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Find the 2,169 Breitling results sold in major auction houses by consulting the catalog of models and collections


Breitling History

From his apprenticeship as a watchmaker, the man was almost obsessed with the idea of perfecting the measurement of short periods of time using special watches. It is therefore hardly surprising that once his training was complete, he set about creating his own chronograph (stopwatch). This set the blueprint for Léon Breitling’s career. The first chronographs bearing the inventor’s name appeared in 1884, manufactured in his home country, in Saint-Imier, Switzerland. In 1892, in the neighbouring village of La Chaux-de-Fonds, the young manufacturer created the G. Léon Breitling SA Montbrillant Watch Factory. Specialising in chronographs proved to be a wise choice.

In 1914, Gaston Breitling began his career in the family company, his father dying in the same year. Gaston, who had inherited his father’s passion for chronographs, worked systematically on making the family firm a success. One of his special models, patented and christened Vitesse, proved very popular with the police, since it made it possible to measure speed and so to catch speeding motorists. Giving in to demand, Breitling increased its development and manufacture of chronograph wristwatches with a stopwatch function. It is probably to him that we owe the inclusion of the family name on the dial. His death in 1927 left a great void.

In 1932, the third generation took over the helm, once his son Willy Breitling had received in-depth technical and sales training. In 1936, the firm launched a chronograph for aircraft cockpits; in 1947, the legendary Chronomat with rotating slide-rule and, in 1952, the Navytimer with optimised calculation functions. In 1962, a Breitling chronograph went into space on the wrist of astronaut Scott Carpenter. In 1969, the watch brand which mostly used Venus rough movements in its hand-wound models, was a pioneer of automatic chronographs (Chronomats with micro-rotor).

In 1979, a few months after the death of Willy Breitling, the history of the original Breitling company came to an end. In 1982, Ernest Schneider registered the company Montres Breitling SA with its headquarters in Granges. His son Théodore now runs the traditional company, with every watch without exception possessing an official chronometer certificate.

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The Rolex rating

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