Patented in 1941, the early versions of the Breitling Chronomat included a rotating slide rule for wearers to quickly calculate mathematical equations. Although Breitling was known for their aviation specialized timekeeping instruments, the vintage versions of the Chronomat chronographs were actually targeted towards mathematicians, engineers and scientists and not pilots. The Chronomat however, was the predecessor of the Navitimer, launched in 1952, which was a pilot’s chronograph watch that incorporated the slide rule.
The earliest models of the Breitling Chronomat watches during the 1940s until the mid 1950s were the ref. 769 powered by the Venus 175 movement. In the in 1960s, the Breitling introduced the Chronomat ref. 808, which was then replaced by the ref. 818 “Big Case” Chronomat in the late 1960s. The 1970s saw some quartz versions of the Chronomat being introduced since quartz movements were all the rage during that era.
After a period of discontinuation, Breitling teamed up with the Italian aerobatics team, Frecce Tricolori to re-launch the Chronomat. The Chronomat aviation chronograph that was introduced in 1984 came equipped with an automatic mechanical movement in the midst of the quartz craze. The Chronomat was completely redesigned, positioned as a pilot’s watch, and no longer included the slide rule.
Now the most successful model among the Breitling catalog, the modern rendition of the Chronomat is the ultimate pilot’s chronograph. Particularly popular is the Breitling Chronomat 44 — available in steel, steel and gold, and solid gold — with a sporty and masculine aesthetic and powered by the famed Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01. The Breitling Caliber 01 self-winding mechanical chronograph movement boasts 70 hours of power reserve and beats at a frequency of 28,800 v.p.h. The GMT versions of the Chronomat, available in 44mm or 47mm, offers wearers, in addition to the chronograph function, dual time zones via a second 24-hour hand and 24-hour bezel.
An ultra sporty version of the Breitling Chronomat is the Chronomat 44 Raven with its dynamic orange accents and orange rubber-inlaid numerals on the black rotating bezel. The ladies’ Chronomat models are sized at 38mm with mother-of-pearl and diamond options.
To own a Breitling Chronomat is to own a piece of the brand’s illustrious history. Both vintage and modern versions of the Chronomat are highly sought after, and Breitling has confirmed several times that the Chronomat is their best selling model today. Whether you’re looking for a pre-owned Breitling Chronomat 44, a secondhand Breitling Chronomat Raven, previously-owned Breitling Chronomat GMT , or used ladies’ Breitling Chronomat, the secondary market has an abundance of styles and models to chose from at fantastic prices.