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Feature: 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Breitling

So, you think you know everything about Breitling, do you? Well, we think it’s time to assess your knowledge on the Swiss watchmaker, with five things we reckon you probably didn’t know about the brand.

Breitling Invented The Chronograph Wristwatch

Breitling was the first watch company to put a chronograph movement in a wristwatch—an incredible feat. Although the chronograph had already been invented prior, Breitling made the first chronograph wristwatch available in 1915, with improvements introduced in 1934. Although this is something that is very much the norm by today’s standards, at the time this was an innovation that paved the way for modern watchmaking.

And Action! Breitling Onscreen

With Breitling considered a watch brand for the explorers among us, it is no surprise then that TV explorer Bear Grylls wears one. From Bear to Bruce now, as Mr Willis can also be seen repping a Breitling in the action-packed Die Hard 3, as well as the Swiss watch brand making appearances in Born Survivor and Blood Diamond.

Breitling and TAG Heuer = The Dream Team

Although present day rivals, Breitling and TAG Heuer joined forces in 1969 to create a partnership called Project 99. It was this relationship that bought us Breitling’s popular Chrono-Matic model and it was the coming together of the designers behind each brand who created the watch’s Calibre 11—a milestone for Breitling, as it became the world’s first chronograph with a micro-rotor.

Watches For Policemen

Launching a patented stopwatch in 1930 called the Vitesse, Breitling had created a revolutionary timepiece fit for crimefighting police officers. The accuracy of this watch was so good that it was used to monitor the speed of motor vehicles. This was before the days of radar, when officers had to rely on their own vision and make snappy mental calculations to detect speed.

The Company Nearly Collapsed, Twice

Like many big watch companies around today, it hasn’t always been smooth sailing for Breitling. The brand suffered difficulty during the Depression Era of the 1930s, as well as the watch-specific quartz crisis of the 70s, in which mechanical watchmaking nearly went bust thanks to newer innovations—namely quartz movements.

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