Timing the world

Ours is an age of intercontinental journeys, air travel and worldwide communications networks. In this globalized world, pilots, businessmen and globetrotters need to know the time in other places on the planet – and to be able to set their watch instantly to other timezones. To meet these expectations, Breitling offers a whole range of travel chronographs equipped with Manufacture Breitling movements providing unprecedented user friendliness: the most trusted companions of aviators and world travelers.

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Since 1884

Times around the globe

1884 is not just Breitling’s founding date: it is also the year that representatives from 25 countries, gathered in Washington for the International Meridian Conference, decided to divide the world into 24 timezones each covering a 15-degree longitude (corresponding to one hour) and to adopt the Greenwich meridian near London as the reference, or 0° longitude.

At this stage in history there were countless local times in use, more or less loosely based on longitude, including more than 70 in North America and around 30 in Europe. However, the boom in travel and particularly the birth of railways made unifying the time system a vital necessity. To ensure travelers’ comfort as well as to avoid accidents, England decided to create a legal time for all destinations covered by a single railway line.

In 1847, the British Railway Clearing House recommended that all companies adopt the mean time of the Greenwich observatory, which already served as a reference for sailors. The use of legal or standard times gradually established itself wherever railways developed. The United States, which could not have just one single time, divided its territory into several timezones.

Prior to 1884, travelers constantly had to adjust their timepiece according to the location they had just reached. Adopting a unified worldwide system led to the emergence of a new type of instruments representing a field in which Breitling would shine: travel watches simultaneously displaying several timezones.

Since 1884

What is GMT?

Greenwich Mean Time corresponds to the mean solar time on the meridian passing through Greenwich Observatory (0 longitude), located east of London. It served as the worldwide time reference from 1884 to 1972, when it was replaced by Coordinated Universal Time (UTC). In watchmaking language, the GMT abbreviation refers to watches displaying a second timezone.

Since 1884

Breitling in the age of travel

While the chronograph established itself from 1884 as Breitling’s domain of excellence, travel watches also played an important role in the history of the brand with the winged B. By sharing all the finest hours in the conquest of the air, the firm simultaneously accompanied the boom in air transport and long-distance travel.

In the 1950s and 1960s, the “official supplier to worldwide aviation” distinguished itself with the launch of a sophisticated model named Unitime, a selfwinding worldtime model serving to read off the time simultaneously in all 24 timezones – and which has since become a much sought-after collector’s item.

Today, Breitling once again asserts itself as the benchmark for pilots and travelers by offering two exclusive movements developed on the basis of its Manufacture Breitling Caliber 01: the Caliber B04 with dual timezone display and the worldtime Caliber B05. Both of these mechanisms featuring original structures were entirely developed and crafted in the Breitling Chronométrie workshops.

BREITLING B04 & BREITLING B05

Two exceptional movements

To ensure peerless user friendliness, the Breitling watchmakers and engineers devised entirely crown-activated adjustment systems as well as patented differentials serving to disconnect the hands and discs from the gear train when changing timezone. This operation therefore has no influence whatsoever on the precision of the time display nor on that of timing operations.

Calibers B04 and B05 are also distinguished by the fact that their ingenious mechanisms are combined with a high-performance selfwinding chronograph. They thereby associate two useful and easy-to-use complications – entirely in tune with the Breitling philosophy of “instruments for professionals”.

Like all the brand’s movements, the Manufacture Breitling Calibers B04 and B05 are officially chronometer-certified by the COSC (Swiss Official Chronometer Testing Institute) – the highest reference in terms of precision and reliability, and the only one based on an international norm.