Onward and Upward: Feldmar Stays Sharp at Breitling’s Navitimer Immersion Event
When you carry over 60 watch brands like Feldmar does, it takes a near-superhuman memory to keep straight each one’s selection of dial colors, strap options, clasp/buckle varieties, case sizes… you get the idea. So the chance to attend a professional training event is essential for Feldmar’s staff to hone its skills and gain helpful knowledge. Armed with these insights, history, stories, and facts, we become not just better stewards of the watches we sell, but a better resource for our customers. This year, a couple of Feldmar’s staff had the chance to link up with the professionals from Breitling to learn all about the new Navitimer collection. Read on as we recap the evening!
The evening began at Orange County’s Lyon Air Museum. Housed at John Wayne International Airport near Santa Ana, the LAM maintains an extensive collection of WWII-era aircraft and was the perfect setting for Breitling’s event. With a rich heritage making pilot’s watches, the roar of planes taking off and landing just several hundred feet away made for a vivid backdrop as guests mingled before the training.
Moving indoors, it was time for the event to begin. Ben Oleshansky, Breitling’s training specialist, kicked off the program with some icebreakers. Guests in attendance introduced themselves, representing Breitling’s western dealers far and wide, from Washington to Missouri and from Southern California to North Dakota. Ben’s presentation covered all-things Navitimer, including an apocryphal story about Willy Breitling, son of founder Leon Breitling.
According to this tale, Willy coordinated shipments of chronographs via clandestine flights from neutral Switzerland into France during WWII in order to deliver timepieces destined for the British Air Force. The Allied air crews relied on these timepiece to make coordinated bombing raids against German targets. On the nights that these daring smuggling flights departed the secret runway near Breitling’s headquarters, Willy would secure an alibi for his whereabouts by intentionally getting arrested! His preferred method? Starting a bar fight. With an airtight record of his location the night of the secret shipments, the German authorities were none the wiser to his involvement.
During the presentation, Breitling brought out the watches. Several historical pieces made their way around the tables as Ben shared notes about Breitling’s claim as the first to put chronographs on customer’s wrists. While Zenith, another Feldmar brand, was the first to announce the world’s first chronograph movement, Breitling’s collaboration with Hamilton and Heuer was the first to bring one to market. It was this important moment that established Breitling as the Swiss-brand making “tools for professionals”.
Ben’s presentation also made special reference to one of the biggest changes under the leadership of Georges Kern, Breitling’s CEO since 2017. That of course is the brand’s shift toward producing more ladies timepieces. Especially in the Navitimer collection, smaller case sizes and more creative dial colors transform the typically oversized and utilitarian Navitimer into a more fitting match for smaller wrists and colorful ensembles. Incorporating precious metals and diamonds, these pieces are eye-catching. And with the new 3-hand variants (introduced in 2018) making up an ever-larger share of Navitimer sales, the simplicity of a non-chronograph version gives even more variety.
The perfect centerpiece for each table, Breitling’s new Navitimers caught the attention of all in attendance. These classics, updated for 2022, feature Breitling’s next-generation B01 movement which had the watch world talking when it debuted in 2009. In the years since, it has made its way into almost every Breitling chronograph and helped solidify Breitling’s reputation for world-class, in-house movements. In fact, Breitling is one of just two watchmakers (the other is Rolex) able to produce movements on an industrial scale. That is, Breitling’s output is over 50,000 movements annually!
Towards the end of the evening, things got competitive when Ruth, Breitling’s visual merchandising expert led a training on how to properly set up and arrange Navitimer displays. Each table worked together to set up a Navitimer display quickly and correctly, according to the standards outlined by Ruth and her team. While Navitimers look great on their own, they appear even better when displayed symmetrically and neatly.
Also new for the 2022 models is the location of the date feature, previously found at the 4:30 spot but now moved to the bottom of the 6 o’clock subdial. A cleaner, simpler seconds-hand complements the Breitling “wings” logo which itself replaces the previous cursive “B”, just above the center post. And with a slimmer case, the 41mm Navitimer is even more wearable than before.
The evening wound down with a final toast. Gathering up our materials and armed with a full knowledge of the new Navitimers, the team boarded the bus to depart. Now that we’re home safe and sound at Watch HQ (aka Feldmar!) we’re ready to get one of these new Navitimers on your wrist. Contact us today or stop by to see these historical pieces in person.
View Feldmar’s full collection of 2022 Navitimers here and view some more snapshots of our evening below!