Editor’s note: We are delighted to finally share our hands-on review of the new Breitling Navitimer B01 collection for 2022. For our other detailed hands-on reviews, please head to our dedicated reviews section here. This is not a sponsored post.
Variety is the Spice of Life or Reactions to new Breitling Navitimer B01
English poet William Cowper is credited for “Variety’s the very spice of life, That gives it all its flavour”.
Chronographs can be tedious sometimes to appreciate. Busy dials and same old colour combinations can take the spice out of these tool-esque sports watches. Thankfully, Georges Kern and Co decided to infuse some flavour into this style, and what we have are some stellar looking chronographs reinvigorating the legendary Navitimer name.
The new Breitling Navitimer B01 collection for 2022 is all about variety. The 2022s revamped and updated new Breitling Navitimer B01 collection is being offered in different sizes, materials and colours.
My first reaction on being presented these earlier this year was to take in a long breath and just marvel at the expanse that lay in front of me. The next reaction was to appreciate the different case sizes, given watch enthusiasts sometimes have a tendency to whine a little on forums about the lack of size options. And third, I was just blown away by a coupe of colour executions of shades I have rarely seen before in watches (and more on those in a bit).
Overall, the new Navitimer B01 collection for 2022 impresses, and makes an excellent case in defence of the idiom of ‘variety is the spice of life’.
A Change Is Always Nice or Multiple Models
A total of 14 new models have been announced, spread over 28 references — courtesy the choice of a semi-shiny alligator strap or seven-row metal Navitimer bracelet with a butterfly clasp — and two case materials (steel and 18-karat red gold). In addition to the colour choices, the star feature is Breitling deciding to release in sizes of 46mm, 43mm and 41 mm.
New Breitling Navitimer B01 – 41
Lets’s start with the smallest of the lot, 41mm. Given my rather slim ~16cm wrists, even 41mm is usually a stretch. But frankly, if I was to get one of these for myself, I might go for either this or the 43mm.
There is not that much of a difference when wearing between the two given the similar thickness and the same lug interhorn spacing. And the 43mm models also get one of the two of my favourite colours from the entire new Navitimer B01 collection for 2022.
Coming back to the smallest of the new Breitling Navitimer B01, it measures at 41mm in diameter and 13.6mm in thickness, with a short 46mm lug-to-lug spacing and 22mm lug interhorn spacing.
These come in a choice of three steel cased beauties or one red gold model:
- SS body with blue dial with black contrasting counters and black circular slide rule bezel
- SS body with silver dial with tone on tone counters and circular slide rule
- SS body with mint-green with contrasting silver counters and circular slide rule
- Gold case with silver dial with tone on tone counters
Out of the 41mm new Breitling Navitimer B01, my pick for those with even slimmer wrists than my ~16cm would be the blue dialled version, given the black peripheral bezel and counters make it visually appear smaller.
For those who like different colours, the mint-green variation is my pick, though it looks much better — and the one I would go for personally — on the 43mm model with a black bezel and black counters. The ‘mint’ part of that shade of green really comes out alive on that version. As for the remaining silver dial options, and of course taste is subjective, but the combination of silver-beige with red gold is pretty freaking stellar.
New Breitling Navitimer B01 – 43
Compared to the smallest version, this middle sized new Breitling Navitimer B01 measures at 43mm in diameter and nominally 0.09mm larger 13.69mm in thickness, with a still on the short side 48mm lug-to-lug spacing (and the same 22mm lug interhorn spacing).
These are spread across the most, providing the choice of five steel cased beauties or one red gold model:
- SS body with classic reverse-panda look with black dial and white contrasting chronograph counters
- SS body with silver dial with contrasting black counters and black circular slide rule
- SS body with ice-blue dial with contrasting black counters and black circular slide rule
- SS body with mint-green dial with contrasting black counters and black circular slide rule (my second favourite of the collection)
- SS body with copper dial with contrasting black counters and black circular slide rule
- Gold case with classic reverse-panda look with black dial and white contrasting chronograph counters
Mint-green is obviously my pick but that traditional reverse panda model in stainless steel is also a show-stopper.
New Breitling Navitimer B01 – 46
The largest of the new Breitling Navitimer B01 collection measures at 46mm in diameter and still relatively similar 13.95mm in thickness, with a 51mm lug-to-lug spacing and larger 24mm lug interhorn spacing.
Like the 41mm version, these again come in a choice of three steel cased beauties or one red gold model:
- SS body with classic reverse-panda look with black dial and white contrasting chronograph counters and bezel
- SS body with dark green dial with black counters and matching circular slide rule
- SS body with blue dial with contrasting silver counters and circular slide rule
- Gold case with silver dial with black counters and black circular slide rule bezel
Overall, if I was to chose between the three sizing collections as a whole, the 46mm diameter performs the best. All 4 models look amazing in their own rights. That said, my favourite out of all the new models is that green version. The shade of green is simply to die for. Hot damn and sexy.
“A change is always nice,” wrote the Greek dramatist Euripides.
The new Breitling Navitimer B01 collection for 2022 with these multitude of options is a welcome change, one that ensures that every watch enthusiast, no matter their brand or sizing or colour allegiances, should definitely have something nice to say. And that’s rare.
A bit about the history of this iconic model. As many of you might know, the Breitling Navitimer is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, having been introduced by Willy Breitling in 1952. Two years later in 1954 came its breakthrough moment, when the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), the largest aviators’ club in the world, announced the Navitimer equipped with the Valjoux Caliber 72 as its official timepiece. AOPA’s winged logo was placed at 12’o clock, a feature now repeated again on the new versions for 2022.
