8,8 / 10
Extremely rare dial
The present model, reference 809, is a black-silver Cosmonaute, aka Reverse Panda with a Twin Jet dial.
It is considered the sixth execution (Mk 6) of the Cosmonaute models.
This example is extremely rare, because its main feature is the absence of any model name – Cosmonaute or Navitimer – on its dial. This is the only known Reverse Panda Cosmonaute dial with this particularity.
#1.144.xxx was produced in 1967. It’s in great condition and its possibly unique dial makes it an exceptionally rare bird.
About the model
In 1952, Breitling designed for the influential US AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) a revolutionary watch combining a chronograph and an E6B type flight computer of that would allow its members to perform all kinds of calculations necessary in flight: average speed, fuel consumption, distance, conversion kilometers in miles.
These challenging requirements were made possible by a logarithmic slide rule integrated into a rotating bezel. The Navitimer was born, with presumably the first examples produced in 1954.
In 1962, astronaut Scott Carpenter, after seeing a Navitimer on a pilot’s wrist, contacted Breitling to ask if they could modify one for his upcoming flight. In particular, he asked to replace the usual 12-hour function by a 24-hour function, the only way to know the real time in space. Breitling agreed and Carpenter received his Cosmonaute a few days before making three orbits around the Earth aboard Aurora 7. It was the first wrist chronograph worn in space.
Shortly after, Breitling decided to market this special 24-hour version to the public under the reference 809.