Round 1: Battle of the pilot’s watches - Rolex GMT-Master vs Breitling Navitimer


by Caroline Metz

scroll

April 13. 2018 - by Caroline Metz

Showdown: We let two icons of aviation compete - Rolex GMT-Master vs Breitling Navitimer! Which collection will earn the title of the most coveted pilot's watch?


Originally designed for professional use in aviation, pilot watches exert a special charm both in and out of the cockpit. The timepieces, that were specifically used during World War II, are considered a luxury on the wrist with innovative tool watch functions. Even in adverse conditions, pilot watches from Breitling, Rolex, IWC and other renowned brands are known for their incredible reliability - some of them have saved the lives of pilots and crew members.

The beginning of an era: the Cartier Santos is the mother of all pilot watches and also the first watch worn on the wrist of a pilot rather than in the pocket. More than a hundred years ago, Louis Cartier developed the Santos for his friend, the pilot Alberto Santos-Dumont, who has become a legend in the luxury watch industry. The history of this watch is as special as its characteristic design, with its angular case and eye-catching screws on the bracelet and bezel. In 1906 Alberto Santos-Dumont succeeded in the world's first public powered flight, making the watch a success from the start.

We take a closer look at two other aviation classics and compare them. Learn more about the legendary Rolex GMT-Master and how it matches up against the world-famous Breitling Navitimer:

Rolex GMT-Master vs Breitling Navitimer: Case and materials

A Rolex GMT-Master and GMT-Master II can be recognised from a distance: the distinctive design of the rotating 24-hour bezel is two-tone in most versions of the watch and bears nicknames such as "Coke" or "Pepsi", depending on the colour. While the bezel can be used to display the time zone, a second hour hand surrounds the dial and displays a second time zone on the bezel scale. Ultimately, it is possible to read up to three time zones in parallel and even determine which direction is north. Today, Rolex exclusively produces the GMT-Master II in 904L stainless steel, older versions have bezels in yellow gold or in black with white gold. The model is provided with sapphire crystal and a screwed crown.

The Breitling Navitimer has long since become a classic thanks to its slide rule bezel. The name of this watch comes from the combination of navigation and timer, i.e. navigation computer and chronograph. The integrated slide rule makes it easy to determine fuel consumption, flight rates, average speeds and other navigation values. The case of this watch is made of stainless steel and the bracelet is of steel or leather. Compared to the Rolex GMT-Master, many Breitling Navitimer models come equipped with an exhibition caseback and sapphire crystal.

The movement of the pilot watches in comparison

Rolex calibre 3186 vs Breitling calibre 01: The Rolex GMT-Master II uses the manufactory calibre 3186. The movement has a 48-hour power reserve, 31 rubies and is considered to be extremely precise and reliable: The maximum gear deviation specified by Rolex is a mere ± 2 seconds in 24 hours. The calibre 3186 used in the Rolex GMT-Master II is based on the famous Rolex automatic calibre 3135, which has been supplemented by a GMT module to display a second time zone. The original calibre with GMT function was the 3085 introduced in 1985, which was used in the first GMT Master II "Fat Lady".

Since 2009, all Breitling Navitimer models have also been exclusively fitted with manufactory calibres, as Breitling established itself as a manufacturer in 2009 with the development of its first in-house movement - the B01. The first Breitling calibre 01 was used in the Navitimer and gave the chronograph the designation "Navitimer 01". The manufactory calibre meets the highest demands and is certified by the COSC as a chronometer. The movement has a power reserve of 70 hours and 47 jewels. Since the introduction of the B01 calibre, Breitling has modified its manufacture calibre several times: The B02 is the hand-wound version, which can be found in the Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute 02, the B04 offers a GMT function and was installed in the Navitimer GMT, the B05 also offers a world time indication. At Baselworld 2017, the brand also presented the automatic calibre B03 as a rattrapante chronograph.

