The Grenchen based watchmaker has launched a new limited edition of its iconic piece that marks the 75th anniversary of AOPA- Aircrafts Owners and Pilots Association. This organization’s history is closely tied to the birth of the model. When it first appeared in the mid 20th century, the famed Breitling’s model featured a slide rule that enabled computations that were necessary to pilots, which is why AOPA chose it as its official timekeeper. In a way, this was the model that raised the brand to fame and which tied it to the world’s largest aeronautical organization. That is why the new piece celebrates the anniversary of AOPA, but also the heritage of the brand itself.
The 500 limited edition of the watch is mostly oriented towards the members of AOPA. This can be seen through the fact that the model includes the organization’s logo on its dial and on the case-back, as well as through the possibility to personalize the timepiece. The customization enables the wearer to have an engraving of his or her name (on the top of the rear side) as well as the membership number (beneath the AOPA inscription at the center).This is why it could be expected that the actual members will be the ones who are the most interested in the piece, though it will certainly attract the attention of people who are simultaneously aviation and watchmaking enthusiasts as well.
The new watch features a slide-rule bezel of the original watch which is considered by many as one of the most iconic aviator’s timekeepers, as well as watches from the 20th century in general. This sort of bidirectional rotating bezel with serrations allowed computations and navigation to the pilots, which is why the model came into prominence in the first place.
In addition, Breitling Navitmer AOPA also has the brand’s trademark complication – a chronograph – which is another useful trait that was both necessary to pilots and the characteristic that was seen in the original piece. Thanks to the movement’s frequency of 28,800 vph, the stop watch is precise within 1/4th of a second and it also comes with counters with scales divided to 30 minutes and 12 hours.
Since we are on the subject of the movement, we should say that the watch is supplied with Breitling B 23 movement. The self-winding caliber is based on Valjoux 7753 which itself is actually Valjoux 7750 with additional gearing that allows the featured date display to be moved from the original three o’clock position to the space between four and five o’clock. The choice of non-proprietary movement for the limited edition can be regarded as the major set-back of the model, but only if you are a watchmaking purist, since there are, of course, no issues with the reliability of the movement.
Breitling Navitimer AOPA comes with a black dial that matches the ones seen on the original piece that the watchmaker made for the brand when it had become the official timekeeper of the organization (in 1954, two years after the initial release of Navitimer).
Unlike the historic piece, the new one features bar-shaped hour markers instead of Arabic numerals. Additionally, it also includes a red central hand and other chronograph pointers in the same color. Naturally, it likewise uses modern luminous coatings.
The watch is set inside a stainless steel housing with the retro sized diameter of 42 mm and the thickness of 14.6 mm. It features a solid metal back and weighs 79.4 grams. For the crystal, Breitling used a cambered sapphire glass which was treated with anti-reflective coating on both of its sides. Supported waterproofness is minimal and measures to 30 meters.
There are two available types of attachments that can be paired with the piece. The first one is a black leather strap with contrasting stitching. This version is the cheaper option and it costs $6,500 (in its personalized form). The other available choice is with Navitimer steel bracelet with seven links where the ones on the periphery are the widest. This one comes at the price of $7,655.