Breitling, the Swiss family-owned company has been an established name in the watchmaking industry for more than 130 years. A look into the Breitling Chronométrie workshop in La Chaux-de-Fonds shows: The chronographs are made here with a high level of innovation strength.

As an aeroplane passenger, you have to blindly trust the pilot and his technically perfect aeroplane. Especially when – as I am at this moment – you are sitting in the Breitling biplane with fastened seat belt and, from this unusual airy ‘wing walker’ position above the wing, you are looking down at the Breitling Chronométrie workshop.

The interplay of man and machine fortunately works fine and we therefore land safely at the small airport of La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Swiss canton of Neuenburg. It is only a stone’s throw away from the Breitling Chronométrie workshop, in front of which Jean-Paul Girardin a little later personally welcomes the journalist who is still standing on shaky legs. Breitling’s deputy general director cannot suppress an impish smile because he knows from own experience what it feels like to fly high. Being a pilot, Breitling‘s athletic production manager frequently covers the distance to his place of work in La Chaux-de-Fonds with his own helicopter. He therefore knows all about the vital interplay of man and machine in air traffic.
And, as he emphasised during the tour of the Breitling Chronométrie company, this precision is nowhere else celebrated as much as at Breitling: “As in aviation, everything is very strictly regimented and encoded at our company.”

More than 2,000 digitalised work sheets record even the smallest detail of the 346 components of the 01 calibre movement that Breitling’s watchmakers at the high-tech workshop assemble by hand over a period of about 1 year to make high-precision watches. “It is the most important movement of the company and is installed today in the Navitimer and Chronomat models to name but a few, explained Jean-Paul Girardin.

“More than half of our production consists of chronographs and half of these are equipped with our company’s manufacture calibre.”

This high watchmaking art has been maintained at Breitling since the founding of the company in 1884. And: Word about the reliability of the hand-made timepieces from La Chaux-de-Fonds has long since spread around the entire globe. For example, the British Royal Air Force and the Italian Frecce Tricolori stunt pilots rely on the high quality of the Flying B watch brand. Breitling’s expertise in chronograph mechanisms has meanwhile reached such a high level that every watch is submitted to COSC, the relentless Official Swiss Chronometer Testing Institute, for testing and subsequent certification.

Breitling has long since proven that it perfectly masters the production of mechanical chronometers but Jean-Paul Girardin and his team do not want to rest on their laurels. Quite the contrary:
“The logical consequence in our work is the digital connectivity of the timepieces,”, said the visionary looking into Breitling’s future.

Forerunner of these so-called smart chronometers is the new Exospace B55. The watch with an eye-catching dark titanium case and blue rubber strap combines an exclusive SuperQuartz calibre movement with a large number of digital functions. Certain watch adjustments can be made using the smartphone and conversely, the Exospace B55 can upload various measurement results to the smartphone.

And how could it be any different, these functions are particularly tailor-made for pilot requirements – completely in line with the company’s ‘Instruments for Professionals’ motto.



Breitling B55 calibre movement, COSC-certified chronometer, thermocompensated SuperQuartz TM movement, analogue and digital 12/24-hour backlit LC display. Chronograph with 1/100th second accuracy, UTC Universal Time, count-down/count-up clock (or MET Mission Elapsed Time), measurement of flight times, lap times, electronic tachymeter, countdown, second time zone, 7-day alarm function, perpetual calendar with week display and battery percentage display.
Case: Black titanium, water resistant to 100 metres. Unidirectional ratchet bezel. Sapphire glass with anti-reflection-coating on both sides. Diameter: 46mm. Dial: Volcano-black. Strap: TwinPro.
Photos Copyrights:  Breitling