Rolex GMT-Master vs Breitling Navitimer: Overview and Price

Recap

Which pilot's watch takes first place? Ultimately, the decision remains a personal choice of preference, but we have a favourite. Both models not only look back on a history rich in tradition, they are also extremely similar in the case of the materials and the glazing - apart from collector's models and special editions. The Rolex GMT-Master scores with its significantly higher water resistance compared to the Breitling Navitimer. Breitling decided to make a significant leap forward in terms of quality by improving its calibre in 2009. Both the 3186 movement used in the GMT-Master II and the movements used in the Navitimer models are  COSC chronometer certified and impress with their accuracy and reliability. In terms of power reserve, the Breitling calibre B01 with 70 hours is slightly superior to the Rolex calibre 3186 with approx. 50 hours, whereas Rolex can look back on a longer ancestry in the manufacture of in-house movements. In the end, more points are given to the GMT-Master: The case with a size of 40 mm is clearly more suitable for more wrists than that of the Navitimer - 46 mm which is without question too large of a statement for some watch lovers.

Despite the higher prices, there is a distinct advantage with the Rolex GMT-Master, which is why we have chosen this watch as the winner: the value retention of the Rolex models is still unbeatable, in addition the new GMT-Master II, presented at Baselworld 2018 will contain the new, further developed calibre 3285 - a technical masterpiece. Whether Che Guevara, Pablo Picasso, or the famous Bond Girl Pussy Galore: The Rolex GMT-Master has already conquered the hearts of many famous personalities - as well as ours.

Caroline Metz

by Caroline Metz

Exceptional Service

Providing excellent customer service is one of our top priorities. We deliver your watch fast and with utmost attention to detail. Should you be looking for a specific model which is not in stock, we are happy to source it for you - free of any extra charges. If you would like to sell a watch, our experts will advise you on market developments and the ideal selling price for your timepiece.

Should you have any questions regarding delivery, price or history of a specific model, your personal advisor will be happy to help at any time.

+44 20 3588 0044

Guaranteed Authenticity

We always guarantee a safe transaction. When you buy or sell a watch on CHRONEXT, your contract of sale is made directly with us. We take legal responsibility for every transaction and provide the highest data security standards, secure payment methods and fully insured shipment. In order to ensure the authenticity and quality of all watches sold through us, every timepiece is thoroughly checked by our watchmakers before it is ever shipped to our customers.

This is guaranteed through our Certificate which you will receive with the purchase of any watch from CHRONEXT - new or pre-owned.

Fair Prices

Only the best is good enough for our customers. This goes for prices just as well as for service and security. Luxury watches are hardly ever cheap but there are still significant differences in price levels depending on where you shop. Thanks to our vast global network of suppliers and our low fixed costs, we are able to provide competitive prices at all times.

We scan the market daily for the best offers and always keep our prices up to date. Most important however is that our competitive prices will never lead us to compromise security and quality.

Change of Shipping Country

You have changed your shipping country. When changing this setting between an EU-country and a country outside of the European Union prices shown in the shop are automatically adjusted to reflect local VAT in the shipping country in some cases.

Ok
×

CHRONEXT Boutique London

Opening hours

MON - FR 12 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Boutique Fleet St 53 EC4Y 1BE London United Kingdom

Phone

+44 20 3588 0044

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Boutique
×

CHRONEXT Lounge Cologne

Opening hours

MON - FR 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
SAT 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Lichtstr. 25 50825 Cologne Germany

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×

CHRONEXT Lounge Munich

Opening hours

MON - FR 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Maximilianstraße 2 80539 Munich Germany

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×

CHRONEXT Lounge Zug

Opening hours

MON - FR 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Feldpark 9 6300 Zug Switzerland

Phone

+41 41 588 06 84

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×

CHRONEXT Lounge Frankfurt a. M.

Opening hours

MON - FR 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Taunustor 1 60310 Frankfurt a. M. Germany

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×

CHRONEXT Lounge Hamburg

Opening hours

MON - FR 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Address

CHRONEXT Lounge Ballindamm 39 20095 Hamburg Germany

Phone

+49 221 97580604

E-Mail

support@chronext.com
CHRONEXT Lounge
×

Thank You for Subscribing

Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter! You will receive an email from us shortly. Please check your inbox and confirm your registration to start receiving updates from the world of fine timepieces.

Continue shopping

Error

An error has accured while registering your e-mail for our newsletter. Please try again.

Ok