BREITLING’S HUIT AVIATION DEPARTMENT

BREITLING’S HUIT AVIATION DEPARTMENT BREITLING’S HUIT AVIATION DEPARTMENT
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BREITLING’S HUIT AVIATION DEPARTMENT

Although Willy Breitling was only 19 years old when he assumed leadership of the company that bore his family name, he had already received extensive commercial and technical training and was ready to steer Breitling into its next great era.

The Future Was in the Skies
In 1932, chronographs were very much at the heart of Breitling’s business, but chronograph wristwatches were still operated by a single pusher. Willy Breitling saw this as a deficiency, and, in 1934, he filed a patent for the world’s first two-pusher chronograph. In 1936, the young entrepreneur introduced a specially designed aviator wrist chronograph with a black dial and luminescent numerals and hands. Willy Breitling had seen Breitling’s future, and it was in the skies.

Instruments for Professional Aviators
Among Willy Breitling’s most celebrated achievements was the establishment of the Huit Aviation Department in 1938. He was aware of the strict requirements for military and civil aviation, and the Department’s name –
the French word for “eight” – was chosen to recall the eight-day power reserve offered by onboard clocks and other dashboard instruments. The clocks developed by the Huit Aviation Department were also distinguished by their lightweight cases and their ease of installation, and the Department was also responsible for the development of Breitling’s wrist chronographs for aviation use.

The timing of the foundation of the Huit Aviation Department was fortuitous: its products immediately attracted the attention of military aviators and, as World War II approached, the Department received a large order for onboard chronographs from the Royal Air Force for its legendary fighter planes.

More than up to the Challenge
Willy Breitling and his team understood that aviators – both civilian and military – work in demanding, unforgiving environments that require instruments that are not only highly legible but also capable of maintaining outstanding functionality even in particularly harsh conditions. Accordingly, the Huit Aviation Department developed a battery of challenging tests that proved each instrument could handle the shocks, vibrations, extreme temperatures, and magnetism that pilots were likely to encounter in the cockpit. And its onboard chronographs and pilot’s watches passed every test with flying colors!

Willy Breitling’s Huit Aviation Department has a very special place in Breitling’s history, and it makes perfect sense that it is the inspiration behind the name of the brand’s newest watch family, the Navitimer 8, which is certain to carry on the Department’s proud tradition.

Read more about Breitling in our News section.


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