Breitling is a Swiss watch brand that Léon Breitling founded in 1884. Above all else, Breitling is known for its rich history of aviation watches. These generally large timepieces, often with busy dials, have graced the wrists of pilots for decades.
Over the years, Breitling has expanded its catalog to include a variety of complicated tool watches, including several that combine analog and digital displays. Since 2017, Breitling has been under the leadership of Georges Kern, a widely-respected executive in the industry who has brought new energy to the heritage brand.
Breitling: Iconic Watches
First and foremost, Breitling is known for the Navitimer. This pilot’s chronograph launched in 1952 and features an automatic movement and layers of measurement tools encircling the dial, including a slide rule bezel for quickly calculating things like speed, fuel consumption, and elapsed time. The first Breitling Nativimer, the ref. 806, was the official watch of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and featured the famed Valjoux 72 movement, the same caliber that powers Rolex’s Paul Newman Daytona.
Other key models include the Breitling Premier, of which there are some very attractive vintage examples; the Breitling Datora, which is experiencing a well-deserved revival; the budget-friendly Breitling Superocean and slightly less budget-friendly Breitling Superocean Heritage; the Breitling Colt; Breitling Chronomat; and Breitling Emergency. The Emergency can even send out a distress signal.
Prices: Is Breitling entry level?
Prices for Breitling watches range from roughly $5,000 to $10,000, depending on the model. They generally hold their value well, but they don’t have any superstar models like the Omega Speedmaster or Rolex Daytona on the secondary market. Also, since the Breitling catalog focuses on complicated watches, you’ll want to factor in potential repair costs when considering a purchase.
There are plenty of more affordable models on the secondary market than in stores, including the Breitling Endurance Pro. The official retail price is around $3,500, but the watch is available on Chrono24 for about $3,000. You can also get the Breitling Aviator 8, Breitling Superocean, and Breitling Avenger for similar prices. Thus, Breitling offers several models for about $3,000. If your budget is tighter, be sure to check out our selection of watches under $2,000.
Breitling: Brand Perception
A niche brand like Breitling naturally attracts a niche consumer. Aviation enthusiasts have a soft spot for the brand, while others may choose to spend their money elsewhere. Vintage Breitling Navitimers have an undeniable charm, and there is reason to be optimistic with a new CEO and a surge of vintage-inspired watches on board. If you’ve got a slightly larger wrist and your eyes on the skies, Breitling is certainly a brand to consider.