A Breitling for Christmas: Colt or Navitimer?


by Nils Rau

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November 15. 2019 - by Nils Rau

Christmas is just around the corner. And hardly anything is better suited as a Christmas gift than a watch by Breitling, a manufacturer whose beautiful timepieces are popular with men and women alike. The Navitimer is a beloved classic, while the Colt is a perfect all-rounder. Let’s take a closer look at both models – and recommend the best gift watches for him and her.


Breitling's Icons: Navitimer And Colt 

The Navitimer and the Colt are probably the best known models manufactured by the Breitling watchmakers of Grenchen, Switzerland. Both watches are icons, but differ both in their history and in their intended use. The Navitimer was developed as a professional pilot's chronograph almost 70 years ago, and is one of the most legendary models in the world of watches. The historical timepieces are just as sought-after as the current versions: due to its long history, the Navitimer comes in numerous vintage models that are considered "highly collectible" by connoisseurs.

The Colt, on the other hand, is not only a perfect all-rounder for every day, but also a popular gateway piece into the Breitling world. Thanks to its robustness – it is a professional diving watch after all – the Breitling Colt is a great choice for people who like to pursue adventures outside the comfort of their homes. The Navitimer and the Colt come in numerous different versions: The current models, the Navitimer 01 Chronograph and the Colt 41 and 44, where introduced in 2018. They prove once again that Breitling knows how to capture the hearts of watch enthusiasts worldwide.

Navitimer And Colt – Watches That Tell Stories

Since the early years of the brand's history, Leon Breitling has given great importance to instrumental watches for professional purposes. This is particularly evident in the history of the Navitimer, whose name is composed of the words "navigation" and "timer": First launched in 1952, the watch was developed specifically for professional pilots and recommended by the AOPA, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. The first Navitimer models even featured a dial with the AOPA crest instead of the Breitling logo; a look inside revealed the Venus 178 calibre.

There have been many variants of the Navitimer over the years, but its characteristic appearance has been preserved to this day. Since 2009, the Navitimer chronograph has featured the Breitling B01 calibre, which – like the original calibre – is a column wheel chronograph.

The story of the Breitling Colt goes back to the 1980s, when the manufacturer released the Colt Military, specifically designed for military forces. Unsurprisingly, the Colt is known for its robustness and reliability. The first models already featured the striking rider bezel, which still characterizes the design of the Colt today. The model received a facelift in 2018: The new look is clean, understated and elegant thanks to its matt finish. 

Up In The Air...

It is no secret that the Navitimer has always been a trusty tool for professional pilots. With this in mind, the watch's specifications are immediately apparent: the double-sided rotating bezel can be used to perform sophisticated calculations, such as determining flight speed, rate of descent or fuel consumption. However, it can also perform other calculations, such as currency conversion.

Since this watch feels right at home up in the air, the water resistance is a "modest" 30 meters. All current Navitimer chronographs are equipped with the aforementioned caliber B01. In addition to displaying the date at the four o'clock mark, and enabling quick adjustment, the B01 offers a generous power reserve of 70 hours. The chronographs are available at 43 or 46 millimetres, depending on the model.

...And Under The Sea

Even the earliest models of the Colt Military had an impressive water resistance of up to 200 meters. The military watch was developed as a robust timepiece that is always reliable, even in adverse conditions. Over the years, the Colt has remained true to this credo and has established itself as a civilian diving watch, thanks to its excellent readability and functional diving bezel. Launched in 2018, the current Colt collection – like its predecessor – is water-resistant for up to 200 metres and can even be used for scuba diving.

The Breitling Colt uses the caliber Breitling 17 (ETA 2824-2), which is one of the most robust and most tried movements in the world. Numerous variants of the Colt are available. The newly revised 2018 version is available with a diameter of 41 and 44 millimeters. The smaller models have a silver or grey dial, while the 44 mm Colts have a black or blue dial. 

Breitling Gift Guide

The Navitimer is one of the greatest icons in the world of watches. Our recommendation for men offers only the best: the Navitimer B01 Chronograph 43 has a classic appearance and that trusty manufactory caliber. And since the latest Breitling models are marked by a downsizing trend, the Navitimer (as a three-hand watch) is available with a diameter of less than 40 millimetres for the first time in years. For ladies, the Navitimer Automatic 38 with a blue dial and a stainless steel bracelet is an excellent choice.

If you are looking for a military-inspired watch, the Colt 41 Automatic with a stratus silver dial is our recommendation for men. The robust watch has a simplistic elegance and is a perfect timepiece for every situation. For ladies, the 33 millimetre Colt Lady is a great choice. The model features a black dial, whose proportions Breitling has skilfully maintained despite its smaller size.

Nils Rau

by Nils Rau

Nils is a guest author for the CHRONEXT Journal. He currently dedicates most of his free time to wristwatches – be that talking with friends, browsing through blogs and online magazines, or keeping an eye on the timepiece stock exchange. When he is not contributing to the CHRONEXT Journal, he works as a junior lawyer in Northern Germany. His articles focus on brands, trends, as well as the philosophical questions within the world of fine watches.

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