The history of Breitling
Breitling luxury watches are never far from conversations between connoisseurs, investors and explorers. Known for their robustness, resilience and ability to hold value over time, it’s clear to see why the brand has only grown in strength over the last 140 years.
“Swiss luxury watches of style, purpose & action." - Breitling
The year was 1884 and 24-year-old watchmaker Léon Breitling was on a mission to overcome the recession in Switzerland. He set out to create instruments that could “measure, divide and master time.” The very first iconic Breitling watches came to life in a lively square in Saint-Imier. By 1892, an entire watch factory had become the beating heart of top-notch chronographs and timers. Breitling had begun setting the standard for the industry, and had pulled in the interest of sports enthusiasts, athletes and aviation pioneers.
The decades that followed housed previously unheard-of innovations. Breitling patented a movement with a power reserve of 8 days, and developed a chronograph with two-fifths of a second accuracy shortly after.
Turn Of The Century
During the early 1900s, Gaston Breitling followed in his father’s footsteps. He focused on wearability, creating one of the first wrist-worn chronographs with an independent pusher at 2 o’clock. When his son, Willy, took over, a second pusher at 4 o’clock was created. This was the final touch in the development of the chronographs we know today.
The brand went on to have early connections with the aviation industry, partnering with the British Air Ministry during WWII. Shortly after, Breitling recognised a need for glamorous, sophisticated watches — pieces that were more about style than purpose.
While the quartz crisis of the 1970s threw many watch brands off track, Breitling found an opportunity to use quartz to develop new levels of reliability and precision. And, since the company never left the shrinking pool of mechanical watches, it played a huge part in bringing them back some years later.
Buy new and pre-owned Breitling watches online
Shop the curated collection of Breitling watches for men and women at Trilogy Jewellers. With an online store and a physical store in Hatton Garden, London, you can find a pre-owned Breitling watch for your portfolio or your wrist, right off the shelf.
Looking for something specific? Let Trilogy help you find that elusive or ultra-rare timepiece. We can locate most luxury watches within a day or two. Call 0203 9298227 to get started.
Frequently Asked Questions about Breitling Watches
What are Breitling watches famous for?
Breitling watches for men and women are aimed at a confident, dynamic customer base. Breitling luxury watches tend to be large and robust, so freedom-seeking fans like pilots, motorbike riders and the everyday person with a taste for a thrill usually veer towards them.
Throughout most of its history, Breitling has been associated with aviation. We see this carried through to the brand’s product line, with Breitling watches becoming functional yet stylish tools for a life well lived. From the Superocean (sea watch) to the Navitimer (flight tool) and Chronomat (sports watch), these watches are not designed to be left at home while you take aim at exploration.
Timepieces aside, the Breitling brand is famous for its commitment to taking social and environmental action. From releasing sustainable upcycled watch boxes to supporting organisations that protect our oceans, and creating the best possible working environment for their team, Breitling’s purpose goes beyond profit.
What Breitling do Brad Pitt and other famous faces wear?
With an impressive personal collection of Breitling watches, Brad Pitt’s face quickly comes to mind when most people think about the brand. In the 2022 film ‘Bullet Train’, Pitt wore a Breitling AVI Ref.765 1953 Re-Edition. A modern take on a vintage Breitling, this watch is defined by an all-black dial and Arabic numerals.
Brad Pitt has also been spotted wearing the 42mm Breitling Premier B01 Chronograph ‘Norton’ edition in stainless steel — a watch created to celebrate Breitling’s partnership with British motorcycle manufacturer Norton. Also in Pitt’s collection is the Breitling Emergency II.
Elsewhere in the kingdom of A-listers, people wearing Breitling luxury watches include John Travolta and his Breitling Navitimer, Charlize Theron and her Breitling Aerospace, and David Beckham and his Transocean Unitime.
How much are pre-owned Breitling watches worth?
The cost of pre-owned Breitling watches depends on the model, age, condition and the presence of original paperwork. In some cases, investors value a watch more highly if it still has its original box, too.
The spectrum is vast — you could pick up a Breitling Avenger Skyland at Trilogy Jewellers for as little as £2750, while other pre-owned Breitling watches take a much bigger chunk out of your bank account. Many models (especially those limited-edition pieces) ring in at hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Do Breitling watches hold value?
Breitling luxury watches are consistently in high demand by adventurers and connoisseurs. Generally, Breitling watches for men and women are viewed as solid investment pieces, in that they hold their value over time. Depending on the watch you’re lucky enough to own, you might be able to sell your Breitling at a higher price.
Each Breitling is made of high-quality materials. The brand works with glare-proofed sapphire crystals, grade 2 titanium, 316L anti-magnetic stainless steel alloy, and 18k gold. All of these materials contribute to the sturdiness and resilience of a Breitling watch.
Before you rush to buy a Breitling watch for investment purposes, read up on that individual watch’s characteristics. The level of demand and the specific model in question will all decide whether it will turn out to be a lucrative investment. Book a one-on-one appointment at Trilogy to find out more.
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