At a red carpet event in Shanghai, you would think that having 60 vintage timepieces from Breitling on display would be enough to steal the spotlight. But as lovely as the horological history was, there was bigger news in the air.
It turns out that the recent sale of the independent watchmaker Breitling to the equity firm CVC Capital Partners had another interested party in the mix… and as it turns out, a very interesting interested party indeed.
Breitling’s new global CEO is Georges Kern, the man credited with much of the phenomenal success of IWC Schaffhausen, and the fact that he had left the Richemont Group to join up with an independent watchmaker speaks volumes about Kern’s faith in the brand, and in the horological industry as a whole.
With Georges Kern at the head, the news at Breitling was destined to be news indeed, and so it proved: Breitling’s iconic Navitimer line has several new models now on offer. The Navitimer 8 has taken on a whole new heading, becoming more classic and more legible. Breitling is taking cues from some vintage chronographs, emphasizing the clean and readable practicality that, after all, comes from finding your way across the sky.
The Navitimer 8 was on full display, and there were stars in abundance to help celebrate it. More than 300 distinguished guests from Greater China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia were welcomed by Breitling’s new global CEO. Kern introduced the storied brand’s latest chapter to such notables as Chinese actor and director Stephen Fung, Chinese actor Yang Shuo, and Korean actor Ji-Sung. Hundreds of others were also on hand for the festivities and shared their passion for the brand in a festive display of Breitling old and new. From Shanghai, Breitling will take its international tour next to Zurich and then to New York City.
And for those of us who still love the old Navitimer, with its fully stocked dial and slide rule, fear not. The Navitimer 8 is an additional collection, not a replacement. The look we know and love in the Navitimer will still be available as a Classic. All the complexity and fact-filled dials will be there for the aeronauts of the age. For all those Breitling lovers who are professionals, there still are and always will be instruments for you.