By Matt Gulielmi | Published: September 13, 2023
Invitees gathered in Manhattan’s Classic Car Club for the unveiling of two new models of Breitling’s iconic Navitimer this Wednesday.
Hosted by actress Charlize Theron and Misty Copeland of the American Ballet Theatre, the ambassadors kicked off the brand’s new campaign titled “Navitimer—For the Journey,” highlighting Theron’s triumphant journey from a troublesome childhood in South Africa to ultra-stardom. Before the main event, guests were treated to a solo from jazz drummer Eric Harland followed by an explosive performance by Copeland’s fellow ABT dancers.
Theron, Copeland, and actress Yao Chen (not in attendance) make up Breitling’s “Spotlight Squad”—the brand’s woman-led ambassador team that share common traits of courage, conviction, and self-made success.
Despite past efforts to acquire the female customer, the enthusiast’s “man’s watch” opinion of Breitling stubbornly persists. Originally worn by pilots who relied on the chronometer and rotating slide rule, styles like the Navitimer and Chronomat are heavily associated with the airmen that sported them.
The historically masculine profession remains a cornerstone of the brand’s identity to this day. It doesn’t help that James Bond was tracking down nuclear warheads in his Top Time and Bruce Willis played cat and mouse with terrorists wearing a Chronomat.
Bolstered by the feminine trio, the independent watchmaker aims to grab some additional market share via the #SQUADONAMISSION campaign and their existing girl-watch portfolio. On the core messaging, Copeland said: “I feel so closely connected to the idea because as a black woman in the ballet world, it’s been about reinventing myself and not following anyone else’s path. So I feel very connected to this idea of taking over this world that’s been designed for men.”
After the campaign’s release, Breitling presented the expansion of their women’s Navitimer silhouette, now available in two smaller diameters.
Released in silver, mint green, and anthracite, the 36 mm wears an ornate, beaded crown–a departure from the sporty look of the main-line version. Unlike the 32 mm model it released alongside, the larger watch maintains the slide rule that makes the Navitimer so identifiable. Ladies who seek even more of a jewelry-like appearance can opt for the mother-of-pearl face adorned with diamond markers. On the low end, the 36 mm begins at $5,000 and $30,000 for the upgraded 18K red gold bracelet.
Charlize attended the event wearing her own 36 mm Navitimer and shared, “This is a 36 [mm]. This face is considered small, but it doesn’t feel dainty. I like that about their watches.” She noted its versatility, saying, “For me, the duality and the ability to wear it with T-shirts and gowns—like, I would wear this picking up my kids from school in sweatpants. That’s what I love about the watches.”
Despite the success of the Navitimer, its functional details made it a sportier watch with a present wrist feel. With the release of the 32 mm, Breitling muted the busy look of the Navitimer by removing the slide rule on the 8 mm thick body (down from 11.2 mm on the larger model). The 32 mm is powered by a COSC-certified SuperQuartz movement against the self winding mechanical of the 36 mm. Prices start at $4,300 for the version with an alligator strap and $22,000 for the 18K red gold bracelet.
During Navitimer’s facelift launch event, Breitling announced their new responsible sourcing practices. Both of the new Navitimer models incorporate lab-created diamonds that can be tracked back to certified suppliers. Additionally, the gold and dual-tone variants utilize ethically sourced gold that meets the environmental and social guidelines set by the Swiss Better Gold Association.
Both models of the Navitimer are on sale now at Breitling.com.