experienced pilot, who takes the brand to a new level of development. Carefully preserving the tradition of creating mechanical chronographs, Breitling becomes a pioneer in the field of electronics and the production of multi-functional watches. Following the precepts of his father, Theodore Schneider (Théodore Schneider), who headed Breitling from 1998 to 2017, continued to strengthen the company’s ties with aeronautics.