As a side note, this Valjoux Caliber 72 was substantially different than the new Calibre B01, with the legendary movements origins dating to as far as the Valjoux 22 from 1914. It was roughly the same diameter though coming in at 31.5mm but beat at a much lower frequency of of 2.5Hz and featured a climb wheel and 30-minute counter.
In terms of similarities and genesis of some key elements found in the new Breitling Navitimer B01 collection for 2022, here are the key moments:
- 1963 saw the production of Navitimer with contrasting counters as seen in the modern versions today
- 1964 saw the shift from beaded to notched bezels
- 1969 saw the appearance of the date function on the dial
- 1989 was when different coloured dials were introduced, just like the plethora of colour variations of the new Breitling Navitimer B01
- 2010 saw the use of in-house movements
Through history, especially even in Navitimer’s early days, its design made fans out of not only aviators and the general public since 1955 with the iconic 806 reference, but also celebrities of the day such as Miles Davis, Serge Gainsbourg, Jim Clark and Graham Hill.
The Specifications of Breitling Navitimer B01
All 14 models of the new Navitimer B01 feature the same Breitling Manufacture Caliber 01 movement.
This 30 x 7.2mm COSC-certified column-wheel and vertical clutch — hand jumping on the chronograph function activation is now removed — movement with ball bearing comprises 346 components and 47 jewels, beats at the frequency of 4Hz, and provides an impressive 70-hour power reserve. It features an instantaneous date-changing function and has a modular design that is aimed at making the servicing easier.
B01 is the base movement on which other Breitling calibers such as B09 found in the Breitling Premier Chronograph 40 Burgundy are based on. It is also the Breitling version of the Tudor Manufacture Chronograph Calibre MT5813.
“We don’t throw the term ‘icon’ around lightly. The Navitimer is one of the most recognisable watches ever made. It’s on collectors’ lists of the greatest watches of all time. What began as a tool for pilots has gone on to mean something profound to every single person who has had this timepiece along on their personal journey.”Georges Kern, CEO of Breitling
The Hands-on Experience or Variety Is The Soul Of Pleasure
Given the movement is the same as the revamped Breitling Chronomat collection from 2020, and the design DNA is the same as the outgoing Navitimer B01 such as ref. AB0121211B1P1, no doubt that the new Breitling Navitimer B01 collection looks familiar.
The tri-compax layout is still present, but now instead of the date aperture being at that ungodly 4.30 as in the ref. AB0121211B1P1, it is now somewhat hidden at 6’o clock, just like on the revamped Breitling Chronomat. As far as similarities go, the Chronomat B01 42 Bentley ref. AB01343A1L1A1 with a green dial and black contrasting chronograph counters bears roughly the same visual aesthetics as that of the new Navitimer B01 46mm in SS body with dark green dial with black counters and matching circular slide rule. The Chronomat B01 features a different case size measuring 42mm x 15.10mm (with an increased 200m (20 ATM) water resistance).
So those of you who like me have slim wrists but love the green dial now the new Breitling Navitimer B01 46mm fret not, you can have something very similar in the Chronomat B01 42 Bentley (as long as you weren’t specifically after a Navitimer).
Besides the date window change, there are other differences between the outgoing and incoming Navitimers. Take for instance the outgoing Navitimer B01 Chronograph ref. AB0127211B1P1 and the new B01 with the same classic reverse-panda look with black dial and white contrasting chronograph counters and bezel.
For starters, given the date wheels match the dial colour, the older version features a black one while the new version sports a white date wheel.
The pump pushers are the same but the case dimensions have changed, with the old one reading at 46 x 14.5mm as compared to the more streamlined 13.95mm. The sleeker look is also accentuated courtesy swapping the convex sapphire crystal with a domed sapphire crystal and also featuring a flattened slide rule.
Finally, the new models feature a brushed case-band but polished lugs that further help with creating a slimmer look.
The lug interhorn is the same for both at 24mm but the biggest difference is in the lug-to-lug spacing: the new Breitling Navitimer B01 46 measures at 51mm while the outgoing version comes at a greater 52.4mm. On the dial, not only has the font changed, but Georges Kern & Co have also re-introduced the AOPA wings logo at 12.
When it comes to the 41mm models, the design of the dial has notably changed, with the 12,6,9 counter configuration substituted for the more uniform 3,6,9 configuration.
The outgoing Navitimer Chronograph 41 model also didn’t feature an in-house movement until now, with the calibre Breitling 13 — with a lower 48-hour power reserve — driving them. These were also larger with a 14.4mm thick case and 48.1mm lug-to-lug spacing.
In person, some of the colours introduced in the new Navitimer B01 collection for 2022 are rather unique and distinct, and I am sure that watch enthusiasts will appreciate the variety and the subtle shade differences especially between blue and green versions.
“Variety is the soul of pleasure,” said the dramatist Aphra Behn. The new Breitling Navitimer B01 collection is indeed a variety tale that spans 70 years, comprises 28 references spread over 14 models, and features 10 dial colour variations that see watch collectors being given the pleasure to pick from three size and two material options. Truly, one legendary icon.
To find out more about the new Navitimer B01 collection and other Breitling timepieces, please head to their website here. All images unless otherwise stated are ©WatchYaGonnaDoAboutIt.