Since its launch in 1952, the Breitling Aviation Chronograph is not only a symbol of the Breitling brand, but also a symbol of the entire luxury watch industry. There is a general consensus in the watch industry that a 34 to 38 mm timepiece can at least be considered unisex. By completely ignoring male consumers in the launch and marketing of the new Breitling Navitimer Blue Dial 35mm A17395161C1A1, Breitling put itself at the risk of low sales. Frankly, this is a great-looking watch.
The first thing to note is that this Breitling Aviation Chronograph shines, and the blue dial is spectacular. I find myself often confused by its ability to deflect light and change hue dramatically. The dial is radially brushed, giving its center pinion a sunburst effect. The use of simple, highly polished rod indices applied to the dial adds to the watch’s already striking character. The stick hands are also polished and coated with a decent but not impressive amount of luminous material. The use of lumens only on the hand, and not anywhere else in the piece, further emphasizes that this is not traditional aviation timekeeping.
The printing on the dial is clear and precise, and the red on the tip of the seconds hand is well used, adding a hint of deep red to the dial.
The new Breitling Navitimer Navitimer 35mm Ladies replica features a simplified version of the slide rule bezel with Mph and Kmph scales on the outside of the scale and numerous red accent marks to indicate important timing cycles. This red color echoes the arrow tip of the second hand, which is used to use these scales. In reality, however, the slide rule bezel on the navitimer 35 is for decorative purposes only. A scale for interpreting speed becomes ineffective without the use of a chronograph to accurately calculate the elapse of time between two fixed points. The central seconds hand is always running, so the transition scale is always out of sync with its starting position. It is here that I hope Breitling gets more creative, the slide rule function and the beaded bezel are great, if they were functional, the GMT scale fixed around the outer dial would be a great addition to a non-chronograph aviation chronograph Interesting reimagining, and infinitely more useful.
Having said that, the sliding action of the bezel is pleasant, and the beaded bezel is easy to grip and very well done. Swiping around the bezel is almost a cathartic experience, if not for that obsessive need to always have the markers lining up after I’m done fiddling.
Each variant of the Breitling Navitimer Automatic 35 replica uses Breitling’s ETA based Caliber 17 automatic movement. These three-hand powerplants offer COSC-certified chronometer accuracy, along with a 38-hour power reserve and smooth 28,800 bph sweep.