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A Brief History of Breitling

Jun 21, 2008
Watches have been around since the 1600's, however in 1884 history was made when Leon Breitling opened a workshop that specialized in making precision counters and chronographs for industrial and scientific purposes. His vision has been instrumental in the field of avionics in both private and military applications.

The company grew very quickly and had to move in 1892 in order to keep up with its rapid growth. In 1914 Leon Breitling died and his son Gaston took over the running of the company. Gaston began to expand upon his father's vision and soon produced wrist instruments for pilots. A major milestone for the Breitling Watch Company was the first wrist worn chronograph that was created in 1915 by Gaston Breitling, which subsequently provided pilots with the very first instruments to be worn on the wrist.

In 1932 Willy Breitling, Gaston's son took control of the company and there were even further advancements into its field of chronographs and counters. This allowed for bigger developments in this area such as being the first to make the independent push piece for the chronograph in 1923, which enabled the start and stop, return-to-zero functions found in a stop watch and in 1934 a second push piece was added to the chronograph giving the ability for incremental or cumulative recordings.

Breitling began providing the Royal Air Force with time pieces in 1936. It was in the forties that they began to supply the US with watches through the Armed forces. They were a permanent fixture by the fifties when they made their position in the world of aviation concrete by supplying clocks for most international airlines. They have also produced numerous watches considered to be classics.

The Chronomat is 1942 and the Navitimer in 1952 are just a couple of the milestone watches that have been made by the Breitling Watch Company. There was a twenty four hour chronograph made available in 1962. When Scott Carpenter flew the Aurora 7 he wore the Cosmonaute. A major break through was made with the development of the first automatic chronograph by Breitling in 1969 as part of a group of watch manufacturers.

Will Breitling died in 1979 and the company was bought by Ernest Schneider. He introduced a line of watches for yachting and diving. At the same time the quality rose. There were four new watches developed during this time that continued until 1988. They were the Chronomat in 1984, Aerospace in 1985, Emergency in 1995 and finally the B-1 in 1998.

The development of the Chronomat was the return of the chronograph. It is still the best selling of the entire Breitling collection. La Chaux-de-Fonds is where the Breitling watch company still calls home even after one hundred and ten years.

There are numerous models of watches and other scientific instruments produced by the Breitling Watch Company. The history of the Breitling Watch Company continues to expand as time passes.
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