Breitling Company Timeline and History

From Past to Present

1884 · In St. Imier, in the Jura mountains of Switzerland, Leon Breitling opens a workshop specializing in making chronographs and precision counters for scientific and industrial purposes.

1892 · In response to his company's significant growth, Leon Breitling relocates in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the center of Swiss watchmaking in those days.

1914 · On the demise of Leon Breitling, his son Gaston takes over the firm.

1915 · Gaston Breitling creates the first wristwatch chronograph and subsequently provides pilots with their first wrist instruments.

1923 · Breitling develops the first independent chronograph pushpiece. Start and return-to-zero functions had previously been controlled using the winding-crown.

1932 · Gaston's son, Willy Breitling, takes the helm of the family firm.

1934 · Breitling develops the second return-to-zero pushpiece. This invention, making it possible to measure several successive short times with an add function using the first pushpiece, gives the wrist chronograph its definitive form.

1936 · Breitling becomes the official supplier to the Royal Air Force. This marks the start of a longstanding record of cooperation with international aviation.

1942 · Breitling launches the Chronomat, the first chronograph to be fitted with a circular slide rule. In parallel, the company broadens its professional clientele to include the American armed forces.

1952 · Breitling creates the Navitimer, a wrist instrument equipped with the famous "navigation computer" capable of handling all calculations called for by a flight plan. This super chronograph quickly becomes a firm favourite among pilots around the globe. By this stage, Breitling is already supplying the major international airlines with cockpit clocks.

1962 · Astronaut Scott Carpenter wears the Cosmonaute Chronograph on his wrist during his orbital flight aboard the Aurora 7 space capsule.

1969 · Breitling invents the selfwinding chronograph movement, in cooperation with Buren and Heuer-Leonidas. This technical feat represents a major breakthrough for the entire Swiss watch industry.

1979 · Ernest Schneider - a pilot, watch manufacturer and microelectronics specialist - takes over the Breitling brand from the founder's grandson, Willy Breitling.

1984 · Breitling launches the Chronomat, in close cooperation with the Frecce Tricolori elite flight team. With its sturdy case and famous bezel with rider tabs, the Chronomat marks the return of the mechanical chronograph and quickly becomes the best-selling line in the Breitling collection, a position it has held ever since.

1985 · The Aerospace, an innovative multifunction electronic chronograph crafted in titanium immediately appeals to many pilots.

1995 · Breitling presents the Emergency, a multifunction instrument watch with built-in micro-transmitter broadcasting on the 121.5 MHz aircraft emergency frequency.

1999 · The "all-chronometer" challenge: as the crowning touch to a century of watchmaking excellence, Breitling has set itself the ambitious goal of submitting its entire product range to the Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute. A world first among major watch brands.

2000 · Breitling inaugurates its new headquarters in Grenchen, Switzerland, made up of an ultra-modern administrative building and a state-of-the-art production unit where Breitling chronometers are assembled in optimal conditions.

2001 · With the introduction of SuperQuartz&tm;, Breitling provides movements ten times more accurate than standard quartz. The brand thereby asserts itself as a benchmark in the field of quartz: its electronic movements are the only ones on the market able to meet the COSC requirements.

2002 · Breitling Chronometrie, a unit specializing in the making of mechanical chronograph movements, is established in La Chaux-de-Fonds, the town where Leon Breitling opened his first chronograph factory 110 years earlier.