The End of an Era
In spite of the turbulence of the late 1970s, Willy Breitling remained a grand seigneur of the old school. He was struggling with his health, and his sons, Gregory and Alain, were still young and – like many others – uncertain about the future of the industry. The consummate entrepreneur decided it was time for an orderly retreat. In April 1979, shortly before his death, he sold the remaining assets along with the familiar brand names and the well-established watch models, including his beloved Navitimer, to the visionary entrepreneur Ernest Schneider, who, fittingly, was also a watchmaker and a pilot, and whose family would remain the guardians of the Breitling legacy until 2017.