Breitling mens replica was founded in 1884 in Saint-Imier, in the Bernese Jura, by Leon Breitling; and right from the start, they specialised in chronographs. After a few years, in 1915, the company introduced the first wrist-chronograph replica watch (all functions controlled by the crown), while in 1923 they perfected its design by separating the stop/start function from that of the resetting (combination of crown and a single pusher at 2’ o clock). In 1934, this design went a step further by adding a second pusher at 4 o’clock for resetting the chronograph. The form of the chronograph had been solidified.
The innovations continued, and in 1936, the Royal Air Force became affiliated with the company by using its chronographs. In 1942 Breitling introduced the first replica watch with a circular slide rule, the Chronomat; and the identification of the company with aviation had become more than obvious.
The legendary Navitimer was introduced in 1954, contrary to popular belief (and official Breitling statements.) This iconic chronograph was the result of a request made by the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (A.O.P.A) to have a ‘wearable chronograph with Navigation Computer (sliderule). Pilots all around the world wore Breitlings and one of them was Scott Carpenter, a U.S.A.F fighter pilot, who flew in Korea. He made the company famous when in 1962 he asked for a 24 hour dial layout and wore the Navitimer Cosmonaute (as the Navitimer with 24-hour dial was called) on his trip into space with the Aurora 7.
While the innovations have continued through the present day (for instance the Breitling Emergency and Breitling’s new B01 caliber), we must make a necessary detour by turning our attention back to the Navitimer. This model was an iconic one, no doubt about that. It was more of a wrist instrument with its slide rule bezel that served as an analogue navigation computer. The replica watch could be used for all airborne navigation calculations, such as climbing times, fuel consumption rate, and was even used to convert miles to kilometers. As such, the replica watch made a huge impact and even today the ‘Navi,’ as collectors call it, is more or less synonymous with Breitling.
The Navitimer was fundamental in shaping the image and the course of the company, and on one hand this is a blessing, since sales increased and the company had an identifying pillar to proceed from. On the other hand this could become a burden, since this iconic timepiece overshadows other offering within the company. Similar examples of this phenomenon are found in Omega’s Speedmaster and Rolex’s Submariner – those models reached a point of popularity and fame which almost threatened to engulf the whole identity of each respective brand.
At Monochrome we have a strong preference for important replica watches, that have made their mark on history so to speak. And sometimes these important replica watches are not that well known, just like the Breitling AVI/Co-pilot ref. 765 that we’re covering for you today. We would like to thank ‘Dracha’ and ‘replica watchFred’ (these are forum nicknames of two acclaimed collectors of vintage Breitlings) helping with this series of articles, for their enormous effort and beautiful photos. We’ll present the Breitling AVI/Co-pilot ref.765 Replica in a series of three articles and in this first part we will examine the early era of the Avi’s from 1953 up until 1964.