Since the late 1800’s, Breitling have been a true heavyweight in the luxury Swiss watch market. Founded in 1884 by Leon Breitling, the brand is most heavily associated with ultra-precision supplied chronometers and high quality, robust exteriors. This reputation for quality has made them a popular choice in all corners of the globe and in particular, in England and Germany where the precious engineering has partnered perfectly with the deepsea diving and Aviation communities.
Having moved into their 3rd century of operation, in 2009 Breitling were subject to a majority takeover from CVC Capital Partners, valuing the brand at over $850 million. With this takeover came some major changes to the Breitling range, and for the first time in 2009, Breitling installed their own chronometers into their watches in a pursuit to grow and enhance their impression on the luxury market even further.
All of these factors make Breitling a brand that is revered and admired worldwide. If you think that all of this precision engineering means Breitling’s reserved for only the very wealthy watch enthusiasts, you’d be wrong. We’re going to take a look at some best Breitling watches at the entry level point of the market and seek out some of the deals to be had for fans at all price points. If you’re ready, let’s get started….
We start our roundup looking at a now classic in the Breitling range, the Colt. The robust and durable nature of the Breitling brand appealed to many suitors, but none more so than the Armed Forces. In the 1980’s, the Colt range was born specifically to give those troops on the ground a tool which guaranteed military precision and reliability in the toughest of elements.
It wasn’t long before the Colt’s appeal spread into the Civilian world with the Colt a permanent fixture of the Breitling range right up until the present day. Across the last 40 years, the Colt has had many different incarnations, with the Colt Skyracer a popular choice from the current range.
The Colt Skyracer follows the traditional Breitling design style, combining sturdy materials with bold and simple Volcano Black face design, meaning it can be easily read no matter the situation. At a 45mm diameter and 34g in weight, the Colt Skyracer looks good on the arm and is safe in water down to 100m.
At the time of writing, the Skyracer was the cheapest of the Colt range coming in at a relatively modest £1,700 brand new from Breitling directly. On the pre-owned market, this recent addition to the Colt range can be found at £1,100 so there are definitely some good bargains to be had.
Given the Colts long history there are many older models available with a whole host of variances for different tastes. If you’re looking to get a step on the Breitling ladder, a second hand Colt can be found commonly under £500.
As we mentioned at the top of this piece, Breitling have fans in many different communities with the deep sea diving sector a popular sales base for Breitling. Since the watchmaking rush to dominant the seas in the 1950’s, the Superocean has been a staple name in diving circles. As with the Colt, the robustness of the Superocean initially appealed to a specialist audience but it wasn’t long before the wider market took notice.
Jumping forward to 2018, the Superocean range is now in its second incarnation, with 2015’s Superocean II an instantly popular extension of what had gone before. Given its wide appeal, there are many different variants to suit every taste, but for those looking to enter on a slightly smaller budget, the 36mm may be the best to go for.
Given the requirement for deepsea drivers to track time, the Superocean incorporates a bold, bidirectional bezel that’s ratcheted for maximum accuracy. Combined with a stainless steel exterior, 38 hour power reserve and dedicated dive time calculator, the Superocean really is a must have for divers. Its sleek design style also means you’ll be looking sharp when your on land too!
Brand new, the Superocean II at 36mm will set you back just over £3,000. There are some very good deals to be had in the preowned market here, with prices dropping to around £2,200 depending on age and condition.
As with the Colt, given the history of this range there are many different varieties and specifications of Superocean on the market. Pieces are commonly found around the £1,000 mark for an older model and as such represent a good way to pick up your first Breitling.
We finish our look at the cheapest Breitlings on the market by taking to the skies with the Navitimer. An evolution of the original Breitling Chronomat, the Navitimers roots stretch all the way back to the 1950’s and it’s been a popular choice for both military and civilian aviators ever since.
The Navitimer is the classic pilot’s watch – combining clear, easy-to-read design styles with handy bezel functionality to aid in time and direction keeping. The Navitimer range is broad and deep in its functionality with some pieces extending into tracking multiple time zones as well as speed and height indicators.
Jump forward to 2018 and it’s the Navitimer 8 Automatic we’re focusing on. With a nod towards simpler functionality and design, this piece incorporates the classic stylings of the original Navitimer paired with a modern, classy black and steel finish. At 41mm, it’s sturdy design helps it stand out from the crowd while still packing the punch you’d expect with over 40 hrs power reserve – fantastic for a long haul flight.
Another entry level piece to get you into the Breitling range means the Navitimer 8 will set you back around £3,000 brand new. Whilst preowned costs tend to vary greatly between design styles, a Navitimer 8 in the styling seen above can be found for around £2,300 second hand. For those with a deep passion for aviation watches, there are some truly stunning pieces in the historic Navimiter range with prices fluctuating up to and beyond £10,000 for some of the rarest models.
So there we have it, our top 3 entry-level Breitlings on the market – perfect for getting into the luxury Swiss watchmaking club. The Colt, Superocean and Navitimer are all steeped in history and with military, deepsea diving and aviation roots, are all guaranteed to have the exceptional build quality and robustness we always expect from a Breitling.
If you fancy getting your hands on your very own Breitling, why not head over to the Watch and Bullion store to see what we currently have in stock? See you there!