FLASH MATCH: 806 vs 809

Published on 15 November 2018


The history of Breitling begins in the Bernese Jura at Saint-Imier when Léon Breitling, a Swiss of German origin, opened his workshop in 1884. At that time of the industrial revolution, the proliferation of technical advances enabled watchmaking and aeronautical research to meet.

From the very beginning, his efforts were focused on the creation of chronographs. This know-how was passed on from generation to generation since a few years later, in 1939, when his grandson Willy Breitling held the reins of the Manufacture, it was Breitling chronographs that took part in the WW2 by equipping the Royal Air Force aircrafts.

The two references that we are presenting to you today are proof of the close ties that unite Breitling and the world of aviation.

BREITLING Navitimer Ref. 806


The Navitimer Ref. 806 (contraction of “navigation” and “timer”) appeared in 1952 with the ambition of being the reference watch for pilots. Heiress to the Chronomat, from which it takes its slide rule, it notably offers a much larger opening and large luminescent hour-markers, providing better readibility. The counters were initially black, will quickly turn white to allow immediate reading. In addition, it is caable of solving all operations related to air navigation without tools: rate of consumption, climb time, miles/nautical miles/kilometres conversion, etc.

The very first Navitimers, like ours, carried the wings of the AOPA (Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association) logo and were equipped with a Valjoux 72 caliber. Very rare, they are popular watches for collectors. Then, the manufacture changed its caliber for the Venus 178 which became the master caliber of the Navitimer.


Ten years later, in 1962, appears the reference 809 known as “Cosmonaut”. It is the same case and the same movement (Venus 178), the only difference is visual: the first has a dial with a 12-hour display while the second has a 24-hour indication.

Ultimate consecration for the brand on May 24th 1962: American astronaut Scott Carpenter, during the orbital flight mission of NASA’s Aurora 7 capsule, wears the famous 809 on his wrist.

It is the first wrist chronograph to travel in space, an episode all the more important in the context of the Star Wars during the Cold War. Participating in the conquest of space made this timepiece a historic watch, which explains its appeal to collectors.

BREITLING Navitimer Ref. 809


Even today, the Navitimer is still the most requested model and the most produced by the Manufacture. Two references which, far from being opposed, complement each other perfectly.

 Both watches are iconic. Synonymous with technical prowess, they are milestones in watchmaking history. To collect them is to have a piece of history.

BREITLING Navitimer Ref. 809
Romain Réa