9,8 / 10
Rare limited edition
The Patrouille de France, founded in 1931 is the oldest of all the flight squadrons.
Based on reference 81600 “Gainsbourg” (renamed A11021), this special Old Navitimer series features a blue dial, a transparent caseback and of course the squadron’s logo on the dial at 12 o’clock.
It is fitted with the caliber Lemania 1873, which is the same one as the famous 861 of the Omega Speedmaster.
This example is the number 0xxx of 1’000 pieces. It is totally full set, with all its original accessories, certificates and documents, including an additional leather strap with folding clasp.
A great opportunity for every Breitling and/or aviation enthusiast!
About the model
In 1952, the US Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (abbreviated AOPA) contacted Breitling to develop a chronograph 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.
Since then, Breitling has always maintained a very strong link with the aeronautical world.
In the early 1980s, Ernest Schneider – owner of the brand at that time – was an aviation enthusiast and learned that the Italian Frecce Tricolori aerial demonstration squadron was looking for an analog-display chronograph for its pilots that was both robust for professional use and elegant for private wear. An all-new mechanical chronograph was designed and presented to the Frecce Tricolori in 1983.
Ten years later came the start of a partnership with numerous national military flight demonstration squadrons, and the Navitimer and Chronomat models that refer to them all have the respective squadron’s emblem on the dial and a specific caseback. These models were given to the pilots of the flight teams, some of which have authorized the extension of their collaboration by 1’000-piece limited series intended for the public.
The first model was the Navitimer 81600 for the famous Patrouille de France whose logo appears at 12 o’clock, followed by the Old Navitimer for the Patrouille Suisse and many others like the Blue Angels (US Navy), the Patrulla Águila (Spain), the Red Arrows (UK Royal Air Force), the Thunderbirds (US Air Force), the Blue Impulse ( Japan), the Draken (Austrian Armed Forces), the Grasshoppers (Netherlands Royal Air Force) and the Top Gun military school (USA).