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Breitling Cosmonaute Navitimer Wristwatch

Release date:2021-01-03
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Breitling Cosmonaute Navitimer Wristwatch

Inventory Number: WW2012001

Made circa 1975, 48mm, stainless steel, with Cal.178 manual-winding caliber, 17 jewels, 18,000 vph, approximately 38 hours power reserve. Ref. 1809, with hours, minutes, small seconds, and 30-minute and 12-hour chronograph counters, and 24 hours display for navigation.


Historical Background

In the early 20th century, Breitling was a pioneer of the chronograph complication, giving the world the first chronograph with a mono-pusher at 2:00 in 1915, followed by a chronograph with the classic dual-pushers (at 2:00 and 4:00) in 1933. Willy Breitling (grandson of Breitling SA founder Leon Breitling) wanted to create a chronograph for scientists, engineers, and mathematicians, so in 1940, during the Second World War, Breitling applied for a patent (patent no. 217012) for the design of a rotating watch bezel with an outer slide rule scale incorporated beneath the crystal.

Enter the 1941 Chronomat Ref. 769 and Ref. 786:  the chronograph for mathematicians, which had a logarithmic slide rule incorporated in its internal rotating bezel, allowing complex calculations to be made with the turn of your fingers instead of taps as is common today.

In 1952, 10 years after commercial sales of the Chronomat began, Breitling adopted the technology of the Chronomat specifically to the needs of pilots.  The Navigation Timer, the Navitimer, was born. The first Navitimers were adorned with the double-wing logo of the “Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association” (AOPA) and by 1960, a real cooperation with the AOPA began. The first-generation Navitimer Ref. 806 came featured Arabic numerals and a black dial and subdials and were outfitted with the manual-wind Venus Cal. 178. This was a legendary high-grade 17-jewel, tri-compax layout chronograph caliber with a 38-hour power reserve and a 18,000 vph beat rate.

In 1959, naval officer, astronaut, and test pilot Scott Carpenter wanted a version of the Navitimer dialed and geared to read 24 hours – the Cosmonaute. In 1962, he took part in the second manned American orbital flight in history, orbiting the Earth three times wearing his Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute 809. The 24-hour display was necessary to help him keep track of the true passage of time.