Aerospace B70 Orbiter

Breitling Orbiter 3: First nonstop balloon flight around the world

When the quartz crisis hit the Swiss mechanical watch industry, Breitling didn’t shy away from the new technology. Instead, it embraced it like any new adventure, and combined it with the company’s well-established savvy as a maker of chronographs. The ultimate result of this formula was Breitling’s Professional line of rugged, digital-analog adventure watches like those that accompanied Bertrand Piccard and Brian Jones on their world-record nonstop balloon flight around the world.

The duo embarked on the Breitling-sponsored journey on March 1, 1999, at Chateaux-d’Oex in the Swiss Alps. After 19 days, 21 hours, and 55 minutes, the capsule of the Breitling Orbiter 3 balloon, touched down in the Egyptian desert. They had sailed 45,633 km (28,355 miles), navigating winds, weather, and air traffic, to break the world record, an achievement lauded on the cover of National Geographic.

Now, the adventure continues, with a Breitling tribute to the mission’s 25th anniversary: the Aerospace B70 Orbiter. This up-for-anything watch is powered by a multi-functional quartz movement: the COSC-certified B70 SuperQuartz™ manufacture caliber. It features dual LCD display screens and a long list of functions, including including a 1/100th of a second, countdown timer, second timezone, two alarms, lap function, and perpetual calendar.

The titanium case and bright-orange dial are inspired by the Orbiter’s capsule. And best of all, each watch contains its very own piece of history: a fragment of the original balloon visible through the open caseback.

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